Change a user's email when they can't access the email account and forgot password

There are cases where you may need to change a user’s email address on their behalf.

For example, when the user account has a historical email addresses which the users can no longer access. This is somewhat common after migrating from an import of a preexisting system where they may have kept logging in with a username and password.

If you need to change a user’s email address on their behalf, go to the user’s preferences as if you were that user, and change their email by clicking or tapping the edit button next to the email.


For a normal user, the only email address that has to be verified is the NEW email address, so this should work fine.

:warning: For staff (admins / mods), both OLD and NEW emails must be verified for security reasons. If a staff member has lost control of their old email, you’ll need to temporarily remove their admin / mod privileges before resetting their email or use the Rails console (see below)

Alternative method - via Rails console

This can be used to skip verification of the new email address or for staff accounts.

The Reset Password Dialog

Note that we also provide hints in the reset password dialog that users need to find a way to contact staff if they’ve truly lost access to their original email address:

Pressing the help button results in this dialog:

The “our helpful staff” link goes to the /about page for your site.

It’s important to offer contact info on that page (either a website URL with a contact form, or an email address) via your site settings so they have a way to reach out to you if they cannot log in. You could also edit the text of the dialog with /admin/customize/site-texts.


I setup a discourse instance years ago, and the email address I used to use was no longer available to access, this really bothers me. Hope there is a way to change my (admin’s) email address.

Have you looked at this topic linked above yet? Change staff email address from console