How to uninstall WordPress plugins

uninstall wordpress plugins

WordPress is revered for its customizability and simple, user friendly interface. There are a number of plugins you can install to create diverse themes and styles for you and your webpage’s users, but what happens if one of your plugins becomes tired and you want to replace it with another? The process to uninstall WordPress plugins is as simple and quick as the rest of the WordPress interface. Use this handy article to learn how to uninstall WordPress plugins for any reason.

Routine steps to uninstall WordPress plugins

  1. Find the “Installed Plugins” link on the Plugins menu. Click the link and wait for the Plugins page to open.
  2. Browse around the page until you find the plugin you want uninstalled.
  3. Click “Deactivate Link” below the plugin title. The Plugins Page will now refresh and the Plugin you’ve chosen will now deactivated.
  4. Click the “Delete” link that will appear below the plugin title. The Delete Plugin page will open, and a confirmation message will appear, double checking if you’re sure you want to delete the plugin.
  5. If you’re still sure you want to delete the plugin you’ve chosen, click “Yes, Delete These Files.” The Plugins page will refresh and the plugin you’ve just deleted should be gone from the list at this point. You should see a message at the top of the page confirming the deletion of the plugin.
  6. Once the plugin is deleted, remember to delete any code you’ve added to your theme templates, as deleting the plugin with deleting the code can cause error messages to appear in your blog without warning.

This is the usual process to uninstall WordPress plugins but there are a number of types of plugins which store data that also needs to be erased. When you uninstall WordPress plugins scripts will erase all data stored by the plugin, but some won’t, and these require additional steps. This is a slightly more complex process but still quick and easy if you follow the guide.

How do plugins store data?

When you uninstall WordPress plugins, you will usually be asked to input some sort of manual data that are most likely to store the data elsewhere. These are form plugins, caching plugins, SEO plugins, and security plugins. These are the plugins which will usually ask for additional data and which will require a few extra steps to delete. The active plugins and plugins that have been active before can be found on the wp_options database. Custom database tables may also be created by plugins to store data and WordPress’ wp-config.php file can be modified as well. In order to determine the new information your plugins create within these folders, it’s important to know the data present in a newly installed WordPress.

After you uninstall WordPress plugins, the newly installed versions of the WordPress application will contain twelve tables, listed below.

  • wp_commentmeta
  • wp_comments
  • wp_links
  • wp_options
  • wp_postmeta
  • wp_posts
  • wp_termmeta
  • wp_terms
  • wp_term_relationships
  • wp_term_taxonomy
  • wp_usermeta
  • wp_users

If you’ve installed a multisite, additional tables will also be installed, which are:

  • wp_blogs
  • wp_blog_versions
  • wp_registration_log
  • wp_signups
  • wp_site
  • wp_sitemeta

Your WordPress install might have another prefix if you have a different install or have altered it with plugins, but the concept and files are still the same. For each new site you add to a multisite, there will be another ten tables starting with wp_2_etc.

Once you understand what already exists in your WordPress folders, you’ll have a much easier time deleting any additional information your plugins have created. Plugins such as Gravity Forms and Wordfence will create a number of new files in your WordPress application; simply compare the original list of files to the new list to determine which files you’ll need to delete to completely uninstall WordPress plugins.

Other plugins which leave data behind include Akismet, which will store data in the wp_commentmeta table even after deletion, EWWW Image Optimizer, which will store data about the path to your images, including their original size, size after compression, and percent reduction in the table wp_ewwwio_images, WP All Export, which creates four tables, and Yoast SEO, which will create two tables.

As a final note, when you uninstall WordPress plugins, you might have an “uninstall script” which will automatically take care of the additional files for you. These are well developed apps with your convenience in mind and include Broken Link Checker, which removes four database tables, Relevanssi, which removes three tables, and WP Rocket which removes all data and files installed including an advanced cache.php file.

Though the process sounds complex, removing WordPress plugins, even those which require additional, manual deletion is a simple and quick process. At any moment, you’re only a few clicks away from totally removing any and all files and tables created by the plugins you choose. This feature is one among of many which makes WordPress one of the most trusted and popular web creation tools on the web today.

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