How to Delete a Theme in WordPress

how to delete your wordpress theme

Last year I was setting up a brand new WordPress website for a client and I realized that the current theme didn’t work with the type of site I was building. I tried to delete the theme, but I couldn’t find where I was supposed to delete it!

After doing some troubleshooting I was able to find it. But I wanted to make a quick guide for people who also can’t find it to be able to identify where it is how to delete your WordPress theme easily.

Why is it Hard to Find the Delete Button?

On an active theme, there is no ‘delete’ option.

The reason is that the ‘delete theme’ option isn’t available on your active WordPress theme. This means that, when you want to delete a particular theme, you have to activate a different one first.

When you first install WordPress, they give you a few default WordPress themes that you can switch to. Switch to one of those by going to “Appearance>Themes” and clicking on one of them. Then when the pop-up window opens, you can select ‘Activate’

Once you’ve selected this new WordPress theme, stay in the Themes section and click on the WordPress Theme that you used to have as your active theme.

When you click on it, a pop-up window will appear and you’ll find the ‘delete theme’ option on the right-hand side. It should look like this:

When you click on ‘delete’, there will be a window that says ‘Are you sure?’. Click yes (if you’re sure, that is!) and the theme will be deleted.

Will I Lose Customizations?

Yes, the new WordPress theme you choose won’t have any of the special customizations related to the original theme. Some things you may want to double check:

  • Tracking cookies – things like Google Analytics may have been erased when you switched themes. Make sure it’s still tracking.
  • Site Logo & Favicon – These tend to be reset when you switch themes. They are still in your media library, however you need to re-add theme to this new theme. Go to ‘Appearance>Customize‘ and select ‘site logo’ to re-add your logo.
  • Sidebar Widgets – Sometimes, if a theme has a different sidebar/footer configuration, it will remove all your widgets. If this happens, they tend to be shuffled down into the ‘inactive widgets’ section. Just drag and drop them to your new sidebar.
  • Sliders – If the old theme had a slider component, you may need to build them back up. If you have a 3rd party slider plugin, then you don’t need to do anything.

What if I Regret Deleting The Old Theme?

The good thing is you can always re-add it at any time. You can re-upload the theme (if you bought a Premium theme), or you can search WordPress’ repository by name and find it that way. If you re-activate that WordPress theme, then (most of the time) you’ll get all your old customizations back. The site will look just the way it used to!

Some more advice on how to go about this:

#1. Backup Your Theme

One of the most important rules before you delete anything on the internet is to sufficiently backup the data. You might not want this theme now, but what if you need it later? Learning how to backup your WordPress theme can help prevent any future stress.

#2. Change the Theme

Go to the Themes tab in Appearance and activate the default WordPress theme available on your profile (or another one) to change the theme of your site.

#3. Select the Theme You Want to Delete

In order to delete the theme, you must first select it. Do not turn it on, but simply click to see “more info”. Now that the theme is deactivated, you should be able to see the option to “delete” the theme. Now all you have to do is click that button and the theme will be deleted!

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