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Deleting a WordPress site might seem straightforward, but there are several crucial steps to ensure a clean and complete removal. Did you know you need to remove the site files from your WordPress Hosting server and clean up the database too? In this tutorial, we’ll walk you through a step-by-step process on how to delete a WordPress site safely and effectively.

We’ll cover everything from backing up your data and deactivating plugins to removing the site files from your server and cleaning up the database. We’ll also share valuable tips and best practices to help you avoid common mistakes and make the deletion process as smooth as possible.

Whether migrating to a new platform, consolidating websites, or simply starting fresh, properly deleting a WordPress site is essential to maintain data integrity and security.

Why Deleting a WordPress Site May Be Necessary

There are many benefits to using WordPress for your website. However, as your business and its needs evolve, you may find your current WordPress site no longer meets your requirements. This could include increased traffic and integrating more complex features like e-commerce tools, custom user roles, or extensive customizations.

Businesses with multiple sites and subdomains may decide to consolidate them into a single, more streamlined platform, necessitating deleting older WordPress sites. Sometimes, a complete reset is required, whether due to your site being compromised or a change in branding or business direction.

As your website starts collecting more sensitive user information and financial details, a security upgrade might become necessary. While WordPress offers several safety features, you may need a site with enhanced securit and hosting.

Finally, deleting an unused or abandoned website can help reduce WordPress hosting costs and maintenance overheads.

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How To Delete A WordPress Site

Step 1: Backup Your Files And Data

Before deleting your WordPress website, it’s essential to create a complete backup of your files and data. There are several reasons for this. Firstly, mistakes happen. For example, if you accidentally delete something critical, miss a file or folder, or something unexpected goes wrong. A backup ensures you have a complete copy of everything to restore if needed.

Next, you might decide to launch your website again. A backup allows you to easily restore it and avoid starting from scratch. Even if you don’t plan to revive the entire website, there might be specific content you want to keep and reuse later for a new project.

The backup must include the following:

  • Posts, Pages, and Content: This preserves all the text and information you’ve created on your site.
  • Media Files: This includes images, videos, and audio files uploaded to your site for potential future use.
  • Themes and Plugins: Back up your active themes and plugins in case you need to easily reinstall them later.
  • Databases: The WordPress database stores all your website’s information, including user accounts, configurations, and post revisions.

There are various WordPress plugins specifically designed to create complete backups of your website’s data. These plugins automate the process, making it convenient. WordPress Hosting from Hosted.com includes daily backups of your site, making it even easier to store and recover any files and databases you need.

Step 2: Deactivate And Remove Plugins

Deactivating plugins stops their code from running on your site. This avoids any potential conflicts with the deletion process itself. Some plugins might cause unexpected behavior and clashes, potentially causing issues.

While deactivating a plugin removes its core functionality, some might leave behind residual files or data in your WordPress directory or database. Deleting after deactivation ensures you remove these and have a cleaner deletion.

Even deactivated plugins occupy some space on your web server. Deleting them frees up storage space, which can be beneficial, especially for sites with limited resources.

Once deactivated, you can safely remove the unwanted plugins from your WordPress dashboard. Navigate to the Plugins sections, then Installed Plugins, and select the ones you want to remove.

Click the checkbox next to each plugin and then choose “Delete” from the “Bulk Actions” dropdown menu and click “Apply”.

Keeping inactive plugins on your site, even if deactivated, can be a security risk. Outdated or vulnerable plugins can still be exploited, even if they’re not active. Deleting them removes this potential security threat.

Step 3: Remove Themes

This step follows a similar process to deleting plugins.

To deactivate the theme currently active on your website, navigate to the Appearance section and click on Themes.

Once deactivated, you can then delete unwanted themes. Go back to the same menu, select the themes, and click Delete to confirm.

Deleting unused themes can take up storage space on your web server and deleting them frees up space.

However, it’s good practice to keep the default WordPress theme installed, even if you’re not using it. This provides a fallback in case of any issues during the deletion or the need to use a basic theme to troubleshoot.

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Step 4: Delete WordPress Site Files

WordPress site files contain all the code and content that make up your website. Deleting them ensures your website is no longer accessible. These files also take up space on your hosting server.

Outdated WordPress software or themes can contain vulnerabilities that attackers might exploit. Deleting the files removes this potential security threat.

Lastly, if you plan to install WordPress on the same domain in the future, a clean slate ensures you’re not starting with any leftover files or configurations that could cause conflicts.

There are two main methods to delete your WordPress site files:

Method 1: cPanel

  1. Log in to your cPanel control panel through the Hosted.com dashboard.
  2. Locate the File Manager section.
  3. Navigate to the directory containing your WordPress installation. This is typically the “public_html” directory or the domain name of your website.
  4. Select all WordPress files and folders within this directory.
  5. Click the Delete option to permanently remove the files.

Method 2: Use an FTP

If you are using a File Transfer Protocol (FTP) client like FileZilla or CuteFTP, you can use it to delete your site files by connecting to your WordPress hosting server.

  1. Enter your FTP login credentials provided by your hosting provider.
  2. Navigate to the directory containing your WordPress installation (as mentioned in Method 1).
  3. Select all WordPress files and folders within this directory.
  4. Right-click and choose Delete to permanently remove the files.

Step 5: Delete The WordPress Database

The WordPress Content Management System (CMS) database stores all your website’s core information, including posts, pages, comments, user accounts, configurations, and settings. Deleting it ensures this data is permanently removed and no longer accessible online.

For complete removal of your website, deleting the database is essential. Leaving the database intact allows someone with technical knowledge to potentially recreate a basic version of your website using the stored data, even if the site files are gone.

If your database contains sensitive user information or passwords, it could pose a security risk if accessed by attackers. Deleting the database eliminates this possibility.

  1. Login to your cPanel dashboard
  2. Access your phpMyAdmin tool in the Databases section.
  3. Select the database associated with your WordPress website. This database name can usually be found in your WordPress configuration file – wp-config.php.
  4. Once you’ve selected the correct database, locate the “Check All” box next to the tables.
  5. From the dropdown menu above the table list, choose “Delete”.

This will permanently delete all tables within the selected database.

Important Note: Be careful when deleting the database as there’s no way to recover the information once it’s gone. Ensure you have a complete backup before proceeding with this step.

Step 6: Clean Up Residual Data (Optional)

While the main steps for deleting a WordPress site are removing files and the database, there might be some residual data left behind depending on your setup. Residual data is the leftover information from your WordPress site that might not be removed through the standard deletion process. Some of these are:

  • Orphaned Files: Occasionally, plugins or themes might leave behind files or folders outside the core WordPress directory even after deletion.
  • Database Traces: Some plugins might also leave behind tables or data in your database that weren’t removed along with the main database.
  • Redirects: If you used redirection plugins to manage website traffic flow, there might be leftover redirect rules that need to be manually removed.

While cleaning up residual data can be a more thorough way, it’s not always essential and requires more technical knowledge. If you’re unsure about any files or tables you encounter, it’s best to err on the side of caution and leave them untouched.

Deleting site files and the database should be enough to completely delete your WordPress website.

WordPress Hosting With Hosted.com

Your WordPress hosting provider plays a crucial role in deleting your WordPress website, as they provide the storage space and tools to manage your website’s files and database.

With Hosted.com you get the cPanel control panel included in your hosting plan, which grants access to file management tools and the phpMyAdmin application. As detailed in previous sections, these tools are essential for deleting your WordPress site files and database.

You also get daily Acronis backups to create a copy of your WordPress site before deletion. This ensures you can restore your website if needed.

Keep in mind that deletion methods might differ. The specific steps to delete files and access databases might vary slightly. If you encounter any difficulties during the deletion process, our Support Team can assist you.

Tips and Best Practices

Delete Website Archives

Search engines like Google might have cached versions of your deleted website. You can utilize tools like Google Search Console to submit a request for removal of these cached pages from search results. Keep in mind that this is a request, and it may take some time for the cached pages to disappear completely from search results.

Delete Using A Plugin

Some plugins can automate the deletion process. However, proceed with caution and ensure you have a complete backup before using such plugins. A malfunctioning plugin could potentially delete more than intended.

File Uploads

By default, WordPress stores uploaded files (images, videos, etc.) in a separate directory called wp-content/uploads. While deleting the core WordPress files removes most content, you might want to specifically delete this directory as well to ensure all uploaded files are permanently removed from your server.

Unpublish Your Site

If you only want to temporarily hide your website, consider unpublishing instead of deletion. Unpublished websites are still accessible by administrators with login credentials but remain invisible to the public. This can be useful for fixing a broken site or if you’re unsure about permanently deleting your site.

Make Page Private Or Deindex Your Site

Two alternatives to deleting your site are making your website pages private or deindexing it.

Making your website pages private allows only authorized users to access them. This can be useful if you want to preserve the content for the future but restrict public access.

Search engines use indexing to display websites in search results. You can utilize tools like robots.txt to request search engines not to index your site. This prevents your website from appearing in search results, even though it might still be technically accessible.

Redirection

If you’re deleting a website and have a new one to replace it on the same domain, setting up a website redirect is a good practice. This ensures users who search for your old website address are automatically directed to the new one. This helps avoid broken links and maintains a smoother user experience.

Reinstalling WordPress

If you plan to install WordPress from your host’s control panel after deletion, you might not necessarily need to delete the database entirely. However, having a complete backup of the database is always recommended before making any changes. This allows you to restore the database if needed.

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KEY TAKEAWAYS

  1. The reasons why deleting a WordPress site may be necessary include migration, consolidation, creating a new site, and cost savings.
  2. Create a complete backup of your WordPress site files, database, and any other essential data before proceeding with the deletion process.
  3. Deactivate and remove all installed plugins to prevent any potential conflicts or issues during the deletion process.
  4. Delete any unused or custom themes from your WordPress installation to ensure a clean slate.
  5. Locate and remove the WordPress site files from your server, including the core files, themes, and plugins.
  6. Understand the importance of deleting the WordPress database and how to do it safely to prevent data leaks or security issues.

FAQs

Can a deleted WordPress website be recovered?

Yes, you can recover a deleted WordPress site provided you have made a backup of it.

How do I delete my WordPress website?

The main steps involve deactivating plugins and themes, deleting site files (via cPanel or FTP), and deleting the database (via phpMyAdmin).

Can I hide my WordPress website instead of deleting it?

Yes, you can unpublish your site to make it invisible to the public while still accessible to admins.

What happens to my domain name after deleting the website?

Deleting the website doesn’t affect your domain name. You’ll need to manage it separately with your domain name service.

What security measures should I take when deleting my website?

Ensure all themes and plugins are updated before deletion to minimize security vulnerabilities. Delete any inactive plugins to reduce the risk of potential attacks.

Are there legal considerations when deleting a website?

In some cases, legal requirements or industry regulations might require retaining website data for a specific period.