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Deleting a WordPress theme can be a daunting task, especially if you’re not familiar with the process. However, with the right steps, you can safely remove a theme without causing any issues to your website. In this article, we’ll show you how to delete a WordPress theme in a safe and efficient way. Whether you’re looking to remove an old theme or switch to a new one, you’ll find everything you need to know in this guide. From creating a backup of your website to testing for orphaned data, we’ll walk you through each step in detail. By the end of this article, you’ll be able to delete your theme with confidence.
When Not to Delete a WordPress Theme
Deleting a WordPress theme can have a significant impact on your website, so it’s important to consider the potential consequences before proceeding. Here are some scenarios where you may want to hold off on deleting a theme:
- The theme is actively being used on your website: If your website is currently using the theme that you want to delete, it’s important to be aware that deleting the theme will make your website go blank. If this is the case, you should first activate a different theme and then delete the one you no longer need.
- The theme is customized: If you’ve made customizations to the theme, such as custom CSS or added specific widgets, deleting the theme will erase all of those customizations. Before deleting a theme, make sure you have a backup of any customizations you’ve made, or that you’ve transferred those customizations to a new theme.
- The theme is used by multiple websites: If the theme is being used by other websites, and you don’t want to lose all of your settings, widgets, and customizations, you should consider creating a child theme. This way, you can keep the customization of your theme but also get the ability to update it when needed.
- The theme is a premium theme: If you’ve purchased a premium theme, it’s important to be aware that deleting the theme will also delete your license key. If you decide to use the theme again in the future, you’ll have to purchase a new license.
In summary, before deleting a WordPress theme, make sure that you don’t have any active pages or posts using it, you’ve backed up any customizations, and that you don’t need the theme for any other website. If you’re unsure, it’s always a good idea to consult with a WordPress developer.
Create a Backup of Your Website
Before you begin the process of deleting a WordPress theme, it’s essential to create a backup of your website. This will ensure that you have a safe copy of all your data, in case something goes wrong during the deletion process. By creating a backup, you’ll have the peace of mind knowing that you can easily restore your website to its previous state.
There are a few different ways to create a backup of your website, but we recommend using a plugin like UpdraftPlus. This plugin makes it easy to create a full backup of your website and store it in a safe location. Once you have a backup, you’ll be ready to proceed with the next steps of deleting your theme.
Deactivate and Remove the Theme
There are two ways to deactivate and delete a WordPress theme: through the WordPress dashboard or via FTP. Both methods are described below:
Deactivate and Delete the Theme from the WordPress Dashboard
- In your WordPress dashboard, go to Appearance > Themes.
- Look for the theme that you want to delete and hover over it.
- Click on the Theme Details button.
- In the theme details modal, you will find the delete option, click on it.
- A pop-up window will appear asking you to confirm the deletion. Click on “Delete” to proceed.
- The theme will now be deactivated and deleted from your website.
Please note that if you are using this method, the theme’s settings and customizations will be retained, so you can easily reactivate it if needed. Also, if you have pages, posts, and images created using that theme, they will still exist, so it’s important to check for orphaned data (Step 3) in order to ensure that your website is running smoothly.
Deactivate and Delete the Theme via FTP
- Connect to your website using an FTP client such as FileZilla.
- Once connected, navigate to the “wp-content/themes” directory.
- Locate the theme folder you want to delete.
- Right-click on the theme folder and select “Delete” or “Remove” option.
- Confirm the deletion in the pop-up window.
- The theme will now be deactivated and deleted from your website.
It’s important to note that when you delete a theme via FTP, you will lose all the theme’s settings and customizations. Therefore, make sure that you don’t need those before proceeding with the deletion.
Additionally, it’s important to mention that deleting a theme via FTP will not delete the pages, posts, and images that you’ve created using that theme. Therefore, after deleting the theme it’s important to check for orphaned data (Step 3) in order to ensure that your website is running smoothly.
It’s also worth mentioning that while deleting the theme via FTP is a quick and easy process, it’s not the most recommended method, since you may not have access to all the features that the WordPress dashboard provides, and you might miss some important information.
Check for Orphaned Content
When you delete a theme, it’s possible that some of its data, like images or pages, may be left behind and will not be associated with any active theme. This is known as “orphaned data” and it’s important to check for it to ensure that your website is running smoothly.
To check for orphaned data, you can use a plugin like Advanced Database Cleaner which scans your website and detects any data that’s no longer associated with any active theme. This plugin will help you to remove any data that’s not needed and will keep your website clean and optimized.
You can also check for orphaned data manually by going through your website’s pages and posts, checking for any broken links or missing images. This process can be time-consuming but it’s a good way to check for any errors that the plugin may have missed.
Once you’ve checked for orphaned data and removed any unnecessary content, you can proceed to the next step of testing your website.
Test Your Website
After you’ve deleted the theme, and checked for orphaned data, it’s important to thoroughly test your website to make sure everything is working properly. This step is crucial in order to ensure that your website is running smoothly and without errors.
You should test all pages, posts, and functionalities on your website such as forms, e-commerce, and any other custom functionality you have. This will help you to identify any issues and fix them before they become a problem for your users.
You can also use tools like Google Analytics or other tracking tools to monitor your website’s performance and identify any issues that may arise.
It’s also important to check for any broken links or missing images, as they can affect the user experience and search engine optimization of your website.
By taking the time to test your website after deleting a theme, you can ensure that your website is running smoothly and without errors.
Deleting a WordPress theme can be a tricky task, but by following the right steps, you can safely remove it without causing any issues to your website. In this article, we’ve walked you through the process of creating a backup, deactivating and removing the theme, checking for orphaned data, and testing your website. By following these steps, you’ll be able to delete your theme with confidence and ensure that your website is running smoothly.
It’s important to remember that before making any changes to your website, you should always create a backup, this way you can easily restore your website to its previous state in case something goes wrong. Additionally, by checking for orphaned data and testing your website, you can ensure that your website is running smoothly and without errors.
Deleting a theme can be a positive change for your website, whether you’re looking to remove an old theme or switch to a new one. By following this guide, you’ll be able to make that change without any problems.