WordPress Security Tip: NEVER Use Your Admin ID Visibly

WordPress is the most-hacked platform out there, and the most common attempt at hacking it involves attempting to get access to your administrative ID. For this reason you should

  • NEVER use an ID like “admin”, “administrator”, or the name of your domain for your admin ID — Pick an admin ID that will not be guessed!
  • NEVER use your admin ID to make postings or comments on your WordPress blog
  • NEVER publish a posting unless you’ve checked a preview to be sure you’re not exposing anything you don’t want to. Save drafts, use preview.

Here are some simple better practices to keep your admin ID safe:

  • Only use your admin ID for administrative tasks that actually require it.

    This includes things like updating themes and plugins — which you should be doing via SFTP — and so forth.

  • Create a second “public” persona and give it “author” or “editor” privileges only. Be sure to use this ID for anything that will be visible on your site.

    On this site, “Zanzibar McFate” has no administrative privileges. (He has a 30-character, randomly-generated password, in spite of that.)

Tip 1: Use the “Author” Pop-up Menu on the “Edit Post” page

If you click on the “Screen Options” button toward the top-righthand corner of the “Edit Post” page, it will drop down and present you with a number of things you can show or hide. Check the box next to “Author”.


Now, there will be a pop-up menu section below the editing panel on the edit post page which will let you select your “public persona” as the post’s author instead of your admin ID.


Tip 2: Use the WP Masquerade Plugin

Comments are a bit tougher to manage, since they’re published immediately. You can log out of your administrative ID and log in as your persona, but fortunately, there’s an easier way.

A nice tool to facilitate better operational security here is the WP Masquerade plugin. I can verify that it works with my WP 4.2.2 install. Download the plugin and activate it. Now, when you go to your user list as an administrator, there will be a hover-visible link beneath every user saying “Masquerade”, as shown.


Click on that link, and you’ll be effectively logged in as that user, and any comments you make will be posted under that ID. To close the Masquerade session, click on the link in the banner at the bottom of the page.


Alternatively, you can use the “Masquerade as…” drop-down which the plugin adds to the Admin toolbar.



Your WordPress administrative ID is — assuming you’ve installed and secured your WordPress correctly — the weakest link in your security chain. If you expose it publicly, you’ve greatly increased the susceptibility of your site to being hacked. Practice good opsec, and use the tools available to keep your admin ID under wraps.