Most important part of WordPress troubleshooting is to disable WordPress plugins and check if any of the plugin is making problem. While you are unable to access WordPress admin so you cannot deactivate plugins through WordPress Dashboard. We are going to guide you different ways to deactivate WordPress plugins when you are not able to access wp-admin screen.
Note: For this tutorial you would either need access to your plugin files with FTP Client or your Hosting Panel’s File Manager. A less recommended way is through phpMyAdmin editing database entry of active plugins.
So whatever the reason behind you have to disable WordPress plugins out of WordPress admin dashboard. The quick way is just rename the plugins/ directory to something else like plugins.backup.
Note: After disabling WordPress plugins if problem persists. You may try to deactivate your WordPress theme via FTP or File Manager.
Why do you need to disable all WordPress plugins when WordPress admin is not working?
As you are unable to access your WordPress admin page either you have WordPress white screen of death. Or there is a FATAL PHP error in your WordPress installation which is producing Error “There has been a critical error on this website.”
In these types of situations the best way is to disable all plugins to make sure if any of the plugin your website is using isn’t making problem. So you can do this easily by disabling all WordPress plugins and check if the problem is with one of the plugin or with something else.
So How to disable WordPress plugins when wp-admin is not accessible?
Well! This can be very easy if you know what are you doing. You just have to access the files and directories of your WordPress installation and rename the plugins directory name. While this is very simple but for someone who is not sure what he is doing can be tricky!
Tip: Backup your website before doing anything always!
In the video below we have explained it very clearly how you can easily disable and reactivate your WordPress plugins. If you are comfortable to read the tutorial more than video let’s go forward.
So what will you need to disable WordPress plugins through FTP or cPanel or phpMyAdmin? Well you would need access to your server files where your WordPress is installed.
- FTP access to access the WordPress installation files
- File Manager of your Hosting Panel to manage files
- phpMyAdmin access in case you want to disable through phpMyAdmin
Disable WordPress plugins by renaming plugins directory name
The simplest way to disable your WordPress plugins is just rename your plugins/ directory name. Which is always inside wp-content/ folder of your WordPress installation. You can name your /plugins/ directory anything like plugins.BACKUP. Once you rename your plugins directory name your all plugins have been disabled from WordPress. Now you can access WordPress admin dashboard and if you go to plugins page you will see all plugins have been deactivated cause of an error. Plugins file doesn’t exist.
So if you are unsure how to rename plugins directory name there are two ways. Let’s try to explore them one by one.
Rename plugins directory name via FTP
First of all login to your server’s FTP using your favorite FTP Client like FileZilla. To login your FTP you would need server host name, login and password. If you are not sure where to get this information from please contact your web hosting.
- Login to your FTP account using a FTP Client
- From your WordPress installation directory enter into wp-content directory.
- Right click on plugins/ directory and rename it to something like plugins_BACKUP
Once you change the name of plugins directory the plugins will be disabled. And if you try to load your plugins screen in WordPress admin all plugins will be deactivated cause of not existence.
Rename WordPress plugins directory name via cPanel File Manager
In case you have to disable WordPress plugins through your hosting panel’s File Manager. There are just few simple steps you can follow. And you will have successfully disabled your WordPress plugins.
Let’s follow the simple steps below to handle disabling plugins through File Manager!
- Access your hosting panel either its cPanel or Plesk
- Open file manager and move into WordPress installation directory
- Find out wp-content directory and open it
- Now you should see plugins directory right click to rename it
- Name it anything like plugins_BCK
Now you have disabled your WordPress plugins Either via FTP or cPanel. In both cases you should know you cannot reactivate or use these plugins unless you change plugins_BACKUP folder name to plugins.
How to deactivate WordPress plugins via phpMyAdmin?
You may also deactivate the WordPress plugins through your database phpMyAdmin. For this you need to make sure you know the name of database is in use by your WordPress installation.
If you are not sure which database your WordPress installation is using edit your wp-config.php file and find out the name of your WordPress database.
1. Access cPanel and go to phpMyAdmin
2. Select database and move to _options table
WordPress by default have wp_ as prefix of WordPress database tables. But some WordPress installers and manual installs change the prefix from wp_ to something else. Its important you locate your _options table. Just open it so you are in browse view of _option table.
3. Go to search and in
`option_name` field search active_plugins
Now click on Search and enter active_plugins in option_name field to search about. Once you have entered active_plugins click Go button to load the results and you will get the row which have active plugins value.
Now its time to remove the value which you have received for active_plugins.
4. Remove value from `option_value` column
Double click on `option_value` column value and make it empty. Once you remove its value all active plugins would be deactivated.
Please note if you are just doing this for testing purpose save the value from option_value column in text editor. So you can put it back when you need.
After removing the value you can go to your WordPress admin panel and activate plugins there one by one. In case you want to re-activate all plugins back from phpMyAdmin put the copied value back for option_name active_plugins.
Restore WordPress plugins via FTP or cPanel File Manager
Once you have tested each plugin one by one bring your plugins/ directory back similarly as you renamed before from FTP or File Manager. Now rename it again to make its name plugins/ once you do this your all plugins are again available in WordPress. As you have now enabled your WordPress plugins you can start activating them one by one.
Re-activate WordPress plugins through WordPress admin panel
Just login your WordPress admin and go to plugins where you will see all your plugins listed again but in deactive mode. Start activating them one by one so you can use them and find out the plugin whichever is making problem.
Avoid all the mess and get WordPress Maintenance Service to make your life easy online!
We tried to explain how you can deactivate plugins to make sure if any of the plugins you are using is making problem for your WordPress installation. In case you are not an expert and unsure how to fix WordPress errors we are available Hire a WordPress developer.
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