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How to delete a WordPress theme in 3 different ways

How to delete a WordPress theme in 3 different ways

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Whatever the reasons might be, learning how to delete a WordPress theme is one of those things everyone should know, and today we’re explaining just that!

Sometimes we need to make changes that include uninstalling or deleting the theme, or even the whole website. This can include different processes and different situation, so to be sure we are on the same page let’s first differentiate situations:

  1. Uninstall an inactive theme
  2. Delete an active theme
  3. Delete everything on WordPress and start from scratch

The first situation, uninstalling an inactive theme

This one is easy, but why would anybody do it? The obvious reason is the disc space, but again, this is not the most important one as WordPress themes usually are not, so space consuming. The much more important reason is security. Themes, especially those that are not updated, are vulnerability points for your website’s security, so in order not to put one more obligation on your shoulders (do you have time to update all inactive themes?) just uninstall it. They stay just a few clicks away once you need it.

Step 1. Check if the theme is inactive by going to Appearance/Themes on the dashboard

Step 2. If the theme is inactive, hover over it with your pointer and THEME DETAILS button will show up:

how to delete a WordPress theme when it's inactive, step 2 screenshot

After clicking on the Theme Details new window will open with more information’s on a specific theme, but what you are looking for is in the bottom right corner written in small red letters Delete.

how to delete a WordPress theme when it's inactive screenshot

Step 3. Click on Delete, and you’re done, an inactive theme is uninstalled. Now repeat this process for all inactive themes.

Do not delete default themes; you will need these for testing, and be sure that WordPress will keep those themes updated with security issues, so as long as you keep them updated on your site, these should not be any security concern.

The second situation, deleting an active WordPress theme

This situation is actually very similar to the above case, but first let’s think about it, why would you delete an active theme? This is the situation when you are changing your theme due to the new design, better options or both. But, you cannot delete an Active theme, so the first thing to do is to inactivate it. Even if you try, an Active theme will not show Delete option before you make it inactive.

Step 0. In Appearance/themes chose a new theme you want to use and click on the activate button. This can be a theme that you just uploaded or one of the offered themes that you installed or default WP theme.

how to delete a WordPress theme when it's active screenshot example

After you inactivate the theme, you just got Steps 1-3 from the first situation:

Step 1. Hover over inactive theme on Appearance/themes

Step 2. Click on Theme details that showed up

Step 3. Click on Delete in the bottom right corner

The third situation, Delete EVERYTHING!

Most usual example for this is when you have one place for testing your WP ideas, and you frequently need to clear all content and start from the scratch. This situation is different from two examples above because once you do this, it’s like you opened cPanel for the first time, there is nothing on it, and you start your WP journey for the first time. To do so, we will need a plugin.

Step 1. Install new plugin. On your dashboard go to Plugin/Add New. In the Search Box type WordPress Database Reset.

This plugin will show up in search results, click on the Install Now button in the top right corner.

how to delete a WordPress theme intarely screenshot example

Step 2. Choosing what to delete. After this plugin is installed, click on Tools in the dashboard, and you will see a new menu item: Database Reset

how to delete a WordPress theme database reset plugin screenshot

After clicking on Database Reset option, it will open panel where you choose, in a drop-down menu, what databases you would like to delete (you don’t have to clear all if you don’t want to, but if you do, there is a Select All shortcut)

how to delete a WordPress theme selecting what to erase screenshot

Step 3. Deleting! After you have chosen databases you want to remove (or just click Select All), one more step needs to be fulfilled before hitting that final delete.

how to delete a WordPress theme final step screenshot

You’ll get the security code which you need to retype and click Reset Tables after that. The plugin will prompt a box asking you are you sure, and if you click OK, it’s done. And that’s it, your WP site does not exist anymore, and you need to start all from the beginning. If this is not what you wanted, well, didn’t mean to make you cry, if it’s not back again this time tomorrow (and it won’t be) carry on, carry on, as if nothing really matters… 😉

So, from removing an inactive theme to entirely deleting it, these are the three ways you can resolve that issue. Hope we helped you a little bit in understanding what’s needed to be done depending on your situation.

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Ivana Cirkovic

Ivana is a Digital Marketing, PR and Social Media consultant with over nine years experience in the field. She is also a WordPress enthusiast and an active member of WordPress community who lives online almost 24/7. In love with Twitter, WP, photography and NYC.

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