How to Uninstall and Delete WordPress Theme

Are you looking for a way to delete a WordPress theme? If yes, then you landed in the right place.

If you have just switched your WordPress theme, you may want to remove the old one. Additionally, your website may already have a few additional WordPress themes that you may wish to remove.

So, In this article, we will show you how to delete a WordPress theme without damaging your website.

Why Might You Want to Delete a WordPress Theme?

There are different reasons why you might want to remove a WordPress theme.

Here are just a few:

Just Testing the Theme

If you are only testing a theme and don’t want to use it on your real website, you should delete it. This is common, as most WordPress users try out many themes before choosing one.

Cleaning Your Site

It’s usually a good idea to clean up your site from time to time. Removing old unused themes is a great way to clean up your site and keep your database clean.

Installed New Theme

It’s a good idea to uninstall old themes that will go unused if you install a new theme.

The Theme is Causing the Problem

Unfortunately, themes frequently cause problems on websites, whether directly or through a conflict with a plugin or another site element. It’s also usual for a theme to change any custom changes you’ve made, such as CSS code.

If the theme is causing problems, it should be removed immediately!

Why It’s Good to Delete Unused WordPress Themes

If you think that an inactive theme isn’t causing any harm, you may be correct. However, small issues may occur, which are easily solved by uninstalling the theme.

The following are a few reasons why you should delete unused themes and plugins:

Security Issues

First and foremost, outdated themes may pose a security issue. To keep the theme up to date with the latest technology, the developer frequently performs version updates that contain bug fixes and crucial security patches.

If you have a theme that hasn’t been updated in months or years, it won’t have been updated with fixes.

This may expose them to exploits, something no one wants!

If you have outdated themes on your website, you should strongly consider removing them.

Check out: Ultimate WordPress Security Guide.

Storage Issues

Themes are one of the most important parts of a WordPress website. After all, a theme controls much of what the site looks like and how it performs, which involves many files and assets.

If you’re running out of storage space on your hosting account, deleting old WordPress themes can help.

Since disc space is limited on many web hosting plans, deleting old themes is an effective method to recover some of that space.

Database Performance

Extra themes might eat more space in your database. The larger the database, the more work it needs to do while serving pages. As a result, you may wish to delete outdated ones to free up space and keep your database lean.

Website Performance

The size of your website also impacts how fast it loads. As a result, by deleting outdated themes and any dependencies they may have, your website might potentially load faster as well!

Check out: How to Speed up a WordPress Site.

Theme Updates

If you have unused themes on your site, you may get theme updates whenever new updates are available. So, to skip updates for an inactive theme on your site, you may delete it.

Check out: How to Disable Automatic Updates in WordPress.

Difference Between Delete, Deactivate, and Uninstall a Theme

There are a few slight differences:

  • Delete a Theme: It means removing it from your site via the WordPress dashboard.
  • Deactivate a Theme: It means inactive a current theme and active another one.
  • Uninstall a Theme: It takes one step further to delete. Many themes include extra plugins, demo content, and other options installed when you install the theme. These other plugins will stay even if you only delete a theme. Uninstalling a theme removes both the theme and any addons that were added when you first installed it.

When You Should Not Delete a WordPress Theme

There are some instances when you should not delete a WordPress theme. These includes:

  • Check that you are not using a child theme. If you use a child theme and later delete the parent theme, the child will no longer function.
  • Your site is part of a Multisite network, and the theme is active on another site.
  • You’d want to keep that theme for future testing.

Uninstall and Delete WordPress Theme Completely

Like with other things in WordPress, there are different ways to get rid of a theme you no longer need to be installed, the simplest being from your administrator dashboard. However, you may also delete your theme files using your hosting panel or via FTP.

We’ll go through each of these methods in more detail below, but first, make a backup of your WordPress site. Even though deleting a theme is a simple process, there is always the possibility of anything going wrong. If so, you’ll need a backup to restore your old site.

Check out: Best WordPress Backup Plugins.

With a backup safely stored, you’re ready to delete any themes. Let’s start with the easiest method, from the dashboard.

1. Delete a Theme Using the WordPress Dashboard

This is the easiest and most recommended method for deleting a WordPress theme.

To start, go to the Appearance » Themes page and choose the theme you want to delete.

Installed WordPress Themes

WordPress will now show theme details in a popup window. You can click the Delete button in the bottom right corner of the popup screen.

Delete WordPress Theme via Admin Dashboard

You’ll next be asked to confirm that you really want to delete the theme. Simply click the OK button to continue, and WordPress will delete your chosen theme.

2. Delete a WordPress Theme via FTP

This method is more advanced, but it comes in useful if you are unable to access the WordPress admin area.

Simply choose an FTP client to connect to your WordPress site and go to the /wp-content/themes/ folder.

Deleting a Theme via FTP

From here, go to the theme folder you want to delete. Right-click on the folder name and select Delete.

Your FTP client will immediately delete your selected theme.

3. Delete a WordPress Theme Using File Manager

If you are uncomfortable using an FTP client, you may use the File Manager app in your web hosting control panel.

Log in to your hosting account dashboard and click on the File Manager icon from the Advanced tab.

File Manager

This will show the file manager, where you may view the contents of your web server just like you would with an FTP client. You should go to the /public_html/wp-content/themes/ folder.

Delete a WordPress Theme Using File Manager

After that, just right-click and delete the theme you want to delete.

4. Delete a Theme via WP-CLI

This method needs some technical knowledge. If you’ve never used WP-CLI before, this is probably not the best option for you since if you make a mistake, you might remove the wrong files.

Use WP-CLI to access your site from the command line to get started.

To see a list of all of your installed themes, type the following:

$ wp theme list

WP-CLI will then show you a list of all your installed themes. If you want additional useful information, you may request a list of inactive themes:

$ wp theme list --status=inactive

Following that, you will see a list of all the inactive themes so you can figure out which are safe to delete.

To delete the theme, type:

$ wp theme delete twentytwentythree

Note that the final parameter is the name of the theme folder, not the name of the theme as it appears on the admin screens.

Once deleted, you will see a success message.

Deleting Theme-related Content

After deleting the theme, you may notice that you still have content on your site that is specific to the theme you deleted.

This may include:

  • Images
  • Menus
  • Dummy content
  • Widgets

To clean up your site and improve its performance, you should either delete this content or reassign it so that it fits with your new theme.


Go to the Media Library and delete all images you used for that theme.

Delete Media Library Image


Each theme has a different menu location. As a result, you may need to relocate the location of menus or delete them if they are no longer in use.

Menu Location

To do so, go to Appearance » Menus.

Dummy content

If the old theme has dummy content like posts, pages, or custom post types, you must manually delete them if you want to. You might also leave them for the new theme to use.


If a widget was only used for that theme, it is moved to the Inactive Widgets section.

Inactive Widgets

To delete, go to Appearance » Widgets and then click the Clear Inactive Widgets button.

Wrapping Up

While deleting your WordPress theme is very simple, it can sometimes turn out to be a complex process with unexpected results.

In such instances, it’s good to know that there are several ways to delete a theme from a WordPress site.

We hope this article helped you learn how to uninstall and delete a WordPress theme.

To learn more about WordPress themes, check out these helpful resources:

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