Removing and renaming plugins via file manager or FTP

Deactivate All Plugins Using FTP

In this method, you will need to either use a FTP client, or your host’s file manager.

First you need to connect to your website using FTP client, or File Manager in cPanel. Once connected, you need to navigate to the /wp-content/ folder.

wp-content folder in FTP view

Inside wp-content folder, you will see a folder called plugins. This is where WordPress stores all plugins installed on your website.

Right click on the plugins folder and select Rename. Change the name of the plugins folder to anything that you like. In our example, we will call it “plugins.deactivate”. Once you do this, all of your plugins will be deactivated.

Deactivate plugins by renaming the plugins folder

Usually, this method is used when you are locked out of your admin area. If the issue was with your plugins, then you should be able login to your WordPress admin area.

Once you do that, go back to your /wp-content/ folder and rename “plugins.deactivate” back to plugins. Now you can activate one plugin at a time until your site breaks again. At which point, you will know exactly which plugin caused the issue.

Deactivate all plugins using phpMyAdmin

The FTP method is definitely easier in our opinion, however you can also deactivate all plugins using phpMyAdmin.

First you will need to login to your web hosting dashboard. In this example, we are showing you a cPanel dashboard. Your hosting account’s dashboard may look different.

You will need to click on phpMyAdmin icon under the ‘Databases’ section.

phpMyAdmin in cPanel

This will launch phpMyAdmin in a new browser window. You will need to select your WordPress database, if it is not already selected. After that you will be able to see WordPress database tables.

WordPress database tables in phpMyAdmin

As you can see that all tables in the database have wp_ prefix before table name. Your tables may have a different prefix.

You need to click on the wp_options table. Inside wp_options table you will see rows of different options. You will need to find the option ‘active_plugins’ and then click on the ‘Edit’ Link next to it.

Editing option active_plugins

On the next screen, you will need to change the option_value field to a:0:{}and then click on Go button to save your changes.

Reset active plugins

That’s all, you have successfully deactivated all WordPress plugins using phpMyAdmin. If it was a plugin stopping you from accessing WordPress admin area, then you should be able to login now.