How To Disable WordPress Plugins (No Access to WP-Admin)

Updated on January 26, 2018

disable wordpress plugins

Struggling with how to disable WordPress plugins? If you still have access to your WordPress dashboard, the process is simple – you just click a button. But if you’re unable to access your WordPress dashboard, you’ll need to disable plugins in a different way.

No matter what situation you find yourself in, we’ll show you a method that will allow you to quickly disable one or more WordPress plugins. You can click one of the links below to jump straight to a specific method.

How To Disable WordPress Plugins From wp-admin Dashboard

If you can still access your wp-admin dashboard area, here’s how to disable plugins either individually or in bulk.

How To Disable A Single Plugin From WordPress Dashboard

To get started, click on Plugins in your dashboard sidebar. Then, click the Deactivate link below the name of the plugin you want to disable:

How to disable WordPress plugins from your WordPress dashboard

How to disable a single plugin from your WordPress dashboard

That’s it! The plugin is now disabled. If desired, you can completely delete the plugin from your WordPress site by similarly clicking the Delete button. And you can always see a full list of disabled plugins by clicking on the Inactive tab:

How to delete a WordPress plugin after disabling it

How to delete a WordPress plugin after disabling it

How To Bulk Disable Plugins From WordPress Dashboard

If you want to disable multiple plugins at the same time, you can use the checkboxes next to each plugin to select multiple plugins. Once you’ve chosen all of the plugins you want to disable, select Deactivate from the drop-down and click Apply:

How to bulk disable WordPress plugins from dashboard

How to bulk disable WordPress plugins from dashboard

After you click Apply, all of the plugins that you selected will be disabled.

How To Disable WordPress Plugins Via FTP

If you’re experiencing an issue on your site which prevents you from accessing your WordPress dashboard, a common diagnostic step is to disable all the plugins on your site. But because you can’t access your dashboard to disable them, you’ll need to manually connect to your site via FTP and disable the plugins that way.

Here’s how:

Step 1: Connect To Your Site Via FTP

To connect to your site via FTP, you’ll need:

If you’re hosting at Kinsta, here’s a more detailed guide on how to connect to your site via FTP. Once you successfully connect to your site via FTP, you should see something that looks roughly like this:

What your FTP program should look like

What your FTP program should look like

Step 2: Navigate To wp-content Folder

In your FTP program, navigate to the wp-content folder:

Where to find the wp-content folder

Where to find the wp-content folder

Step 3: Rename plugins Folder to plugins_old

In the wp-content folder, you should see a folder called plugins. Right-click on this folder and rename it to plugins_old:

How to rename plugins folder

How to rename plugins folder

When you’re finished, it should look like this:

What you should see after renaming plugins folder

What you should see after renaming plugins folder

At this point, all of your plugins are disabled. You should now be able to successfully access your WordPress dashboard.

Step 4: Rename plugins_old Folder to plugins

After you’ve successfully accessed your WordPress dashboard (it’s essential that you access your WordPress dashboard before completing this step), you can perform the same process to rename the plugins_old folder back to the original plugins name:

What you should see after renaming plugins_old folder

What you should see after renaming plugins_old folder

Once you change the name back to plugins, you can go to the Plugins section in your WordPress dashboard to manually reactivate plugins if needed.

How To Deactivate A Single WordPress Plugin Via FTP

If you know that you only need to disable a single plugin to fix the issue, you can perform a similar process but with one tweak. Rather than renaming the entire plugins folder, do this instead:

  • Browse into the plugins folder
  • Find the folder for the plugin you want to deactivate
  • Right-click on the folder and rename it to something like plugin-name_old
How to disable a single plugin via FTP

How to disable a single plugin via FTP

By doing it this way, only that individual plugin will be disabled – none of your other plugins will be affected.

How To Disable WordPress Plugins Via phpMyAdmin

In most cases, the FTP method is the easiest way to disable WordPress plugins if you’re locked out of your dashboard. But if needed, you can also disable WordPress plugins via phpMyAdmin.

If your host doesn’t offer automatic backups like Kinsta does, we highly recommend that you take a backup before making any changes because you’ll be directly editing your site’s database. Here’s how to back up your database using phpMyAdmin.

Step 1: Open phpMyAdmin

If you’re hosting at Kinsta, you can open phpMyAdmin from your Sites tab. Here’s a more detailed guide on how to access phpMyAdmin at Kinsta:

How to access phpMyAdmin at Kinsta

How to access phpMyAdmin at Kinsta

If you’re hosting elsewhere, you should be able to access phpMyAdmin directly from your cPanel dashboard.

Step 2: Select WordPress Database

Once you open phpMyAdmin, select your WordPress site’s database from the options on the left sidebar:

How to open your WordPress site's database

How to open your WordPress site’s database

Step 3: Open options Table

Next, click to open the options table. It’s usually named wp_options, but some installs use a different prefix. As long as it’s something_options, you’ve found the right table:

Where to find the options table

Where to find the options table

Step 4: Edit active_plugins Value

Inside the options table, look for the active_plugins entry in the option_name column. You might need to go to the second page to find this entry. Once you find it, click the Edit button for that row:

Where to find the active_plugins entry

Where to find the active_plugins entry

Once the edit interface opens, enter a:0:{} in the option_value box and click Go:

How to edit the active_plugins entry

How to edit the active_plugins entry

And that’s it! All of the plugins on your site will now be disabled. If needed, you can go to the Plugins area in your WordPress dashboard and manually reactivate plugins.

How To Disable WordPress Plugins Via WP-CLI

The fourth and final way to disable a plugin in WordPress is via WP-CLI, which is a command line tool for managing WordPress. You can check out our more in-depth guide on using WP-CLI to get it installed. Once you launch WP-CLI you can run the following commands to disable a plugin. First though, you will need to know the name.

The name of the plugin you use for WP-CLI is simply the folder name on the repository or Git. So in this example, it is “wordpress-seo.”

wpcli install plugin name

WP-CLI install plugin name

Or you can run the following command to get a list of your current plugins:

wp plugin list
WP-CLI plugin list

WP-CLI plugin list

To deactivate a single plugin you can run the following command.

wp plugin deactivate wordpress-seo
WP-CLI deactivate plugin

WP-CLI deactivate plugin

To deactivate all your plugins at once run the following command.

wp plugin deactivate --all
WP-CLI deactivate all plugins

WP-CLI deactivate all plugins

And that is it! As you can see WP-CLI is pretty fast and once you get used to it, can be a great way to manage your WordPress installations, plugins, and installs. Make sure to also check out the official WP-CLI documentation for additional commands and examples.

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