What happens if you install and activate a WordPress plugin and then at some point decide that it just isn’t what you want? Don’t worry, you aren’t stuck forever with a plugin that you don’t want.

There are additional reasons you might want to get rid of unused WordPress plugins:  

– Keeping them updated is work you don’t need to do if you aren’t actually using all of them.

– Those unneeded plugins might be slowing down your website by making the browser jump through extra hoops before it can actually load and display your website.

Find out what plugins actually make a difference for your website and then you get rid of the rest.

1.     Keep the plugins that improve security.

2.     Keep the plugins that improve loading speed.

3.     Keep the plugins that improve user engagement.

4.     Keep the plugins that improve conversion rates.

Virtually any plugin that has noticeable direct or indirect impact on your bottom line is worth keeping.

If you have an extensive backlog of content, you have lots of outdated plugins, or your revenue is dependent on your site being up, backing up your website before you get started is a great idea.

Deactivate and Delete Plugins

The actual removal of the plugins is very straightforward.

– Click the Installed Plugins link on the Plugins menu.

– The Plugins page opens.

– Locate the plugin you want to uninstall.

– Click the Deactivate link below the plugin title.

– The Plugins page refreshes, and the plugin now appears as deactivated (or inactive).

– Click the Delete link that now appears below the plugin title.

– The Delete Plugin page opens, and a confirmation message displays asking you whether you’re sure you want to delete this plugin.

– Click the Yes, Delete These Files button.

– The Plugins page refreshes, and the plugin you just deleted is gone from the lists of plugins, with a message displayed at the top confirming the deletion of the plugin.

Except that there’s still more work to do if you want to clear out all the data associated with the plugins

Whenever you install a WordPress plugin or theme, it stores the data in the database. The problem is that when you delete a plugin using one of the simple methods shown above, it typically leaves behind tables and rows in your database.

Over time, this can add up to a lot of data and even begin to slow down your site.

Why do the developers do this? The first reason is that a lot of WordPress users bounce between plugins frequently, and by leaving the tables and rows behind in your database, this retains your settings. This means that you can reinstall the plugin at a later time and all your data will still be there. Or, if for some reason the plugin gets deleted by accident, you don’t have to panic.

Deleting the remaining unwanted data

You can delete in phpMyAdmin manually.

Caution: Always create a backup of your database using the phpMyAdmin Export function or a database backup plugin before deleting database tables.

To delete these database tables manually, simply check the box next to the tables you want to remove and click the Drop link next to the red button on the same row. Bam!

You’ll soon get them all deleted and free up your time and the speed of your website.

A global team of digerati with offices in Washington, D.C. and Southern California, we provide digital strategy, digital marketing, web design, and creative for brands you know and nonprofits you love.

Stay up to date with our insights by following us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.