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Best Practices for "Tidying" the WP "house"

Old Nov 23, 2009, 09:17 AM
Shepherd Jim's Avatar
Shepherd Jim
301 posts · Feb 2009
Bristol, midcoast Maine USA
As I've finished up a lot of my "experimenting" I've been starting to delete plugins and themes that I'm not using.

Question: When I want to delete either a deactivated Plugin or Theme is there any difference between clicking "Delete" on the "Dashboard" and going, via FTP software, into the server's "/Themes" and/or "/Plugins" directories and deleting the unused Plugin and/or Theme folder?

Sidebar: I'm betting that deleting a Plugin's folder when it is NOT de-activated would create some WONDERFUL trouble!

Old Nov 23, 2009, 09:28 AM
lmilesw's Avatar
10,174 posts · Jul 2009
Central New York State USA
I know of no difference although there are some plugins that use the database to store info so that would not get deleted. Some plugins I have used have an uninstall function to delete this database info however. When I have delete the plugin's folder via FTP the only issue I might get is an error message in WP that goes away when I refresh.
~Larry (CNY Web Designs)
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Old Nov 23, 2009, 09:33 AM
29 posts · Dec 2008
Clean Options helps with cleaning up http://www.mittineague.com/dev/co.php - but probably best to let plugin do it if there such a "remove database entries" feature. Must take it easy with that plugin but it does work. Only select what you recognize, Google search is build in for a reason. Selecting all will go wrong for sure. Is also on Wordpress.org http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/clean-options/

"Problem" would not be there if you experimented on a 2nd WP or local install

Last edited by js9600; Nov 23, 2009 at 09:36 AM.
Old Nov 23, 2009, 09:54 AM
juggledad's Avatar
23,696 posts · Mar 2009
OSX 10.11.5 WP 4.x Atahualpa(all) Safari, Firefox, Chrome
Ahh...plugins, some are 'good' citizens and sone are 'not so good'. I'll give you my definition.
First remember most all plugins have to save some information - the options the plugin uses. Some plugins just write rows into the wp_options table, others create one or more tables for their own use.

When you delete a plugin, you are just getting rid of the CODE that runs the plugin.
When you disable a plugin, several things can happen
1) the plugin goes in and removes all of it's information from the WordPress database
2) depending on an option, it can remove or keep it's data
3) nothing, the plugin just stops running

I would define a 'good' plugin as one that follows rule 2

Now you can disable a plugin from teh plugin screen or just go in with FTP and delete the plugin's folder, but if you do this, you don't give the plugin a chance to cleanup after itself
"Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn." - Benjamin Franklin
Juggledad | Forum Moderator/Support


de-activated, delete, delete plugin, delete theme, unused

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