How to Delete a Theme in WordPress

The world of WordPress is an exciting one. It’s a place where creativity and functionality meet, allowing users to customize and modify their websites with relative ease. But what happens when you fall out of love with a particular WordPress theme? What if you’ve outgrown your existing design or simply want to try something new? Then, it’s time to bid adieu to your old theme. But how exactly do you go about doing this? In this blog post, we’ll show how to delete a theme in WordPress.

Table of Contents

The WordPress Ecosystem

Before we dive into the instructions, let’s take a moment to understand the WordPress ecosystem. WordPress is an open-source content management system (CMS), which means that you have full control over the design and functionality of your site. Themes are integral components of this system, as they define the overall layout and design of your WordPress website.

However, themes are not always eternal. Sometimes, they may not fit the evolving vision you have for your website, or they may become outdated or unsupported by their developers. This is when you need to know how to delete a WordPress theme properly, ensuring your site remains sleek, fast, and up-to-date.

Website Backup

Before you start deleting any theme, always ensure you’ve backed up your website. While deleting a theme is a simple process, you never know when something might go wrong. A backup serves as your safety net, allowing you to restore your website to its previous state if needed. There are numerous plugins like UpdraftPlus, BackupBuddy, and Jetpack Backup that make this process seamless.

Deleting a WordPress Theme

Now, let’s get to the main event: how to delete a WordPress theme. Whether you’re a seasoned WordPress developer or a complete beginner, these steps are designed to guide you through the process smoothly and effectively.

Step 1: Access the WordPress Admin Dashboard

The first thing you need to do is log into your WordPress site. You can do this by typing your website URL followed by ‘/wp-admin’ (for example, This will take you to the login page, where you can enter your credentials and access the WordPress admin dashboard.

Step 2: Navigate to ‘Appearances’ then ‘Themes’

Once you’re logged into your WordPress dashboard, you’ll find a plethora of options on the left side of your screen. From this menu, locate and click on ‘Appearance,’ then click on ‘Themes.’ This will direct you to the Themes page, where you’ll find all the themes currently installed on your WordPress website.

Step 3: Choose the Theme You Want to Delete

In the Themes page, you’ll see your active theme highlighted at the top, with other installed themes listed below. Please note that you cannot delete an active theme, so if the theme you wish to delete is currently active, you’ll need to activate another theme first.

To activate a different theme, simply hover over it and click ‘Activate.’ The previously active theme will now become inactive, and thus, can be deleted.

Step 4: Delete the Theme

Once you’ve identified the theme you want to delete and ensured it’s not active, hover over it. You should see a ‘Theme Details’ button appear. Click on this, and a window providing more information about the theme will pop up. At the bottom-right corner of this window, there’s a ‘Delete’ button – click on it.

A pop-up will appear asking you to confirm the deletion. If you’re sure you want to delete the theme, click ‘OK.’ And just like that, you’ve deleted your WordPress theme.

delete a theme in WordPress

Step 5: Confirm the Deletion

To ensure the theme has been deleted, navigate back to the ‘Themes’ page. If the deletion was successful, the theme you deleted will no longer appear in your list of installed themes. And there you have it, you’ve successfully tidied up your WordPress site.

Additional Considerations

While the process we’ve outlined is relatively simple, there are a few more things to consider when deleting a WordPress theme.

Deleting a Theme via FTP or cPanel

While the WordPress dashboard is the easiest and most common method to delete a theme, you can also delete themes via FTP or cPanel. To do this, you’ll need to locate your website’s files, which are typically in a directory called ‘wp-content/themes’. Each theme you’ve installed on your website has its own folder here, and you can delete a theme by deleting its corresponding folder.

Please be aware, though, that this method is a little more advanced. You should only attempt it if you’re comfortable navigating your website’s file directories.

Don’t Forget About Your Child Theme

If you’re using a child theme, be careful when deleting its parent theme. A child theme is a sub-theme that inherits functionality from its parent theme. If you delete the parent, the child theme will stop working because it relies on the parent theme’s template files.

Regular Theme Maintenance

It’s good practice to regularly review your WordPress themes and remove any that you’re not using. Not only will this keep your website clean and organized, it also enhances your site’s performance and security. Unused or outdated themes can slow down your site and potentially introduce vulnerabilities if they’re not updated regularly.

Wrapping Up

Remember that it’s essential to continuously evolve and adapt your website to fit your needs. Don’t be afraid to let go of old WordPress themes that no longer serve their purpose. Like all good things in life, change is the only constant, and your website is no exception.

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