How to Delete Theme in WordPress – Best Constructive Ways

how to delete a theme in wordpress

Installing and swapping new themes on WordPress like news themes, video themes is very common, and this can quickly make a website clustered with unwanted themes.

Not only are these themes taking up space but also making the site open to security vulnerabilities. So, for this purpose, you must delete themes in WordPress after installing a new one.

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Well, you must be wondering: what’s the process to delete a theme? Don’t worry, in this article we will be discussing various options for how to delete a theme in WordPress. But before starting the deletion process, there are some things that you have to follow.

Things to Do Before You Delete a Theme

Before deleting the theme, there are some things you have to follow so the process of deleting does not affect your site in any way.


The first step you have to do is create a backup of your website before deleting anything on your site. If you are affiliated with some hosting company, you would have a backup option in your plans. But if you do not have any backup feature in your hosting plan, you can always download and install a backup plugin.

Whatever happens, do not skip this step because you would not want your site data to get deleted or affected in any way during the deletion process.

Staging Sites

If your website has a staging area, you can practice the deleting process there and analyze what you have to do to ensure that the deleting of a theme will not cause any problems to the site. It is because sometimes people delete the parent theme for the active theme rather than the inactive one.

Most hosting companies offer the users a free staging site; you can utilize that area, make a copy of your site, and then use it for testing later.

One Last Check

The last thing you have to make sure of is whether the theme you will delete is connected to any child themes, multisite networks, or not. After doing the necessary things, you can move on to the deletion process.

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Delete WordPress Theme Using Different Ways

You can delete a theme on WordPress in different ways, so let’s go and have a glance at those methods:

Deleting theme through WordPress Dashboard

Deleting it from the WordPress Dashboard might be one of the easiest and simplest ways to delete a theme. First, you have to access the admin dashboard: if you have access, then move on with this process; otherwise, don’t. After getting to the dashboard,

go to Appearance > Themes

How to delete theme in WordPress

there, you would see all the installed themes and the active theme. Now, you have to select the inactive theme and click it to view the details. You will see a delete button in the lower right corner of the screen, which you have to click to delete a theme.

How to delete theme in WordPress

It will then ask about the confirmation; click on the OK button to proceed to the final step. Your theme will be deleted after you have followed these steps.

Deleting Theme Through FTP/ SFTP

In case you do not have any access to the admin dashboard, you can connect the WordPress site using FTP/SFTP client and go to the folder where the themes are located. For this purpose, first, you have to go to the WP-content > themes folder, there you will see all the installed themes.

How to delete theme in WordPress

In this method, you will not know which theme is active or not, but this is the only shot you have if you can not access the admin dashboard due to a broken theme. Now, after entering into the theme folder, you have to select which theme to delete. And once you have chosen a theme, right-click on it, and it will show a shortcut menu.

Now you will see a “Delete” button in the menu, press it, & wait for the confirmation tab.
Select OK or Yes in the confirmation tab, and your theme will be deleted.

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Deleting Theme Through File Manager

If you do not want to use FTP/SFTP, there is another option: “File Manager” to delete the WordPress theme. Its process is just the same as an FTP client. In this method, first, you have to log in to the hosting account dashboard and then visit the
Advanced Tab > File manager

Every hosting company’s dashboard is separate, so look carefully for the file manager option in your settings. After logging in,
you have to go to the public_html > wp-content > themes folder,
how to delete a theme from wordpress
and there you will find the themes you have installed on your site. Now, select the theme you want to delete and right-click on it; a shortcut menu will appear where you will see a delete button,

press it, and wait for the confirmation tab. You will see an OK or Yes option in the confirmation tab, click on it, and your theme will get deleted.

Deleting Theme Through WP-CLI

Deleting the theme through WP-CLI might be the fourth fast way to delete a theme. This process is based on the command line using WP-CLI, so if you have not used WP-CLI, you should not go with this method because there is a high possibility that you could delete some other things in the process.

You can start the process by using the WP-CLI command line “$ wp theme list.” You will be directed towards the installed themes, and if you want to get more information, you can go deeper and request inactive themes by typing “$ wp theme list — status=inactive.”

After this, you will see some of the static themes, and now you have to decide which one to delete. After determining, type the folder name of the theme. For instance, “$ wp theme delete TwentyFifteen.” In the end, you will see a message that will indicate the themes you just have deleted.

If you know how to use a WP-CLI, this may be the fastest way to delete it, but if you do not know about it, choose the other methods we have explained before.

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Deleting The remaining stuff

Even after you have deleted a theme, there might be some content left. Here we will tell you how you can delete the content related to the theme that you do not need.


Widgets work when added to the active theme; otherwise, they can be found in the widget screen’s inactive widgets area. If you want to use the widgets, you can drag them in the new theme, but you can also delete them if you no longer use them.

You have two choices to delete the widgets; the first is you can delete them individually, and the second is you can click on the Clear Inactive Widgets to delete all of them.

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The second thing that will be left out after deleting a theme is the menu because every theme has one location specified for a menu. Sometimes that place is right below the header, and sometimes themes allow different areas like the footer or sidebar of the screen to place the menu.

If you were using the multiple menus in the previous theme and the new one does not have the option, you can use Custom Menu Widget to add any menu on the sidebar or the footer on your widget area screen. You can also delete the menus if you are not using them.

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Every theme has different image settings; for instance, some use the featured images, and others resize the images to match the theme’s layout. You have also uploaded images for visitors’ attention in the slider, which is added to the theme.

Well, after you have deleted your theme, you should clear up these images. There are two ways to clear up the images: the first is you can resize the images to match the new theme layout, and for that purpose, there are tons of plugins out there.

The second way is to delete them (Unused Images) from scratch. You can go to the Media Library in the WordPress admin and select the images you do not want, and delete them. As we know, every website’s speed depends on its image size, compression, etc. so if you don’t want your site to slow down, do not skip this step.

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Dummy Content

Dummy content is mainly used to check whether the theme you have installed is working or not. If you have imported dummy content on your site, you may want to delete or remove it. When you add recent posts and pages to the new theme, you should know that they can be removed from the Posts and pages screen in the WordPress Admin.

But if they are still valid, then you can use them in the new theme. However, if your theme is a custom post type, you may want to delete the post and pages before deleting the theme. In the custom post type, you can not see the properties of the post after you have removed the theme.

Is It Safe to Delete WordPress Themes?

Yes, it is safe to delete a WordPress theme that is not active. Every WP site needs one theme to be functional, this is the theme that WordPress will use to display the site. If you want to check which theme you are using, then go to the Appearance > Themes page on your WordPress dashboard.

The theme you are using will be displayed as Active. When it comes to deleting all the inactive themes, make sure that you keep the default theme because it can help you act as a fallback theme if something happens to your active one.

If your active theme is a child theme, you will have to ensure that you do not delete the parent theme. After you are 100% sure about these things, you have the green signal to delete your site’s inactive themes.

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Benefits of Deleting an Inactive Theme

Here are some of the benefits that you are going to get when you delete an inactive theme.

More Space

Deleting an inactive theme would clear up some space for you and, at the same time, will boost up the speed of your website as well. So, delete the inactive themes because everyone who is visiting your site wants a smooth experience.

Great Performance

When you have more inactive themes, this could cause you trouble in the dashboard area because all of the themes updates are saved there. All the automatic updates are done on the active and inactive themes, so make sure you do not have more than five static themes.


If your site has an inactive theme and it does not get updated, your website will be open for hackers for any attack. So, deleting a site can save you from facing any security vulnerabilities.

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Final Verdict

Deleting some of the inactive themes on your site can be essential for cleaning the server space and also making the website more secure than ever. Well, of course, there are a lot of other factors that can affect your performance other than just removing some themes, but a little can go a long way.

We would advise you to make sure that you do not have to face the possibility of deleting a theme. But even if you are in a situation where you have to delete a theme, make sure that you take some necessary steps like backing up the site before deleting the theme.

We are hopeful that our guide on how to delete a theme in WordPress helped you understand the whole procedure of deleting a theme. If not, please review the article again before starting the process because your one mistake can affect your site.