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What is the 2FA grace period and how can you configure it?

When 2FA is enforced, users need to either configure 2FA on their next login or within a grace period. WP 2FA comes with a configurable grace period that allows you to choose how long of a grace period you would like to give your users and what happens if 2FA is not configured within the grace period.

There is no ideal grace period. In fact, high-security websites do not even allow a grace period. They require users to configure 2FA as soon as they log in. So, as a rule of thumb, the sooner you can get your users to use two-factor authentication, the safer it is.

What happens when a user does not configure 2FA within the grace period?

With WP 2FA, you can decide what happens when users miss their grace period. One option is to lock the user account and prohibit the user from logging in until the account is unlocked. You can also restrict access to the dashboard or user page until 2FA is configured.

Do note that only the website’s administrators can unlock the user again. As a security precaution, user accounts cannot be unlocked automatically, even if the plugin’s settings are changed. They always have to be manually unlocked.

Read how to unlock locked WordPress users for more information on this subject.

How to configure the grace period for 2FA

To configure a grace period, first, navigate to WP 2FA > 2FA Policies. Make sure that 2FA is being enforced, then scroll down to the grace period section, as shown in the screenshot below.

Next, choose from the following options:

  • Users have to configure 2FA straight away: Choose this option to have users configure 2FA straight away
  • Give users a grace period to configure 2FA: Choose this option to give users a grace period to configure their 2FA. Depending on how long you would like the grace period to be, click on either the hours or days radio button, then enter the amount in the preceding text box.

Next, we need to tell WP 2FA what should happen when a user does not configure 2FA within the grace period.

  • Block the user: Choose the option to have the user account blocked. An Administrator will have to manually unblock the account once it’s blocked
  • Do not let them access the dashboard/user page once they log in until they configure 2FA: Choose this option to block access to the dashboard/user page until 2FA is configured. Access is restored automatically once 2FA is configured

Lastly, we can choose how we want to inform users that 2FA is being enforced by selecting from the following options:

  • Show an admin notice in the dashboard
  • Show a notification on a page on its own after the user authenticates and before accessing the dashboard

Once you’re happy with your selections, scroll down to the end of the page and click on Save Changes.

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