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How to Uninstall and Delete a WordPress Theme

by Jay | Posted on December 31st, 2022

Are you ready to move on from your current WordPress theme? Uninstalling and deleting it is easy, and this blog post will walk you through the process. You can be up and running with a brand-new theme with just a few clicks!

Why delete a WordPress theme?

It is recommended to remove a WordPress theme from your website if you are not using it. You could delete unneeded WordPress themes for a variety of reasons.

  • PHP-written WordPress theme files can conceal malware or harmful code on your site (if your website was ever compromised). Dishonest developers can occasionally conceal backdoors in abandoned themes.
  • Having unnecessary themes installed on your server makes your backups larger and takes longer for your WordPress security plugin to complete a check.
  • Even if you aren’t using those themes, you’ll still receive updates for them.

Many users now only install WordPress themes on their live websites for testing purposes. The ideal approach to trying out a WordPress theme is not in this manner.

We advise using a local WordPress installation or a staging site to do all your testing. This process keeps your live website unaffected and enables you to give your consumers a consistent experience.

What is the difference between uninstalling vs. deleting a WordPress theme?

You’re only allowed to have one active theme in WordPress. On your website, however, you can install any themes you wish. Although these themes won’t be in use, they are still installed on your website, and you will still get updates.

You must delete a WordPress theme to uninstall it completely. By doing this, all theme files on your website will be deleted.

Is deleting old WordPress themes safe?

Yes, you can safely delete WordPress themes, not in use. For a WordPress site to work effectively, at least one theme must be installed. WordPress will show your website using this theme.

Go to the Appearance » Themes tab to see your WordPress theme. The ‘Active’ theme will be shown as your current theme.

Additionally, we advise maintaining a single default WordPress theme, like Twenty Nineteen or Twenty Twenty, loaded on your website. It serves as a backup theme if your primary theme breaks.

You must continue to maintain the parent theme on your website if your present theme is a child theme.

You can safely remove any additional themes installed on your website besides these.

In light of this, let us demonstrate how to delete a WordPress theme.

Deactivate the theme

You can make a full WordPress backup if you’ve modified a theme and wish to keep those changes before uninstalling the theme.

If you want to uninstall a WordPress theme, the first step is to deactivate it.

To do this, go to Appearance > Themes in your WordPress dashboard and click the “Deactivate” link underneath the theme you want to remove.

This will prevent any users from viewing the theme on the frontend of your website. Once the theme has been deactivated, you can proceed to the next step.

Deleting a WordPress theme

A WordPress theme can be deleted in a variety of ways. The easiest one will be addressed first.

Remove the theme from the WordPress admin area

Removing a theme from the WordPress Admin Area is a simple process. First, log into your WordPress dashboard as an administrator. Next, select Appearance > Themes.

Hover over the theme you want to delete and click Theme Details. In the window that appears, click the Delete button in the bottom right corner. This will completely remove the theme from your WordPress dashboard and will no longer be visible.

The theme will, after that, be deleted when you confirm your wish to do so. Press the OK button to proceed, and WordPress will delete your chosen theme.

Uninstall the theme from the FTP server

Now that you have deactivated and removed the WordPress theme from the WordPress Admin Area, it’s time to uninstall the theme from the FTP Server.

To do this, you will need an FTP client. Connect to your server using your FTP credentials and navigate to the root folder of your WordPress installation. From here, you need to locate the theme folder that you want to delete.

Right-click on the folder name and then select delete. This will remove the entire theme from your server. After removing the theme folder, you should check for any remaining files or folders that may have been left behind. It is important to make sure that everything is deleted in order for the theme to be completely removed.

Deleting a WordPress theme via file manager

You can also use the File Manager application in your web hosting control panel if you feel uncomfortable using an FTP client.

Log in to the dashboard of your hosting account, and under the Advanced tab, click on the File Manager icon.

Go to /public_html/wp-content/themes/ folder:

The theme you wish to delete will be deleted by right-clicking it to reveal the delete button.

What to do if you mistakenly delete a WordPress theme?

There are several ways to recover a WordPress theme that you unintentionally deleted.

The theme can first be restored using the backup. This process is simpler since many WordPress backup plugins let you easily roll back your website to a previous version.

If you neglected to save a backup, you could still restore the theme by downloading and setting up a new copy.

The disadvantage of the second strategy is that you would lose any theme changes you have done.

What else should you look out for?

Disable and delete plugins associated with the theme

To completely uninstall a WordPress theme, it is important to disable and delete any associated plugins that may have been used with the theme. This is important to ensure no conflicts between the new theme and any of the plugins that are still active on your website.

Check for any database changes

When uninstalling a WordPress theme, it is important to check for any database changes that may have been made. This could include changing the options table, creating new tables, or altering existing ones.

Any changes made to the database should be reversed or removed to avoid conflicts with other plugins or themes. Additionally, if the theme had any custom post types or taxonomies, delete them from the database. Finally, if the theme used any custom user roles or capabilities, remove them.

Check for any custom coding added

When uninstalling and deleting a WordPress theme, it is important to check for any custom coding that may have been added. This could include custom functions, modifications to core files, or any additional code written specifically for the theme.

If any custom code was added, it should be removed from the theme files before deletion. Any changes to core files should also be reverted to their original state. This will ensure that the WordPress installation functions properly and is not affected by any leftover code.

Check if any settings need to be adjusted

Now that you have fully uninstalled and deleted your WordPress theme, it’s important to check if any settings need to be adjusted. If you have any specific settings related to the theme, you should double-check to ensure they are all reset or adjusted as necessary.

This will ensure that your site functions optimally and that any new themes or plugins don’t conflict with the existing settings. Additionally, you should check any security settings related to the theme to ensure there are no vulnerabilities left open. This is an important step to take to protect your website from any potential malicious attacks.


I've worked for WooRank, SEOptimer, and working on a cool SEO audit tool called Now I have build Linkilo and SEO RANK SERP WordPress theme. I've been in the SEO industry for more than 5 years, learning from the ground up. I've worked on many startups, but also have my own affiliate sites.


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