How to Disable WordPress Plugins in 2022 (3 Ways)

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Madison Zoey Vettorino
Madison Zoey Vettorino


If you need to disable WordPress plugins, we have some good news: There are several ways you can do it, with or without access to your site’s dashboard. 

Person learning how to disable WordPress plugins

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In this post, we’ll walk you through how to disable WordPress plugins. We’ll also discuss why you might decide to do so, and how to proceed with the process. 

What does it mean to disable a WordPress plugin? 

First, it’s important to note that disabling a WordPress plugin is not the same thing as outright deleting it. When you disable a WordPress plugin, you’re removing its functionality. If you want to begin using the plugin again, however, it’s as simple as reactivating it. Think of it like turning off a light switch. 

This is an excellent option if you’re not presently using the plugin and don’t want it to slow your site down, but you know you may use it again in the future. And, good news: deactivated plugins won’t make your website slower. 

Alternatively, if you don’t foresee yourself using a plugin again in the future, you may choose to delete it entirely. 

Why disable WordPress plugins? 

You may be scratching your head wondering why you would want to disable WordPress plugins that you initially installed. There are a few occasions in which disabling WordPress plugins makes sense.

First, if you are facing difficulties with your WordPress installation, such as being unable to reach your admin dashboard, or getting the white screen of death. In these cases, you’ll want to try to disable all plugins to determine whether they’re causing the problem. 

Some website owners realize that their website is slow. If they’ve installed a host of plugins, the sheer quantity can be the cause. Therefore, you may decide to deactivate plugins to speed up load time and slowly re-add plugins as necessary. 

Lastly, if you’re a site owner and you’re noticing error messages popping up on your website, disabling WordPress plugins can offer an effective solution to get to the root of the problem. 

How to Disable WordPress Plugins

Now that you have some insight into why disabling WordPress plugins is useful, let’s dive into how you can do so quickly and efficiently.  

1. If You Have Access to Your WordPress Dashboard 

If you’re successfully logging into your dashboard, the process you’ll follow to disable WordPress plugins is simple. To begin, navigate to your dashboard and select Plugins.

To disable WordPress plugins, navigate to your dashboard.

This is where the process splits, depending on if you want to disable all plugins or one, or a few. 

Disable a WordPress Plugin

If you’re disabling just one, simply click deactivate underneath the plugin name. Ta-da! The plugin is now inactive on your site, but if you wish to reactivate it, you can still find it under the plugins tab and turn it on so it functions again.

Step two to disable WordPress plugins: click deactivate.

Disable Multiple WordPress Plugins in Bulk 

Once the plugins page on the dashboard opens, select all of your plugins by checking the box in the top left corner.

To Disable WordPress plugins simultaneously, check the box. Now that you’ve selected all the plugins, navigate to the Bulk actions menu also in the top left corner. Select Deactivate then click Apply.

When you refresh the page, the plugins will no longer appear under the active tab.

If you want to check to ensure your plugins have been disabled successfully, there should be a tab next to All in the top left corner that reads inactive

From there, you can Delete the plugin altogether if you so wish.

2. If You Want to Use an FTP 

If you want to use an FTP (File Transfer Protocol) client to disable WordPress plugins, you can do so easily. This is usually the most accessible option if you are unable to reach your WordPress dashboard but have access to your server. 

To begin, connect to your site server via FTP. 

Next, find your website’s root folder. 

Then, find your /wp-content folder. Navigate here. 

Once you’re there, select your /plugins folder. 

Work with an FTP to disable WordPress plugins.

Disable Multiple WordPress Plugins in Bulk 

To disable all of your plugins simultaneously, rename the /plugins folder plugins.disable

Disable a WordPress Plugin 

If you want to manually disable plugins, you can rename the plugins individually. This will not delete all of them — just the ones you’ve renamed. You do this for just one plugin, or multiple if you desire. 

3. If You Want to Use phpMyAdmin

If you’re locked out of your dashboard and you don’t want to use FTP to regain access to your plugins, you can also use phpMyAdmin to deactivate plugins you no longer need. 

First, sign into your phpMyAdmin account. Here, in the left menu, check the name of the database your website is using. 

Navigate to the wp_options table. (Sometimes this is just called _options. There should only be one.) 

Navigate to the option_name column. There, you’ll see the active_plugins entry. Sometimes this is past the first page. 

Click edit adjacent to the active_plugins entry. 

Go to the option_value row. Select the total copy you see in that field, copy it, and paste it into your text editor of choice. 

Now that you’ve stored the text in a place you can reach, remove it from your phpMyAdmin account.

Click go to bring the changes live, effectively deactivating your plugins. 

You can also use phpMyAdmin to disable WordPress plugins.

Help Your Website Run Smoother by Disabling WordPress Plugins

Usually, WordPress plugins are an excellent addition to your site — they offer increased functionality and can significantly enrich your visitors’ user experience. However, in some cases, they serve as an obstacle to your website’s success. By disabling WordPress plugins, you can figure out which plugins are worth the energy and which you’d be better off without. 

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