Plesk Tutorial: How to Recover Forgotten Administrator Password

Have you ever forgotten the administrator password for logging in to your Plesk Panel hosting interface? Well, it is one of the most common issues that we all have faced at some point of time, irrespective of our technical expertise level. You will be surprised to know that according to Google Keyword Trends, “Recover Admin Password” is the most searched term in IT/Computer/Internet niche.

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This tutorial is more of a troubleshooting guide to help you in recovering your Plesk Panel login credential, in-case you have forgotten or misplaced your administrator password. One prerequisite to perform the steps mentioned in this tutorial is to have root level access (SSH) for Linux based server or admin access for Windows server. If you are not sure whether or not root/admin access is available to you, kindly get in touch with your hosting service provider.

NOTE: Please note that the steps mentioned below involves accessing your web server via secure shell (SSH) for Linux server or using Remote Desktop (Protocol) Connection (RDP) for Windows server. If you are new to server management and do not possess considerable technical insight, we recommend you not to replicate the steps mentioned in this tutorial without any expert supervision. These are essentially meant to be performed only by advanced users.

IMPORTANT: If you are wondering – “How can I login using SSH/RDP when I have forgotten my administrator password?”, – our honest advice to you would be not to proceed further. Kindly spend some time to understand the difference between Control Panel administrator login (Plesk) and OS level administrator login (Linux/Windows) – before attempting any of the steps mentioned below.

Now let’s get on with the tutorial. If you forget the administrator password for accessing your Plesk Panel admin interface, you have two options to choose from

  1. Find out the lost password;
  2. Set a new password.

In this tutorial, we will be concentrating on the first option, i.e., to find out the lost password. As Plesk Panel is used extensively in both Windows as well as Linux environment, we will list down two different sets of steps/commands applicable to Linux and Windows based servers respectively.

Steps/Commands to Recover Forgotten Administrator Password for Linux Server:

Applicable To Plesk Panel Version 10.1 or below: If you are using a Linux-based web server, log in as the root user via SSH. If you are using Plesk 10.1 or any other previous versions, the following command would show your current password as plain text:

more /etc/psa/.psa.shadow

Applicable To Plesk Panel Version 10.2 or above: From Plesk 10.2, the admin password is stored in an encrypted format inside the “bin” directory under “PRODUCT_ROOT”, which can not be accessed by the command mentioned above. Instead, you will have to use the command given below to recover your lost password:

RPM-based system:

/usr/local/psa/bin/admin –show-password

DEB-based system

/opt/psa/admin –show-password

Steps/Commands to Recover Forgotten Administrator Password for Windows Server:

Windows users can log in to the web server via any remote desktop connectivity application like RDP.  After logging in, go to the Start menu -> Run -> Type cmd to open the command prompt. Input the following command to show your plesk admin password –

%plesk_bin%\plesksrvclient” –get

On pressing the “Enter” key, a pop-up window will be generated mentioning your Plesk Panel login password as plain text. Note down the password and use the same while logging in to your Plesk administrative panel.

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