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How to Manually Disable Plugins in WordPress Sites?

How to Manually Disable Plugins in WordPress Sites?

how to manually disable pluginsPlugin architecture is one of the most highlighted features of WordPress CMS, enabling users to extend functionality of their website without technical skills or knowledge required. In general, it is very easy to install and disable plugins, but the thing is totally on the contrary if you get locked out of the WordPress admin panel. Don’t worry, we are going to share two methods to disable WordPress plugins manually.

To disable plugins in WordPress, the easiest way is to go to WordPress Dashboard, go to Plugins – > All Plugins, find the detailed plugin and click on Deactivate link. The way is easy and even a newbie can successfully complete it.

However, sometimes, you may encounter problems when installed new plugins but cannot go through the admin panel to resolve it. In this condition, you can manually disable the installed plugin via FTP or phpMyAdmin. In the following, we will carefully introduce the steps in detail.

Disable Plugins via FTP

In order to disable plugins through FTP, you should first have a good FTP client, such as Felliza. Login into it and navigate to the directory where your WordPress site is located, then go to /wp-content/plugins and you can see the screen like the following,

disable plugins via ftp

As the above screenshot, there are lists of plugin folders and you can verify them by name. To disable to specific plugin, you can easily rename the folder to a new name you like. For example, I want to disable “seo-ultimate”, so I change its name to “seo-ultimate-rename”. That’s it! This plugin is magically deactivated. If you want to remove it completely, you can just delete the folder directly.

If you want to disable all of your plugins, you can just rename the plugins folder under /wp-content.

rename plugins folder

Once you login into WordPress admin panel and go to Plugins section, you will be notified warning at the top information that the plugin has been deactivated due to the file does not exist.

Disable Plugins via phpMyAdmin

The FTP method is the easiest way. However, you can still deactivate plugin by using phpMyAdmin. Login into your cPanel, access the phpMyAdmin by click on the icon that is usually located in the “Database” section.

PHPMyAdmin in cPanel

Login into phpMyAdmin, click on the WordPress database name on the left side, then you can see a list of all WordPress tables displayed on the screen. Then, open the “wp_users” table, then navigate to the “wp_options” table which will show all the rows in the table.

wp-option in database

As there may be thousands of rows in the table, we are going to find “option_name” column by using SQL command. Click on SQL tab on the top of the screen and you will be presented with a text box with a query already inside it. Delete it and paste the following code into it, and click the Go button at the bottom right.

SELECT * FROM wp_options WHERE option_name = 'active_plugins';

Commit this code, you can locate the row active_plugins. Click on the pencil icon to edit its value. You can see something like the following, based on the number and type of your installed plugins.


This array stands all activated plugins on your site. Therefore, to quickly disable all plugins, you can cut all code out and save the changes. To deactivate specific plugin, you can simply delete the content like i:0;s:19:”akismet/akismet.php”;.


Joyce is a professional writer & SEOer who loves trying new things and sharing the experience through blogging. She loves clean design, playing with different WordPress themes, SEO, etc. Very often, you could find her in various WordPress event as invited speakers.