How to Delete a WordPress Theme Completely

In WordPress by Fathi Arfaoui5 Comments

Finding a great WordPress theme for your blog or website is not an easy job to do. Sometimes, you need to browse hundreds of sites to pick the one that you need. But, in other cases, you find yourself with a broken website or similar problems, and you can’t find exactly how to delete a WordPress theme completely. The problem happens, especially for newbies who create a website for the first time.

Today, I’ll show you in step by step tutorial, how to delete any theme in your WordPress website. Before starting, let’s take a look at the common issues with themes.

Themes are small files and in most cases, they come in ZIP format, and that’s what you should have to be able to upload it directly from your dashboard. What happens is that newbies upload a broken theme or even a different one and as a result, they want to immediately remove that theme and upload the correct one they need. The process is simple.

Delete your deactivated theme from the dashboard

You have two options to delete any theme in WordPress even if it’s completely broken. The first one is your dashboard, and the second is an FTP or cPanel. Let’s start with the easiest one

To delete a theme from your WordPress, and especially, WordPress 3.8 and newer versions, you can only delete a deactivated theme that not working actually. So, if you want to delete a theme that you’re using, you should activate another one first. Thus, your actual theme will be disabled, and now you can find the delete link.

To begin, click “Appearance“, in your dashboard and then click “Themes”  as the screenshot below:

How to delete a WordPress theme completely

Now, you get your installed themes, both active and non-active, and what you have to do is select the one you want to delete. It should be deactivated (if you want to delete the actual theme, disable it first and activate any other one). When clicking the theme you will see a pop-up window as below:

Deleting a WordPress theme

As you can see, it’s all about that hidden link in red, that let you delete the theme. To be honest, it’s a mistake of the WordPress team, even if the link is there. Newbies will never find it, simply because their eyes will be focused on the two buttons in the center “Activate” and “Live Preview”.

The delete link is placed in the bottom corner where not all people can see it for the first time. So, click that link and your theme will be removed completely, from your WordPress website.

How to delete a broken theme

The above method which is the easiest, let you remove only a functional theme. But, when it comes to themes with errors, they will be broken and the dashboard will never show you the link where you can delete that theme.

The solution is to access your blog “themes” files and delete the one you want. To do that, you need to be able to login into your cPanel account (web hosting account), or, have an FTP access and I always recommend using Filezilla for that.

The cPanel method is the easiest way, so, log into your account and find the “File Manager” icon as below:

File Manager

 You will see all your WordPress folders and files, just find the folder “wp-content” as below:

WordPress content folder

 Open it by clicking the blue icon twice (I suppose that you are a newbie) and you get the files. What you need now, is the “Themes” sub-folder, find it and open it:

WordPress themes directory

 The final step, you will see all your themes in that folder, just select the one you want to remove and click “Delete” icon:

Delete a theme from cPanel

The theme will be deleted and you will solve the problem. If you can’t access your cPanel account, then, the only way is an FTP. All you have to do is your FTP login details and read How to upload to WordPress using Filezilla. That post will show you step by step how to use Filezilla FTP client and edit the WordPress folders.

I hope that this tutorial helped. If you have a problem and you can’t delete a theme for any reason, please share your issue in your comment and I will help as I can.

Fathi Arfaoui: A Physicist, Blogger, and the founder and owner of Trustiko.com. He shares Business, Blogging, WordPress, Web Safety, and Blogging tips to build better websites and blogs. Also, he shares online marketing strategies and recommendations.

Comments

  1. Good explanation. However, what if you have a problem where some of the code from an old theme is altering the look and feel of the new theme. How can you completely remove whatever it is that’s left behind?

    1. Author

      You just need to clear the server cache, like the case for the WP Total cache plugin, and if you have a trash folder in server, you can also purge it.

  2. Thanks a lot. Your tutorial has solved this problem of deleting themes for me.

    I used your first option and deleted the themes from my dashboard and it was so very easy; just as if you held me by the hand and showed me what to do.

    Thanks again.

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