how to delete or remove a wordpress theme completely

How to remove a WordPress theme completely?

Removing the WordPress theme could have many reasons. Maybe it is unused and you want to delete the WordPress theme or it causes a security issue and you have to remove the theme. In this article, we will discuss how to remove a WordPress theme completely from your site via FTP and Dashboard.

Also in this tutorial, you will learn how to remove WordPress’s old themes, child themes, and unused themes manually.

In this article, we’ll show you why and how to easily delete a WordPress theme without losing any data and affecting your website.

Why should you remove WordPress themes?

If you are not using a WordPress theme, then it is recommended to delete it from your website. There are a number of reasons for deleting unused WordPress themes.

  • Security issue: disabled themes may have security problems.
  • Lack of storage: you have little space on your server
  • More tasks: you have to update inactive themes frequently that need more effort.
  • Performance: more themes mean more codes and files. More codes, less performance. Deleting the WordPress theme will increase performance.

As we mentioned, deleting WordPress may have many reasons but two of them are important.

1. Security issue

WordPress itself is secure enough but sometimes there are vulnerabilities of plugins and themes. Hackers use these bugs to get into your website. To prevent this problem you have to keep your website codes less. It means you should delete your unused themes and plugins.

Updating themes frequently fixes bugs and increases your website security but why do you have to update unused themes? Let’s remove your unused WordPress themes.

More themes took more time to security scan and use more references from your server.

2. Lack of storage

Sometimes you have less space on your web server and you have to get rid of the extra files. You should delete unused plugins and themes. Themes don’t get a lot of space, most of them are under 10MB but why do you keep disabled themes on your server?

More themes took more deals for backup and increases backup file sizes.

When should you keep an unused WordPress theme?

While disabled and deactivated themes are useless but there are times you shouldn’t delete your WordPress themes.

  • if you’re using a child theme as your active theme. The parent theme of the active child theme must be installed (and deactivated) on your site.
  • if you want to keep a theme as a backup. It is good to keep one of your themes for backup to change your theme while you are facing a problem in your current theme. For example, having a couple of the default WordPress themes (Twenty Twenty One, Twenty Twenty, etc.) on your site is relatively harmless.
  • Your site is on a Multisite network and the theme is active on another site in the network.
  • You need to keep the theme for testing or for reactivation after testing the current theme.

To change your WordPress theme safely read our tutorial about how to change a WordPress theme.

How to remove a theme in WordPress in Dashboard

Before doing anything you should get a backup from your website.

As long as you have access to your WordPress Dashboard, removing the WordPress theme is easy than other methods.

Log in to your WordPress Dashboard and go to “Appearance > Themes“. You’ll see all themes that are installed on your website. The first theme listed is your active theme.

How to remove a WordPress theme

On this website, there are two themes, Astra and OceanWP, Astra is active and OceanWP isn’t, Click on the not active theme and click the “Delete” button.

You’ll be asked to confirm that you want to delete the theme. Simply click the OK button.

This will delete the theme from your WordPress installation and your server. You can not delete your active theme. If you want to delete your active WordPress theme you have to change your theme and delete it.

How to delete a WordPress theme manually

If you lack WordPress admin privileges or you don’t have access to the Dashboard, you can also delete a theme by accessing your server files via FTP or file manager.

Make sure the theme you are going to delete is not the currently active theme on your website.

Manually you could delete all your themes but You should have at least one theme on your website. If you delete all themes your website will crash.

How to Delete a WordPress Theme Via FTP

Connect to your server via an FTP client.

Open “wp-content -> themes” folder.

Find the folder of the theme you are going to delete in this folder.

Right-click on the folder, then click “Delete”.

Your FTP client may warn you about deleting the file. If so, confirm.

How to remove a WordPress theme in CPanel or DirectAdmin

Log in to your hosting account.

Find the “File Manager” and click on it.

How to remove a WordPress theme from cpanel

Open “wp-content -> themes” folder.

Find the folder of the theme you are going to delete in this folder.

Based on the server (CPanel or DirectAdmin), delete the theme’s folder.

Doing things after removing a WordPress theme

After removing a WordPress theme sometimes some files are still on the website. These files may be media files or maybe are widgets. Be sure you remove them too.

Check your Media Library for images and other media files associated with your old theme, and delete them.

Some themes have their own core plugin, if you remove the theme, remove the plugin related to that theme too.

After deleting the themes, test every corner and functionality of your website to be sure that everything is OK.

Frequently asked questions about “delete a WordPress theme”

How to Resolve “Deletion failed, the theme requested does not exist”?

If you tried to remove the WordPress theme and you encountered this error, it is most likely occurring because WordPress failed to remove all contents of the theme file. To solve this you should remove the theme manually via server or FTP.

What’s the difference between uninstalling and removing a WordPress theme?

WordPress allows you to only keep one theme as your active theme. You can install as many themes as you want on your website. These themes will not be active, but they are still installed. Uninstalling a theme might not remove all of the related content.

Deleting a WordPress theme means you uninstall the theme and remove it completely from your website.

How to delete or remove the WordPress theme from the database?

WordPress theme is not stored in the database, only the active theme name is stored in the “wp_options” table. If you want to delete the active theme (currently in use) you have to change the theme in the database first. To do that read our tutorial.

Is it safe to delete old WordPress themes?

If you follow our instructions to delete the WordPress theme that we discussed in this article, you won’t have any problem and you can delete the old themes safely.