How to delete WordPress themes properly for beginners

How to delete WordPress themes properly - It is a popular way to exchange themes in your WordPress dashboard. Sometimes you are completing a major overhaul on the website and other developers are checking the topics periodically. However, simply installing another theme to replace the current theme is not the best way. You should really delete the previous thread completely. In this article, we will talk about how to delete WordPress themes to improve both speed and security on your website.

This is true, because leaving the old topic in the website file will lead to a security hole. Theme files are also taking up space on the server, causing potential problems.

Here, we will explore the best option on how to delete WordPress themes, along with tips for situations when you should not delete topics.

Why you should completely delete unused WordPress themes

The reasons for removing WordPress themes vary, but the most common are:

  • You have found that the default theme installed with WordPress is not useful, so you want to delete it.

  • You have tried the WordPress theme, but in the end that is not what you wanted.

  • The brand you own wants to get rid of the old theme to support newer topics.

Benefits of removing unused WordPress themes

If you think that inactive topics do not cause any harm, you may be right. But there may be minor inconveniences that can be easily edited by deleting the topic.

Here are the reasons to abandon that topic:

  • Better database performance - All data from inactive threads is still stored in the database. It probably won't ruin the database performance you have, but the clunkier thread will hurt.

  • Add server capacity - The hosting account carries weight from all files stored on the server. So, deleting the thread will clean up space and improve performance.

  • Improve performance - The main performance problem you'll encounter with the inactive topic is on the dashboard. This is due to topic updates. Automatic update queries send to all active and inactive topics, so between 5 and 20 inactive topics will work.

  • Theme updates - You free yourself time when learning how to delete WordPress themes. Why? Because you do not have to update new information.

  • Overall website security - If the inactive WordPress theme is not up to date, you are leaving the site to hackers.

When you should not delete WordPress themes

There are several cases when deleting a WordPress theme is not recommended.

In some cases you should not delete the topic including when

  • Topic mentioned is the main topic connected with the installed sub-topic.

  • You want to save that topic for testing later.

  • You run a multi-page WordPress network and that particular topic is still working elsewhere on the network.

Other than these situations, removing the topic is always a better idea.

Difference between disabling and deleting WordPress themes

You would think that deactivating and deleting a topic means the same thing, right?

But in fact, it is not so. And it can cause confusion and disadvantages when many people don't know the difference.

So, what's the difference between shutting down WordPress themes and deleting themes?

Disable WordPress theme

Themes are disabled, whenever you decide to enable another theme on the WordPress website. There is no need to deactivate the previous topic. It is all done by replacing it with another theme.

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The reason for this is because you only have one thread running on the account you own at all times.

Therefore, the website file from that deactivated topic stays on the server. This also includes settings, widgets and menus created for that theme.

This is done only in case you plan to reactivate that topic at some point. WordPress wants to make sure you don't lose any old theme settings or files.

Delete the WordPress theme

Completely removing the WordPress theme means that all files, settings, menus and extensions are removed from the WordPress website.

Therefore, you do not have to worry about the files causing performance or security issues.

How to delete WordPress themes properly

When you decide that a topic is not useful to you, it is not the main topic and it is not on a multi-page network, it's time to delete it completely.

See more: Build a professional responsive website

Before you delete the WordPress theme

Follow these steps to make sure you didn't cause any damage to the website during the removal process:

  • Website backup - Sometimes things go wrong when deleting components from a website.

  • Check for deletion on a staging website - Make a copy of WordPress website to the staging website. Then delete the topic from the staging page to see if anything goes wrong. You don't need to do this, but it will give you confidence that deleting a topic won't break anything.

  • End check - Run a final check to see if the topic is connected to any subsite or multi-site network.

And finally, here's how to delete WordPress themes:

  1. Find topics in the control panel

Navigate to the WordPress dashboard. Go to Interface> Themes

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Scroll through the entire topic you have on the WordPress website, both active and inactive.

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  1. Select a topic to delete

Locate the topic you want to delete. Remember you can always come back and delete the others.

  1. Delete topic

Click on the topic to see all topic details, such as preview, description and options to preview, activate and delete.

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Find the Delete button on the right. Click on it to exit the topic.

  1. Delete the content attached to that topic

Although the topic has disappeared, you still have a few things to consider.

Some content related to the topic is still on the server and it takes up a lot of space. This content includes:

  • Picture

  • Menu

  • Fake content like posts from the developer

  • Widgets

All are likely not working, but here's how you delete them completely:


Go to Media Library and manually delete all images you use for that topic only.

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All themes have different menu positions. Therefore, you may have to relocate the menus placed or delete them if not used.

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This is done by going to Appearance> Menu.

Fake content

If the previous topic has fake content such as posts, pages, or even custom post types, you must go through all the manual steps to remove them if you want. You can also use them for new threads.

See more: Create Website


If the widget is only used for that topic, it will be placed in the inactive Widget section.


Go to Interface> Extensions, then click the Delete inactive Gadget button.


Learning how to properly remove WordPress themes is essential to clearing space on the server and keeping your website secure.

So once you've deleted inactive topics, it's time to upgrade your knowledge of those topics further. To get there, check out our guide to WordPress security and how to speed up WordPress.

Do you have any questions about how to completely delete WordPress themes? If yes, leave in the comment section below and we will try to answer.