WordPress password storage - security/hash algorithm



Hi all,

My site is built using Bedrock and Sage9 but this question isn’t strictly related to either. I’m hoping however to tap into the wealth of knowledge here to help me complete a security review that I’ve been asked to do by my client.

In the section entitled ‘Use a strong hash algorithm for passwords storage’ the requirements are listed as follows:

  • MD5 and SHA-1 must not be used.
  • SHA-256 or superior must be used.
  • Each password must be hashed after having been concatenated with a per user random string (of at least 32 characters) which is called salt. It helps making brute-force and rainbow table based attacks much slower.
  • The hash algorithm should be reiterated at least 50 times (PBKDF2 may be used)

I have researched the above in an attempt to check that WordPress conforms with these requirements but I’m not sure, I seem to find conflicting answers. Basically I need to answer ‘yes’ to each of these points, but I have to be sure in what I am saying. Can anyone give me some guidance/assurity that WordPress conforms (with Bedrock and Sage9)?

Many thanks in advance



I can’t speak to the others, but WordPress use MD5 hashing on passwords. The Roots team has made a plugin to address this: https://roots.io/plugins/bcrypt-password/

Whether or not WordPress meets the rest of your requirements I don’t know, although I wouldn’t be particularly optimistic. Fortunately, the description of the Roots bcrypt plugin mentions the following:

WordPress did at least one good thing: they made wp_check_password and wp_hash_password pluggable functions. This means we can define these functions in a plugin and “override” the default ones.

So it should be fairly straightforward to write your own password hashing plugin that will meet your requirements.


Thanks for this @alwaysblank, really appreciate it! Doing a bit of reading - https://rietta.com/blog/2016/02/05/bcrypt-not-sha-for-passwords/ - this implies that bcrypt is actually better than SHA-256 which is the base requirement, would you agree?



How about Argon2i plus SHA-512 HMAC?