Fix lost admin access in bbPress

If you can’t see the admin link anymore and any attempt to access /bb-admin/ takes you back to the forum front page then it implies that you have lost the capabilities of an administrator with your user. Earlier it happened with users trying to integrate bbPress 0.9 with WordPress 2.7 or 2.8 but documenting it so that some day it might help anyone is a good idea.

Fix via phpmyadmin

bbpress capabilities
Open the usermeta table of your installation. Its either bb_usermeta or wp_usermeta (if you have integrated installs) if you haven’t changed the default table prefix.

Make sure the value of bb_capabilities for your user (user id) is


Fix via mysql

If you are tying this method, then you probably are geeky enough to know what to fix but still here is how it is done.

UPDATE `bbpress`.`bb_usermeta` SET `meta_value` = 'a:1:{s:9:"keymaster";b:1;}' WHERE `bb_usermeta`.`user_id` =1 ;

where bbpress is your database name, bb_usermeta is your table name. You need to change user_id as per your case (1 or 2 or x).

Refresh your browser and now you should have the admin link and access to admin panel back. Let me know if you need any kind of help.


24 responses to “Fix lost admin access in bbPress”

  1. Hello.

    I’m having the same problem, but this fix didn’t work for me.
    In fact, now it doesn’t even show up the Admin button anymore.

    I have WP 2.8 and BB 1.0 and I integrated the WP user database with BB too.

    Any ideas?

  2. @Gustavs
    If you can’t see the Admin link then it means that the capabilities of user are not that of keymaster.
    Are you sure that you tried the above method? If did, confirm that you have made the change.

  3. I did.

    I found that the only way to get it working was to set it up with out integrating wp user database and setting it up later from bbPress administrator panel. I’m not sure why this worked and integrating from the beginning didn’t but at least it did.

  4. @Gustavs
    If correct capabilities are set then by no means the user can miss the admin link.
    Do you see the correct capabilities for your user?

  5. Just one thing: it first failed as I copy/paste text from you blog, some quotes (surrounding keymaster) were uncorrect.
    From you blog, I got: a:1:{s:9:”keymaster”;b:1;}
    And I had to use: a:1:{s:9:”keymaster”;b:1;}
    Don’t know if the difference is really visible on this page.

  6. Thank you for documenting all of this. I have installed both WP and bbpress and run the integration — and when I go to the bbpress page, I can’t get to settings or to the bp-admin area.

    However, when I went into my wp_usermeta table, I saw just what you said:

    bb_capabilities a:1:{s:9:”keymaster”;b:1;}

    Could something else be off? Do you have any ideas?

    Thanks in advance.

  7. @Courtney
    Does the Admin link show up? If it does, then trying flushing your cookies. Alternatively you can try a different browser, that would work fine.

  8. I think maybe that was it — I’m on a different computer now and I can get in!

    1. @Courtney
      Let me know if you face any other issues

  9. albert Avatar

    i am having these same issues after integrating bbpress with wordpress. i believe it is because i forgot to designate the wp administrator as the keymaster.

    i am looking in my database and can’t even find any files named bb_usermeta or wp_usermeta, nor can i find these words in my wp-config.php or bb-config.php files.

    i know it’s two years later, but if you are still around i would love some assistance… thanks.

    1. yes that probably is. Those are tables. Look for the row in those tables and fix them

  10. albert Avatar

    i’m sorry but i’m very much a beginner… where do i find these tables? in which files?

    1. Tables are in the database. In your hosting cpanel, find phpmyadmin. Go to the database you are using ( find it in wp-config.php or bb-config.php as your case may be), and then you have to edit rows in those table.

      1. albert Avatar

        I have located both my wp-config.php and bb-config.php files, but neither of them have anything close to the word “usermeta” in them.

        i don’t know if it’s asking too much of you, but i can actually post the contents of each of the files if it would help.

        i apologize for being so ignorant but i’m just learning this stuff.

        1. albert Avatar

          Actually, I just found the tables with the assistance of my hosting provider. My apologies for the confusion.

          For the table bb_usermeta, the value of bb_capabilities (for user_id 1) is a:1:{s:9:”keymaster”;b:1;}.

          For the table wp_usermeta, the value of wp_capabilities (for user_id 1) is a:1:{s:13:”administrator”;b:1;}.

          Yet I am still not able to access my bb-admin. Do I need to adjust these?

          1. They look fine. Does bbPress use WordPress user tables or of its own? And make sure you have bbPress integration plugin on WordPress side if you are trying to access bbPress after logging in from WordPress side.
            When you login on bbPress side, can you see a link to admin panel or that is gone too?

  11. albert Avatar

    Not really sure what you mean in your first question, but i do have tables entitled “bb_users” and “wp_users.”

    Even when I login on bbpress side, I can’t see a link to the admin panel.

    1. Too specific and very hard to tell without taking a look myself. If you are willing to hire me, you can do so. Right link on the navigation menu.

      1. albert Avatar

        I had no idea what I was doing, but somehow I reasoned it out and I think I fixed everything.

        I now have access to my bb-admin (and my wp-admin). My login is now both the WP admin and the BB keymaster. And when I log into one site, I stay logged into the other.

        Thanks for all your help.

        1. Good! Let me know if you need help with anything else.

  12. Hello,
    thank you so much for the posting, i dreaded playing with phpadmin
    but i tell you, i find my way round it learn few tricks and hurray by wordpress and bbpress are happily married together… am so delighted.
    It took me at least two days to get to your site 🙂


  13. Sriram Avatar


    I am trying to integrate bbpress with my custom site. I synchronized the user tables of my site & bbpress. Then, I wrote a custom plugin for bbpress which logs users only if the cookie is set by my site. The problem I am facing is, I see the admin link but can’t get to the admin panel.

    Is there a workaround for this issue?


    1. Hey!

      Use the bbPress integration plugin for WordPress, that should fix it. If you are lost, you can hire me to take a look and do it for you.

      1. Sriram Avatar


        Thanks for the reply. Well, I am not integrating bbpress with wordpress, but bbpress with my custom site only.