Reseting a Password

We have all been there. Attempting to log in to a website or account of any nature and getting denied for incorrect information. After several attempts and increasing frustration, we are left thinking "what is my password?!"

When left in the "what is my password" haze, it's important to remember that there is a fix: reset your password to something you will remember! In a few simple steps you can be right back to the login screen and able to move forward with no issues.

Step One

First, look for the "forgot my password" option, typically underneath the spot where you enter the password. You will be redirected to complete a short verification process, which can vary slightly depending on the site you are using.

Step Two

As mentioned, above, this step may vary slightly, but you will be asked to verify that you are the owner of the account that you are trying to log into. Typically, you will see the following options:

  • Answer one or more security questions that you had previously set up
  • Your mother's maiden name, where you went to school, and your first pet's name may be examples of these questions that will prove that you are you. Answering these questions will either bring you directly to a page to reset your password or may result in being sent an email with a link to do so.
  • Enter your phone number to receive a text or phone call
  • This tends to be an option on newer websites and can be the quickest route if you have your phone handy. Simply enter your phone number and receive a text or an automated phone call with a code to enter on the screen, which should then take you to a page to reset your password.
  • Provide your email address to be sent a password reset link
  • This tends to be the most common option for resetting a password; it can take slightly longer but offers better security. Enter your email address, and within a few minutes, you should receive an email with a link taking you back to the password reset page.

Step Three

Now is the time to reset your password! First read the instructions explaining what is required (capital letters, numbers, symbols, etc.) before choosing your new password. Think of something that is memorable to you but not obvious to anyone who may be able to figure it out and log in on your behalf. It's always a good idea to write the password down somewhere safe (do NOT store this info on your phone, it is too easily-accessible!) if you have a tendency to forget the password or if you don't use a consistent password for all accounts.

Passwords are what keep your information safe, so be sure to keep them private and update them occasionally on sites with many users. Occasionally you may receive an email that your account was logged into from a location you aren't familiar with. It's very important to quickly reset your password because that almost always means that someone was trying to hack into your account. While it's important to have passwords that are hard for someone to guess, it's also important to be able to remember your own for ease and to avoid being locked out of your own accounts. Keep a small journal or note card somewhere safe with your passwords written down in case you need a reminder!

Top 5 Routes for "Resetting a Password"

  1. Wired Hear from the experts on how to best create passwords that are safe and hard to hack. This site explains the breakdown of the best password formula for optimum security.
  2. Gizmodo These five safest ways to store your passwords will give you great tips on staying protected and keeping your passwords safe but accessible to you.
  3. Washington Post Ranked from easiest to most advanced, these options for storing and keeping track of passwords will come in handy as you find yourself needing to tweak your passwords to match the needs of new accounts.
  4. Lifehack If you aren't looking to pay for password storage (it can seem a bit unnecessary to some and more critical to others), these 10 free ways to keep track of your passwords will provide you with options for safe and free security!
  5. Lifehacker These four methods to creating the perfect password that you will actually remember can save you from the reset process altogether! It can be helpful to go back and change old passwords that you created as a kid for the sake of not having to remember them as your most current passwords have likely changed.

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