Removing A WordPress Plugin
There are thousands of free plugins in the WordPress repository. If you’ve had a WordPress website for any length of time, it is a given that you have installed your share of these plugins. What do you when you have accumulated quite a bit of plugins? How many should you have? What should you do with the plugins your not using? What happens when you deactivate these plugins?
These are some of the questions I am going to tackle in this article, and why its important that you remove any plugins you are not using.
Why You Should Remove Unused Plugins
With all the WordPress free and premium plugins available, it is certainly easy for you to install as many as you need. It is also easy and wise, for you to remove any plugins you don’t need.
WordPress plugins are like applications you install on your site. They add functionally to your site, but this also gives them enormous control of your site. Plugin developers do their best to keep them secure, but mistakes can still happen. This means any plugin, that you are not using, can be a potential security risk.
Because of this security risk, it is a good idea to remove any plugins from your WordPress site that you do not need, maybe your are not using them at the moment and you have them deactivated, but these plugins should be permanently removed.
Whats The Difference Between Deactivating Or Uninstalling A Plugin?
You may have a few plugins on your WordPress site that you have just simply deactivated. This is common occurrence of WordPress users. Maybe you deactivated them temporarily with the intention of reactivating them later. This is a common thing to do when trying to fix a problem with your site.
It could be you deactivated a plugin as it was conflicting with another plugin on your site. Maybe your site was broke and you were told to deactivate all your plugins until the the site was restored. Plugins do not always play well together and the more you have the harder it can be for you to find the culprit.
Sometimes deactivating all these plugins can result in your finding a better plugin to do the same job, and you may not remove the older one.
A deactivated plugin can cause security issues as it can make your site open to attacks through these deactivated plugins. So if you know you are going to re-use a plugin, by all means deactivation is a good option, but if not, go ahead and uninstall it.
How To Uninstall A WordPress Plugin
WordPress makes it super easy to uninstall plugins. All you have to do is login to your WordPress dashboard and go to the Plugins page.
Here, you will see a list of your currently installed plugins. Active plugins are high-lighted with a blue background and have a link below to deactivate them.
In my example here, I am going to use the WPForms plugin.
Inactive plugins have links below them to activate, edit, or delete them. Click on the delete link below the plugin that you want to uninstall.
WordPress will then ask you to confirm that you want to delete the plugin.
You need to click on the “OK” button. WordPress will then safely remove the plugin from you site and server.
Then you will see the confirm delete message.
That’s it. You have successfully removed the plugin from your WordPress site.
Additional Steps to Remove the WordPress Plugin
Are you completely done removing the WordPress plugin? Maybe, maybe not.
When you remove a WordPress plugin, sometimes it will leave behind unwanted files. Every plugin is different and sometimes the plugin documentation will show you how to remove these additional files form your site. As there are so many cases, I can’t go into all of them here, but I will show you some items left behind by my example plugin.
Many plugins use short codes to add features to your site. In my example with WPForms, it uses a short code, to add the form to the site page.
As you see, from the image above, by removing the forms plugin, only the short code remains. Just go into the Contact page, and remove the short code shown below:
Uninstalling Your WordPress Plugins
So there you have it. I’ve shown you how to uninstall a WordPress plugin and why its important. Do you have any plugins on your WordPress site that you don’t need? Do you have any that have been deactivated but not removed? What are your plans for removing them?
Keeping your WordPress site lean and secure should be of major importance to you, and by uninstalling unneeded plugins, you are one step closing to doing this.
I would love to hear about any plugins you need to remove and any questions you have, in the comments section below.
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