When you begin using WordPress, you will start downloading lots of plugins. Out of curiosity.
However, you will quickly realize that most of the WordPress plugins are a disappointment, or you do not need them. Uninstalling plugins and keeping them affect WordPress performance and security in negative order.
In this article, I will show you how to deactivate and delete a WordPress plugin you don’t need anymore.
Deactivating vs Deleting a WordPress Plugin
Unlike WordPress themes, you can keep more than 1 plugin active at any moment. That’s why users typically deactivate a plugin and leave it without deleting it.
On average, people use 20-30 plugin. However, if you are using WordPress as an advance user, the numbers of plugins can quickly jump 50.
But as you gain WordPress skills, and discover better plugins, you will realise using so many is not convenient.
Also, it is not safe to keep lots of plugins on WordPress. The WordPress plugins are the biggest reasons for the sites getting hacked.
A deactivated but not deleted WordPress plugins still have access to your site, and enough to make it vulnerable. Hackers can use it to run malicious scripts and scrape your data, including username passwords.
The difference between deactivating and deleting a WordPress plugins is that when you deactivate plugins, the data remains intact in the WordPress database, silently, and ready to be used with all the settings, configurations, and customization you made. However, when you delete a WordPress plugin its content, data, and settings from the WordPress site delete entirely.
You should delete a WordPress plugin entirely unless you are planning to use it in the immediate future.
How to Deactivate WordPress Plugin?
Deactivating the WordPress plugin is possible from the admin dashboard. Login to the WordPress dashboard and open the plugin page.
All the WordPress plugins, active and inactive, are listed on the Plugin page. The active plugins have faded blue background, while the inactive one is with white background.
You can find the ‘Deactivate’ link below the listing of the active plugin.
Below the listing of inactive plugins, you can find ‘Activate’ and ‘Delete’ link.
Click Delete to delete a WordPress plugin. Confirm by clicking OK to continue.
That’s it, you deactivated and deleted a WordPress plugin successfully.
What after Deleting the WordPress plugin?
In most cases, When you delete a WordPress plugin from the admin area is enough to remove its data from the database.
However, some plugins that have complicated settings and configurations leave their setting in separate tables (usually outside the Plugin folder). When you install the plugin, even after years, the plugin restores the data.
The idea is excellent for the user ease, but the bloated table bloat WordPress and affect the performance. It also increases the backup size unnecessarily.
You can locate these tables via phpMyAdmin, and delete them properly.
I strongly recommend taking a proper backup of the site before indulging with phpMyAdmin or deleting anything.
Removing Unused Shortcodes
Many WordPress plugins have shortcode functionality to add things to post, pages, widgets or any custom location.
Such as adding Email Collection form at the end of the post, or contact form.
After deleting the plugin, the shortcode functions will be over, but the page will keep showing the text.
Add this simple code to the WordPress theme’s functions.php.
add_shortcode( ‘shortcodetext’, ‘__return_false’ );
Step to add the code to functions.php:
- Find Appearance >> Theme Editor from the sidebar
- Locate the Theme Function (function.php) under Theme Files section on the left side
- Scroll down and add the code
- Update the file
If you ever need to use the plugin again, remove this line of code, and the plugin will start working again.
In this quick tutorial, we learned how to deactivate and delete a WordPress plugin.
You can keep lots of plugins on the WordPress site. It is not the number, but the quality of the plugins that impact the website performance.
However, despite thousands of plugins, quality plugins are only available for popular tasks. Specific WordPress functions are performed by mediocre coded plugins, so you should deal with them carefully.
If you have any question or doubts, please leave them in the comment box below.