Many WordPress themes are built with default sidebars. A sidebar is an area that displays information on the left side, right side, or underneath the main content space. 

Depending on your WordPress website, your sidebar may include social media feeds, recent blog posts, or advertisements. However, sidebars aren’t always necessary for a particular page (or your entire website). Let’s explore how to remove sidebars on your WordPress website

Why Should You Remove the Sidebar From Your WordPress Website?

The sidebar is a valuable space on your website. You can showcase related content to your visitors, like popular ebooks, your latest podcast episodes, or an email sign-up form. Many businesses find the sidebar useful for engaging their potential customers.

But the sidebar isn’t helpful for every website experience. For example, visitors landing on your website on their mobile devices may find it difficult to view your sidebar content due to the reduced screen size. You don’t want your visitors constantly zooming in and out on their smartphones just to interact with your website.

Sidebars also can distract visitors from your main page content. You don’t want to lead your visitors down a rabbit hole of never-ending sidebar content. This distraction may lower conversion rates.

So, if you’re ready to ditch the sidebar (even if it's only temporarily), continue reading.

The process for removing your sidebar will vary based on your WordPress theme. We’ll start with the easiest method first. 

  • Log into your WordPress dashboard.
  • Go to Appearance > Widgets on the left side of your dashboard.
  • Find the Sidebar area. It will look similar to this: 

sidebar area for how to remove sidebar in WordPress

  • Expand the widget section by clicking the down arrow.
  • Then, click Delete.

delete widgets for how to remove sidebar in WordPress

  • Repeat these steps until you’ve deleted all the widgets under the Sidebar area.

Remove Sidebar Using a Plugin

WordPress plugins make it simple to add features to your website. You can install a plugin to remove the sidebar on your website, too. Follow the steps below. 

  • Go to Plugins > Add New on the left side of your dashboard.
  • Search for the Widget Disable plugin
  • Install and activate the plugin.

widget disable plugin for how to remove sidebar in WordPress

  • Go to Appearance > Disable Widgets.
  • Under the Sidebar Widgets tab, click Select all to disable the sidebar widgets from your website. 
    settings in widget disable plugin for how to remove sidebar in WordPress
  • Click Save Changes.

 

Remove Sidebar in FTP

If you feel comfortable editing the code in your theme, then you can remove the sidebar using an FTP client. Before implementing this method, we recommend backing up your website and using a child theme to prevent losing any important changes.

  • Connect to your FTP.
  • Open the folder: /wp-content/themes/your-current-theme/
  • You should see all the template files. (For example, home.php, index.php, single.php, archive.php, and page.php)
  • To remove the sidebar, delete this line of code from each template:

 

<?php get_sidebar(); ?>

  • It’s possible that your WordPress theme has multiple sidebars. So, look for a similar code and delete it: 

 

<?php get_sidebar('footer-widget-area'); ?>

  • Click Save after you finish deleting all the code from each template.

You can view the changes on your website now. If you’re using a caching plugin, be sure to deactivate it to see your changes. You can always reactivate the caching plugin later. 

Removing Sidebar from Static Page

Maybe you only want to remove the sidebar from a specific page rather than from your entire website. A static page is your customized page that doesn’t change when you add blog posts to your website. Most businesses use a static page as their homepage. To make these changes to a static page, you’ll need to update the template. 

Change Template in WordPress Dashboard

New WordPress themes come equipped with full-width templates with no sidebars. You can use these templates as a static page on your website. Switching the template only takes a few minutes. 

  • Go to Pages on the left side of your dashboard.
  • Select the desired static page.
  • On the right-hand side, find Page Attributes.
  • Under Template, select Full Width.

page attributes for how to remove sidebar in WordPress

  • Click the blue Publish or Update button.

Change Template in FTP

If this option doesn’t appear in your settings, you can create your own full-width page template. 

  • Open any text editor and create a new file. 
  • Name the file full-width.php and save it on your desktop.
  • Connect to your hosting account using an FTP client.
  • Locate the folder:  /wp-content/themes/your-theme
  • Select page.php file and edit it.
  • Copy all the code from this file and paste it in your full-width.php file.
  • After the opening <?php tag add this code:

 

/*

Template Name: Full-Width

*/

  • In the full-width.php file, find : <?php get_sidebar(); ?>
  • Delete this line of code because it generates the sidebar.
  • Save the changes.
  • Upload full-width.php file to your child theme folder via your FTP client.
  • When you go to Page Attributes, you should now see the full-width page template option.

Remove Sidebar from Blog Post Page

You’ll notice that many WordPress themes display sidebars on the blog posts page, too. But no worries, you can remove them. 

  • Go to Settings > Reading on the left side of your dashboard.
  • Next to Your homepage displays, go to Posts page.
  • Select the static page template without the sidebars from the example in the previous section.

homepage displays for how to remove sidebar in WordPress

If there is no template without sidebars available, read the previous section and follow the instructions to create a full-width template manually.

Remove Sidebar from a Single Post

If you don’t want to remove sidebars from all your blog posts, you can customize a single post with no sidebars. 

  • Go to Posts on the left side of your dashboard.
  • Select the desired blog post.
  • On the right-hand side, find Post Attributes.
  • Under Template, select Full Width.

post attributes for how to remove sidebar in WordPress

  • Click the blue Publish or Update button.

If you can’t find the full-width option, you can create a custom page template without sidebars. The steps are similar to changing a template for a static page. The only difference is that you will need to copy and edit the single.php file.

Sidebars are helpful for displaying relevant content to visitors. But sometimes you need to remove them to improve your website’s overall appearance and to boost conversions.

Wordpress Plugin HubSpot

Originally published Sep 11, 2019 3:10:26 PM, updated September 11 2019

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WordPress Website