Tackle It Tuesday: WordPress Bug – Deleting Admin Account

Tackle It Tuesday

My To-Do List for today was interrupted when I discovered a WordPress Bug had broken a ton of our existing WordPress Pages here at 5 Minutes for Mom.

The actual bug would have done it’s damage a couple weeks ago, but it was today that I realized what had happened.

It Seemed to Start With a Few…

Last week we noticed a couple random broken pages… it seemed odd and concerning that an old page here and there seemed to have been set back to DRAFT and thrown in the TRASH.

But this morning, I noticed a couple more pages were showing 404 page not found errors. I dug deeper and discovered the problem.

But Then I Remembered…

Suddenly I remembered that a couple weeks back, in an effort to improve security on our blog, I deleted the default admin user account. (It’s often recommended to delete WordPress’ default admin account as it is common bait for hackers.)

Long ago, we had ensured the admin account was not the author of any posts and we didn’t use the account anymore. So I finally decided to delete it. I felt kinda nervous doing it… deleting “admin” just seemed dangerous.

Well it was.

WordPress Pages vs WordPress Posts

I have in the past had trouble with WordPress Pages… it seems somehow that the code handling “WordPress Posts” seems to be more robust than the code handling it’s lesser important sibling “WordPress Pages”. And again, I find myself cursing the programmers who seemed to forget to code the same logic for Pages that they do for Posts.

It appears to me (don’t quote me, this is just what I gather)…

That when I deleted the admin user account, WordPress did NOT elegantly handle the transfer of Page author or ownership.

Thrown in the TRASH

The author field was blanked out and most pages seemed to be set back to DRAFT and thrown in the TRASH. I can’t say for sure because I fixed several before analyzing the problem… but it seemed like some of the pages didn’t get set to draft, but still kept the published status. Regardless, they were all tossed in TRASH had a BLANK author field.

Wordpress Bug - Deleting Admin Account

I’m so relieved I realized what had happened because tons of our important older pages that had been created under the admin account now were deleted.

You know rather important pages such as… Contact Us, Newsletter etc.

Here I’ll Show You…

I created a short video to show you the problem and how I fixed it.

Unable to display content. Adobe Flash is required.

The Moral of the Story

We all get slack sometimes. I’m usually heavy on the backup and I know better than to make a major change and not test… but I got slack.

I just clicked “delete” on the “admin” account and went on with my to-do list. The site didn’t seem to blow-up and I knew I didn’t have any posts owned by that account. Of course, I’d forgotten to consider the pages, so it would follow that I wouldn’t even think to test them.

So if you’re going to follow the advice to delete the default WordPress admin account, definitely ensure that it is not the author or owner of any Posts OR Pages.

Mom Bloggers — what are you tackling this week?

Link up your Tackle it Tuesday post…

Tell us what you’re up to with all your other tackles… housework and otherwise… add your link to your tackle in the Linky below!

We are Tackling Our To-Do Lists Together and making housework bloggable — Each week on Tuesday, we are posting before and after pictures of a project or trouble area that we tackled this week.

Find out more about how Tackle It Tuesday began.
The project can be little or big – whatever you want.

Basically, Tackle It Tuesday is about giving ourselves incentive, deadlines and satisfaction in tackling all our tasks — whether household or otherwise.

If you tackled a project this week, just add a comment and add your link below.

Here is a fun thumbnail linky:

And here is a basic linky if you prefer your linkies the good old fashioned way!

Written by Susan Carraretto, co-founder of the Mom Blog 5 Minutes for Mom.
Talk with me: @5minutesformom and Facebook.com/5minutesformom.


  1. says

    I tackled a bathroom drawer – before and after photos. So glad you posted this about WordPress and backing up and testing. This computer stuff can get so confusing sometimes. Not to mention, trying to stay safe on the Internet!

  2. says

    Oh man, I am sorry that happened. But so glad you got it all fixed. I am not tackling too much these days. Been a little under the weather. Which means I will have much to tackle in the next few days.

    • says

      Yes, Tricia, please do go ahead and use it. I also have a different size version which I was going to also publish for people to use but haven’t had a chance yet.

  3. says

    That’s really scary. I did that too but I made new user names and reassigned all the post which were under Admin to that user name..so there is no broken links.

  4. Erica Mueller says

    Dude. What a mess! I wondered why that silly archives page had been moved to drafts. I knew none of us would have done that on purpose. lol

    Glad you got it figured out!

  5. says

    Good reminder about the photos I need to link up after moving my site from Blogger to a self-hosted WordPress site!

    However right now, I’m tackling the inside of my home with the inspiration of the Zero Waste Home blog. Maybe I’ll start working on the photos 20 minutes at a time.


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