How to Delete a WordPress Theme Completely

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 a 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 the newest 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 deletion 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 lets you delete the theme. To be honest, it’s a mistake from 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 deletion 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, lets 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 ones you want. To do that, you need to be able to login to your cPanel account (web hosting account), or, have FTP access and I always recommend using Filezilla for that.

The cPanel method is the easiest way, so, login to 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 files. What you need now, is the “Themes” sub-folder, find it and open it:

WordPress themes directory

 In the final step, you will see all your themes in that folder, just select the one you want to remove and click the “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.

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About Fathi Arfaoui

Fathi Arfaoui is a Physicist, Blogger and the founder of He shares Business, WordPress and Blogging tips to build a better blog and succeed online.

Disclosure: The recommendations on this page are my own based on my tests and analysis. We may earn a small commission from web hosts and other partners if you use my referral link to make a purchase. That’s what helps us to maintain the site and add fresh content, Thanks for your support.

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