How to Delete a Theme in WordPress – Complete Guide

Delete wordpress themes

10 Reasons Why You Should Delete a WordPress Theme

How to Delete a WordPress Theme in 6 Easy Steps

Deleting Themes via FTP (File Transfer Protocol)

8 Precautions Before Deleting a Theme


Learning how to delete a theme in WordPress not only helps declutter your theme library but also improves the overall performance and security of your site.

This article provides a step-by-step guide on how to delete a theme in WordPress, ensuring you have a streamlined and optimized website.

10 Reasons Why You Should Delete a WordPress Theme

Unused wordpress themes

1.Improve Website Performance

Having unused themes on your WordPress website can impact its performance.

Deleting unnecessary themes can free up server resources, reduce database clutter, and improve loading times.

2.Enhanced Security

Wordpress theme and inactive theme

Outdated or unused themes can pose a security risk to your website.

Hackers often target vulnerabilities in older themes.

By removing unused themes, you reduce the potential entry points for malicious attacks.

3.Streamline Theme Management

Old wordpress themes

Deleting unused themes simplifies your theme management process.

It eliminates confusion when selecting and updating themes, making it easier to focus on the active themes that are crucial to your website’s design and functionality.

4.Optimize Storage Space

Deleting unused wordpress themes

Themes can occupy valuable disk space on your server.

By deleting unused themes, you can free up storage, especially if you have limited hosting resources or a strict storage limit.

5.Ensure Compatibility

Theme installed on wordpress site

WordPress frequently releases updates, and themes need to be regularly updated to maintain compatibility.

Deleting unused themes ensures that you don’t have outdated or incompatible themes lying around, minimizing potential conflicts with your current theme and plugins.

6.Reduce Clutter and Improve Organization

inactive themes on wordpress site

Removing unused themes from your theme library helps declutter the WordPress dashboard, making it easier to navigate and find the themes you actually use.

A well-organized theme library enhances your overall website management experience.

7.Focus on Quality and Support

wordpress theme

By deleting unused themes, you can prioritize quality and support for the active themes you have chosen.

You can allocate more resources and attention to maintaining and customizing your preferred themes, enhancing the overall user experience.

8.Promote Site Speed and User Experience

wordpress theme

Deleting unused themes can positively impact your website’s speed and user experience.

With fewer themes to load, your website will respond faster, leading to improved user satisfaction and potentially higher conversion rates.

9.Avoid Conflicts and Errors

wordpress theme

Outdated or incompatible themes can lead to conflicts with WordPress core updates or other plugins, causing errors or unexpected behavior.

Deleting unused themes minimizes the chances of such conflicts, ensuring a more stable and reliable website.

10.Ease of Theme Updates

By keeping only the necessary themes, you can streamline the update process.

You won’t have to spend time updating unused themes, reducing the risk of errors during the update process.

Remember, before deleting any theme, it’s crucial to have a backup of your website.

This ensures that you can revert to a previous version if needed or recover accidentally deleted themes.

How to Delete a WordPress Theme in 6 Easy Steps

wordpress theme

1.Assess the Theme in the WordPress Dashboard

Before deleting a theme, it’s essential to assess whether it is currently active or not. Active themes cannot be deleted directly.

To check the active theme, navigate to the “Appearance” section in the WordPress dashboard and click on “Themes.”

The active theme will be indicated by a thumbnail and the “Active” label.

2.Switch to a Different WordPress Theme

If the theme you wish to delete is currently active, you need to switch to a different theme first.

It’s recommended to choose a theme that you intend to use instead.

Switching to a different theme can be done by clicking on the “Activate” button for the desired theme in the “Themes” section of the WordPress dashboard.

3.Deactivate the WordPress Theme

Once you have switched to a different theme, you can proceed to deactivate the theme you want to delete.

To deactivate a theme, go to the “Themes” section in the WordPress dashboard and hover over the thumbnail of the theme you wish to deactivate.

Click on the “Theme Details” button that appears, and then click on the “Deactivate” button.

4.Delete the WordPress Theme

With the theme deactivated, you can now delete it from your WordPress installation.

Follow these steps to delete a theme:

  1. In the “Themes” section of the WordPress dashboard, hover over the thumbnail of the deactivated theme.
  2. Click on the “Theme Details” button that appears.
  1. In the bottom-right corner of the theme details page, you will find the “Delete” button. Click on it.
  2. A confirmation prompt will appear, asking if you are sure you want to delete the theme. Click on “OK” to proceed.

5.Confirm Deletion

WordPress will now delete the theme files from your server.

Once the deletion process is complete, you will receive a success message.

It’s essential to note that deleting a theme is permanent, and you won’t be able to recover it unless you have a backup.

6.Clean Up the Database (optional)

Although deleting the theme removes its files from your server, some data may still remain in your WordPress database.

If you want to completely remove all traces of the theme, you can use a plugin like “Advanced Database Cleaner” or “WP-Optimize” to clean up your database.

Deleting Themes via FTP (File Transfer Protocol)

WordPress Theme

In addition to deleting themes directly from the WordPress dashboard, you can also delete themes using FTP (File Transfer Protocol) if you have access to your website’s server.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on deleting themes via FTP:

  1. Connect to Your Server

Use an FTP client like FileZilla or Cyberduck to connect to your website’s server.

Enter your FTP credentials, including the hostname, username, password, and port (usually port 21).

  1. Locate the Theme Directory

Once connected to your server, navigate to the directory where your WordPress installation is located.

This is typically the “public_html” or “www” folder.

If your WordPress installation is in a subdirectory, navigate to that specific folder.

  1. Access the Themes Folder

Within the WordPress installation directory, locate the “wp-content” folder.

Open it and then navigate to the “themes” folder.

This is where all your installed themes are stored.

  1. Identify the WordPress Theme to Delete

Inside the “themes” folder, you will see a list of folders, each representing an installed theme.

Identify the folder name of the theme you wish to delete.

Make sure to double-check and confirm that you have selected the correct theme folder.

  1. Delete the Theme Folder

Right-click on the theme folder and select the “Delete” or “Remove” option from the FTP client’s context menu.

You may be prompted to confirm the deletion. Confirm the action, and the theme folder will be deleted from your server.

  1. Verify Deletion

To confirm that the theme has been deleted successfully, you can navigate to the “Themes” section in the WordPress dashboard.

The deleted theme should no longer appear in the list of installed themes.

Important Notes:

  • Exercise caution when deleting themes via FTP, as any mistake can have serious consequences. Make sure you are deleting the correct theme folder.
  • Always create a backup of your website before making any changes via FTP. This ensures that you can restore your site if any issues arise.
  • Deleting a theme via FTP removes it entirely from your server. Unlike deleting through the WordPress dashboard, there is no option to recover the theme once it is deleted.
  • Be careful not to delete any essential WordPress files or folders unrelated to the theme you want to remove. Deleting core files can cause your website to become inaccessible or malfunction.

Deleting themes via FTP can be a helpful method, especially if you encounter issues deleting a theme through the WordPress dashboard.

However, exercise caution and ensure you have a backup before proceeding.

8 Precautions Before Deleting a Theme

1.Backup Your Website

Before deleting any theme, it is crucial to create a backup of your entire website, including all its files and the database.

This ensures that you have a restore point in case anything goes wrong during the theme deletion process.

2.Note Customizations

Wordpress site

If you have made any customizations to the theme files, such as modifying the CSS or adding custom code, make sure to note down those changes.

Deleting the theme will remove all associated files and customizations.

So you’ll need to reapply them if you switch back to the same theme or a similar one in the future.

3.Check for Child Themes

If you are using a child theme that inherits from the theme you want to delete, ensure that you understand the implications.

Deleting the parent theme without a suitable alternative or without switching the child theme to a different parent theme can break the website’s design and functionality.

Consider switching to a standalone theme or creating a new child theme before deleting the parent theme.

4.Verify Compatibility

Before deleting a theme, ensure that the new or active theme you plan to use is compatible with your current WordPress version and other plugins.

Verify that the new theme supports the same features and functionality required for your website.

This ensures a smooth transition without any functionality gaps or conflicts.

5.Test the New Theme

If you are switching to a different theme, it’s a good practice to set up a staging environment or use a maintenance mode plugin to test the new theme’s appearance and functionality.

This allows you to ensure that the new theme meets your expectations and doesn’t cause any issues before deleting the old theme.

6.Take Screenshots or Document Settings

If you have customized the theme settings in the WordPress Customizer or theme options panel, consider taking screenshots or documenting those settings.

This helps in recreating the desired configuration on the new theme or when troubleshooting any discrepancies after switching themes.

7.Inform Stakeholders

If you are managing a website for a client or have other stakeholders involved, it is essential to inform them about the planned theme deletion.

Discuss the reasons behind the decision and any potential impacts or changes they might notice on the website.

8.Test Responsiveness and Cross-Browser Compatibility

Ensure that the new theme you are switching to is responsive and compatible with different web browsers.

Test the website’s appearance and functionality on various devices and browsers to make sure the user experience remains consistent.

Taking these precautions before deleting a theme can minimize the risks and potential disruptions to your website.

In short, ensuring a smooth transition to a new theme or a streamlined theme management process.


Regularly deleting unused themes from your WordPress website is a good practice for keeping your site organized, secure, and optimized.

Remember to take necessary precautions before deleting a theme.

Like creating a backup of your website, noting any customizations, and verifying compatibility with other plugins and WordPress updates.

These precautions help safeguard your website and ensure a smooth transition.

In conclusion, by following the guidelines provided in this article, you can confidently delete themes in WordPress and maintain a well-optimized and secure website.

Remember to always have a backup and proceed with caution when making any changes to your website’s themes.

If you liked this article, consider reading another about WordPress Clear Cache here.


Can you delete an active theme on WordPress?

In short, you cannot delete an active theme directly from the WordPress dashboard.
You need to first switch to a different theme and then deactivate the theme you wish to delete.

How can I switch to a different WordPress themes?

To switch to a different theme, go to the “Appearance” section in the WordPress dashboard, click on “Themes,” and select the theme you want to activate.
This will automatically deactivate the currently active theme.

Is it possible to recover WordPress themes?

No, once you delete a theme in WordPress, it is permanently removed from your installation.
It is advisable to have a backup of your website before deleting any themes or important files.

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