Manually Disabling WordPress Plugins

This article takes a look at how to manually disable a WordPress plugin when you can't do it via the WordPress dashboard due to an update for example.

Manually Disabling Plugins with WordPress:

In this post we’re taking a look at how to manually disable a plugin within WordPress. Let’s say you’ve installed a plugin and it works as expected, however following a WordPress update or a PHP update the plugin is triggering a fatal error within the WordPress dashboard. In order to fix your site the plugin will need to not be running and will then need either be updated if possible or deleted if not possible.

When the site shows this error you may not necessarily know which plugin has caused the issue. If you have a particularly large volume of plugins this can be time consuming / tricky to deal with as ordinarily you may need to roll a backup of your site to a previous version and then update each plugin one by one, or disable each plugin before updating WordPress again.

Accessing File manager or FTP:

The easier way however to do this is to manually disable plugins from within the file section of your WordPress site. To do this you will need to be able to access either FTP or a file manager within your hosting provider. This will depend on the general configuration of your hosting account however once you’re able to access the public_html folder of the site. Navigate to your wp_content folder, then themes, then plugins.

Before disabling any plugins please be sure that your site is backed up ideally from before the error message and after just to ensure you have multiple copies of your website.

Renaming the Plugin:

Once you’ve been sure to do this within the plugins file simply rename the plugin that has caused the error so for example plugin_name would be plugin_name_ by adding the _ to the end the site won’t recognise the plugin name and will automatically disable it from running within the site. Once you’ve done this you should be able to refresh your site and gain access to it again.

If you are not sure which plugin had caused the issue, then you may need to do this for a number of different plugins until the cause is discovered, refreshing your website after each plugin is re-named.

Once you discover the one that it was you can then remove the renamed section of your plugin e.g. plugin_name_ becomes plugin_name again. By doing this you will be able to re-enable the plugin within the dashboard.

This of course only applies to the plugins that you know weren’t causing the WordPress Error. To fix any sort of error within the plugin you may need to manually re-install the plugin for the full details on that, take a look at our post on how to manually update / install plugins.

The plugin fix will depend almost entirely on the data contained within the plugin and how necessary it is within your site to have that data. So for example if the plugin is a caching plugin, the settings wouldn’t be overly difficult to re-add  / replicate so if you delete the plugin within the plugins folder this will remove it and then re-download it from the WordPress plugin repository if it has had a recent update this may provide the latest version and work full within your website.

Another alternative may be to find a similar plugin or if the plugin error is caused by your Theme to look at utilising a different theme within your website.

Further Reading:

Manually Updating WordPress Plugins

How to Fix ‘The Link You Followed Has Expired’ Error in WordPress

We hope this helps, if it did we’d really appreciate any comments or a share thanks!

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