Whether you’ve tried different variations of your website look or have put together a collection after many redesigns, chances are you have more WordPress themes than you need for your WordPress site.
Disabled WordPress themes from the admin theme menu may look harmless, but they can actually harm your site’s health. Because these themes take up valuable space on your web server and have a security risk if not updated.
So what should site owners do? Simple: Remove disabled themes.
This post explains the easiest way to delete WordPress theme and why it makes sense to delete unused WordPress themes (and when to keep them).
Reasons to Delete a WordPress theme
You are not deleting the active theme on your WordPress site as WordPress sites should have only one active theme.
Instead, we are discussing a WordPress theme installed on your site but not activated. You can keep a disabled theme for as long as you like.
However, these themes only reside on the server with few exceptions, resulting in security and storage issues. Let me explain.
1. Memory issues
A theme is just a bunch of files, so a new theme is a bunch of unused files taking up space on your hosting server. Keeping an outdated library of themes may exceed your allotted storage space and result in additional charges or service disruptions.
More files mean more processing when backing up, moving between hosts, or crawling your site for SEO and security reasons. Not to mention the visual clutter of the dashboard. How about keeping it tidy?
Disabling the theme may fix these issues. However, these theme files still exist on the server. When you remove a theme from your WordPress installation, it is permanently removed from our servers.
Also Read: Best Hosting Services for WordPress Website
2. Safety concerns
WordPress themes are common WordPress security vulnerabilities. Hackers often use compromised theme code to inject malware, backdoors, and other nasty stuff into your WordPress site. Fewer theme files on your website mean fewer attack entry points, so removing unused files is a good idea.
Failure to update obsolete themes exacerbates this security problem. Updating themes may seem pointless if you’re not using them, but it’s easier for hackers to access older themes because vulnerabilities are openly filed.
Instead of choosing between updating the list of unused themes and risking a security breach, you can delete them.
3. Improved performance
Because of the theme update issue, your website performance can drop. After deactivating the unsued theme, you will surely get a standard website performance.
How to Delete a Theme in WordPress?
As with many features in WordPress, there are several ways to remove a theme you no longer need, the easiest of which is to remove it from the admin panel. However, you can also delete theme files via your hosting panel or via FTP.
We’ll explain all of these methods below, but it’s a good idea to create a backup of your WordPress site first. Deleting a theme is simple, but there is always the potential for problems. If so, you need a backup to return to your old site. Once you have a safe backup, you can delete some themes. Let’s start with the simplest dashboard.
Method 1: Delete a WordPress theme in the WordPress dashboard
The first way we are going to see is how to delete a WordPress theme from the WordPress dashboard.
1. Go into your WordPress dashboard as an administrator.
2. Now go to Appearance > Themes. You will see all the themes installed on your website.
3. Get your mouse over the theme you want to delete and click the Theme Details button. You cannot delete your active theme. You need first to activate another theme.
In the pop-up window, click the Delete button.
4. You’ll see a warning asking if you want to delete the theme. Click OK.
You will see that your theme is deleted from the site.
However, you may encounter the error message: “Deletion failed the theme requested does not exist”.
This error is most likely caused by WordPress not being able to remove all content from your theme files. The solution is to delete the theme files using the FTP method or hosting panel method, as shown below.
Method 2: Delete a WordPress theme from your hosting panel
From your hosting panel, you can delete your theme files as well.
1. Log in to your hosting account.
2. Locate the File Manager option in the hosting panel toolbar.
3. Find and open the wp-content folder; after that, open the themes folder.
4. Inside the theme folder, find the theme folder you want to delete. Make sure this theme is not currently active on your site.
5. Right-click on the theme folder you want to delete and then select the Delete option.
Method 3: Delete a WordPress theme via FTP
If you don’t have WordPress admin rights, you can also delete the theme by accessing the server files using FTP (file transfer protocol). FTP is a way to modify files on a remote machine (in this case, the server hosting your WordPress site).
1. Connect to your web hosting server using the FTP client of your choice.
2. Locate the wp-content folder, then open the themes folder.
3. In the theme folder, find the theme folder you want to delete. Make sure this theme is not currently active on your site.
4. Click on the theme folder you want to delete, then hit Delete.
5. FTP clients can warn you about file deletion. Check if yes. This will remove the selected theme from your WordPress installation
What to Do If You Accidentally Delete a WordPress Theme?
If you accidentally delete a WordPress theme, there are several ways to restore it.
First, you can restore the theme from a backup. Many WordPress backup plugins make restoring your site to an earlier state easier.
However, if you have not made a backup, you can restore the theme by downloading and installing a new copy of the same theme. The downside to the second approach is that all customizations to the theme need to be recovered.
Hopefully, this article will help you find the easiest way to delete a WordPress theme.