How to uninstall WordPress

Bye, Felicia

Why would we want to learn how to uninstall WordPress from cPanel? Let’s face it, there are times when you need to take down a WordPress site. Maybe you have created a new one somewhere else, or maybe you have new hosting, or maybe you just want to play around with installing and removing WordPress from your cPanel. Luckily, it’s fairly easy to accomplish this, but there are a few things you should always do to ensure a safe removal.

Before you delete WordPress

Before we get into the details of how to uninstall WordPress there are a few best practices you’ll want to take care of first.

Create 301 redirects

Before you delete your WordPress site, you may want to set up redirects, especially if this was a popular site with lots of traffic or strong ranking in search. If you are simply moving the site from one domain to another, setting up 301 redirects ahead of time is very important.

For a primer on 301 redirects, check out this short video by Matt Cutts. You’ll want to create the redirects in an .htaccess file as you’ll be deleting the rest of the files out shortly. If you have multiple sites, make sure you are placing this updated file within the root folder for the WordPress you’re uninstalling.

If you do not set up 301 redirects ahead of time, some users may end up on broken pages.

 

If your site has a lot of links coming in from other websites, you’ll want to work on the redirects first.

Back up your WordPress installation

Now that you have set up your 301 redirects in place, there is another important step in figuring out how to uninstall WordPress: creating backups.

You should never work on a site without backing it up first, and you may already know that. But why back it up when you are deleting the site?

Oh, if I had a dollar for every time I thought I never wanted that site back, only to realize it was gone for good… I’d probably have a dollar because I learned quickly.

New to backups? No problem, there’s a plugin for that. There are many, plugins out there to accomplish a quick and complete backup, but my go-to is always BackupBuddy. Simply install the plugin on your site, and you can choose to backup just the files, just the database, or do a complete backup. Call me a hoarder if you want (it runs in the family), but I download one of each, because, hey, you never know!

Make sure to download this backup right to your computer or save it to online storage that is separate from your web hosting. You’ll want to make sure you have access to the backup even if your hosting is unavailable.

How to uninstall WordPress from cPanel using Installatron

Now that you feel good about having a failsafe in place, it’s time to get down to the nitty gritty — how to uninstall WordPress. There are several ways to do this, so let’s start with the easiest first. In fact, it’s just a few clicks of the mouse!

Once logged into your cPanel, scroll to Web Applications and click WordPress. You’ll be brought to a screen like the one seen here.

Uninstall WordPress From cPanel

By default, it’ll show you the Applications Browser if you want to install a new one, but for our purpose, click My Applications to view all of our installs.

In my case, I just have one install. However, if you want to delete multiple WordPress sites at the same time, you can do that here as well by checking off all the installs you wish to delete and clicking Uninstall at the bottom.

Each WordPress installation will have a few options to the right of the title, and X marks the spot. When you click X, you’ll be brought to another page to start the uninstall wizard — kind of like the last little warning before you delete it for good.

Then, all you need to do is click that uninstall button and bam — it’s gone!

Uninstall WordPress Button

What’s that? Not one for simplicity? Your cPanel hosting doesn’t offer the Installatron, which allows you to quickly delete the site? No worries, let’s tackle this another way, then.

How to uninstall WordPress using a file manager

For this method, we’ll use the built-in file manager as we learn how to uninstall WordPress. However, if you have FTP access, you will accomplish the exact same thing.

Uninstall WordPress via FTP

From your cPanel, click File Manager (that first button in the Files section). If you’re new to the file manager, this is where you can access every single file from your website.

You’ll see the core WordPress files, as well as the folder that contains the content, admin panel and the wp-includes. Of course, we rarely see the wp-admin or wp-includes folders as all of our edits take place in the wp-content folder, but we’ll want to make sure we remove them all here.

If you have multiple sites, you’ll actually see one install at this top level. But then you’ll have other folders that relate to your domain name, and their corresponding WordPress files will be installed within that folder.

Make sure you know which one you are deleting and don’t delete the top level one by mistake!

In this case, we only have one install, so we are simply going to select all files except home.html, index.php, layout-styles.css and cgi-bin — which comes out of the box and leaves us a landing page if we do end up on that domain again.

I also make sure to change home.html to index.html to ensure that kicks in. You can then simply right-click on any of the highlighted files, and then select Delete.

Uninstall WordPress FilesDelete the WordPress database

Bam. Done… Right? Well, not really.

Remember, each WordPress install actually utilizes a database, so we’ll want to make sure we delete the database as well when we’re figuring out how to uninstall WordPress. So head back on over to your cPanel hosting and find MySQL Databases.

This will bring up a screen which allows you to create or destroy any existing databases. In this case, all we have to do is click Delete, and then your website is gone for good. (You do have that backup just in case, right?)

You’ve successfully learned how to uninstall WordPress safely

No matter if you are deleting a site because it was hacked, testing things out, or you just don’t need it anymore, it’s pretty easy to learn how to uninstall WordPress from cPanel hosting. Just follow the pointers above, and you’ll be starting with a clean slate in no time at all!

Need help with WordPress? Learn from other GoDaddy customers in the community.

Jesse Fowler
Jesse Fowler owns and manages OSC Web Design, a web development agency focused on small businesses in southern Maine. OSC looks to educate small businesses on their marketing efforts and help them make informed decisions when purchasing a new website. Jesse loves spending free time with his daughter, rock climbing and traveling as much as possible.