Support » Plugins and Hacks » iThemes Security (formerly Better WP Security) » How to RESET iThemes Security plugin to fix issues

How to RESET iThemes Security plugin to fix issues

  • As many others, a few of our websites got screwed by iThemes Security “upgrade”. We had login issues where we were redirected to homepage.

    There issue is somewhere in the database, it gets screwed up with an upgrade. I did not have time trying to figure out the problem, that’s for the plugin developers. BUT, I needed to fix sites. So here’s how I fixed my sites by resetting this plugin’s database.

    This is not for the faint of hearts, it requires some technical knowledge to edit your database tables.

    Use phpMyAdmin to export your database. See Google for details or
    see this article http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/smb-technologist/import-and-export-databases-using-phpmyadmin/

    1. Through FTP or cPanel file manager, go to /wp-content/plugins/
    2. Rename “better-wp-security” folder to something else like “better-wp-security2”
    3. Plugin is disabled and your admin is back working.
    4. Now, the reset. You need to access your database, ideally through phpMyAdmin interface in your control panel (cPanel).
    5. If you have many websites, locate your correct database for the website you’re working on. You can match database name to the name inside wp-config.php file.
    6. Click database name to select and load it.
    7. On the right side you will see a list of tables.
    8. Delete tables with “itsec” – see screenshot
    9. Go to your “options” table, click it.
    10. Sort by “option_name” by clicking the header, and making sure you got rows sorted A-Z.
    11. Find option_name rows starting with letter I.
    12. Look for “itsec” options. See screenshot.
    13. Select all of them. If you’re at the end of the current page, make sure you delete options and check next page to make sure you get them all.
    14. Once you delete these options. Go back to FTP/File Manager.
    15. Rename folder back to it’s original name “better-wp-security”.
    16. Login to your UNBROKEN website using normal wp-login.php URL.
    17. Go to Plugins and activate this nasty plugin back.
    18. It should be fine, you HAVE TO GO THROUGH SETTINGS AGAIN and set it up to protect your WordPress. We deleted all settings!
    19. Carry on WordPressing.
    20. Still here? Go.

    It fixed our homepage redirect issue, but it may fix other issues as well that you might be experiencing. Please be careful and test.



Viewing 15 replies - 1 through 15 (of 112 total)
  • Thank you!

    Now if we only knew what caused the problem to begin with so we didn’t choose the same options again.

    Worked for me, thank you very much. Luckily I only have one more site using the plugin, might hold off upgrading until the next version arrives!

    Thanks again Viktor.

    You’re welcome. Lucky you, I had about a dozen to go through ha!

    DonΒ΄t work for me, i “work” before read your solution. πŸ™

    maniaka, are you still having a problem with your website? Did you start a thread for your problem I can see?

    Hi, Viktor:

    First of all, thank you so much for the helpful information, so glad I found it here.

    It is so confuse for the recently upgraded iThemes Security plugin and caused so many problems. I just upgraded to the latest version a few minutes ago, but after that, the whole site was locked out with an “error” blank page showing up. After restored db, the whole site came back, but then again. I did several times restored, but got the same thing again and again, currently, deactivated the plugin, the whole site runs normally.

    After I read through your article, I have questions, can you answer for me? Really appreciate it!

    – Is there any “risk” for: Delete tables with “itsec” & Delete “itsec” options??? What are these steps really for? Do those tables and data no longer useful for new iThemes Security?? Would like to know what those for? Can you explain more?

    I have to deactivate the plugin to prevent further lock out the whole site, but I would like to understand more before do anything.

    Thanks again for the helpful article, really appreciate it. Hope I will get answer from you soon.

    Hi wpinklady,

    All plugins add some sort of information to WordPress database to save settings, information, etc. This plugin does this too. Unfortunately, when you deactivate plugin – in most cases – database entries are not deleted and remain in the database.

    For some reason, new version of iThemes Security has issues with database entries created by Better WP Security plugin.

    The only way to fix it, is to remove old entries and allow plugin to add new entries once you re-activate it again. When you simply re-activate plugin now, it does NOT override those entries. It simply uses them, breaking your website.

    That’s why deleting them fixes the issues.

    There’s always some risk when you mess with database, but if you follow my instructions carefully (including backing up database), you should not have any issues. As long as you don’t delete any other stuff, you’ll be fine.

    Hope that explains it.

    Hi, Viktor:

    Thank you so much for answering my questions, really appreciate it. I will follow your instructions and will let you know if it works or not. Thanks again for your quick respond, really appreciate it.

    Sure thing πŸ™‚

    Hi, viktor:


    After followed your instructions, deleted those tables and data, go back to back end and reset settings. Question: will those tables disappear forever, is that correct??? If not, then what went wrong???

    And, more problem, after reactivated and reset settings, why it forced back end to https, which this site does not have SSL? And, then locked out from back end, until restore the org. wp config file.

    Now, getting even more problems…..getting more headache….:(

    What should I do next??? Now, I have to deactivate this plugin again….

    When you delete those tables, they do disappear. BUT, when you reactivate plugin new tables are created.

    SSL issue as far as I read in other threads (since I did not have that issue) is related to either wp-config.php file and/or htaccess file.

    1. Make sure your htaccess file has standard code like this, delete everything else:

    # BEGIN WordPress
    <IfModule mod_rewrite.c>
    RewriteEngine On
    RewriteBase /
    RewriteRule ^index\.php$ - [L]
    RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
    RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
    RewriteRule . /index.php [L]
    # END WordPress

    If that’s what you have already, or it still doesn’t fix. Next step.

    2. Check your wp-config.php file.
    Make sure you don’t have these:

    define( 'FORCE_SSL_LOGIN', true );
    define( 'FORCE_SSL_ADMIN', true );

    If you do, delete them.

    If you followed above steps, and removed database entries correctly, and it still does not work. Then it’s possible it might be having a conflict with something else either theme or plugin.

    I do assume your WordPress version is up-to-date, at least 3.8. If not, then it is possible outdated version has issues with new plugin.

    Hi, viktor:

    Question: after reactivated, the table did not recreate, so…..um…..weird…..did I do something wrong?????

    The htaccess looks the same, I guess it did change the wp config file, because after I changed it back to the one before reactivated the plugin, then I can go to the back end to deactivate the plugin again.

    Let me try one more time…..

    Anyway, have to say thank you so much for your really really quick respond, I do really appreciate it.

    Really hesitating updating this extension in case the update borks the one site I have it already installed on. I have held off upgrading any other sites because of the buggy plugin.

    Hi, viktor:

    Redo, so far so good…..(yes, the tables did recreate), will wait to see if they really work (please don’t lock out this time…..).

    Another issue:
    I posted several days ago (but no one replied), regarding this plugin conflicts with WooCommerce, don’t know if the latest version will work with WooCommerce well or not?

    Viktor, thank you very much for your help today, it’s really really helpful!! πŸ™‚

    Hi, you’re welcome. Hope it does work.
    Not sure about woocommerce, since one issue I had with it was resolved after I reset database. So see if woocommerce issue is fixed after all is good with the plugin.

    I saw a thread that latest versions of this plugin fixed some of the issues with woocommerce and other stuff. So upgrade to latest version is in order. “Technically” upgrade should work fine now, without locking anyone out. I will be upgrading this weekend all our client websites, so I guess I’ll find out πŸ™‚

Viewing 15 replies - 1 through 15 (of 112 total)
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