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How to Deactivate All Plugins When Not Able to Access WP-Admin

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How to Deactivate All Plugins When Not Able to Access WP-Admin

Often times during troubleshooting, many sites will recommend deactivate all plugins and activate them one by one. What’s worst is sometimes you get locked out of your WordPress admin panel, so you can’t even deactivate the plugins in an easy way. If you have ever faced the white screen of death, then you know exactly what we are talking about. In this article, we will show you how to deactivate all WordPress plugins when not able to access wp-admin area.

There are two methods to disabling your plugins. One requires you to use FTP, and the other requires you to use phpMyAdmin.

Deactivate All Plugins Using FTP

In this method, you will need to either use FTP, or your host’s file manager. Navigate to the /wp-content/ folder. You will see a folder called plugins. Rename 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.

Most of the time when you do this, you are usually locked out of your admin panel. If the issue was with your plugins, you should be able login to your /wp-admin/. Once you do that, go back to your /wp-content/ directory 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. If you don’t know how to get to phpMyAdmin, then we recommend using the FTP method above.

In your WordPress database, go in the wp_options table. Locate the option name “active_plugins”. Now edit the value of that option and change it to this: a:0:{}

We hope that this article helps you deactivate all plugins in a fairly easy way.

Editorial Staff at WPBeginner is a team of WordPress experts led by Syed Balkhi. Page maintained by Syed Balkhi.

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  1. simon says:

    Thanks, worked a treat.
    Much easier than I thought it would be.

    I knew which plugin was the problem so went in with FTP and renamed the individual plugin module folder – logged back into WP and was able to delete the plugin from within wp-admin/plugins.

  2. Ethan says:

    Saved my a** tonight, thank you!

  3. MBHayes says:

    OH BOY… this just saved my tail end best I can tell… 6/15/16… Adminimize plugin upgrade crashed / blocked access to my admin panel.
    THANK YOU SO SO MUCH this handy reference still lives on the web!!!

    • MBHayes says:

      … my case continues and is not closed after all …
      When I renamed plugins and then soft restarted apache my admin panel was good… however, once I renamed plugins back to plugins from deactivate.plugins… AGAIN the admin panel would fire on IE but not let you in and would not fire at all on Firefox!
      Oh boy… more CSI time……………………………

      • MBHayes says:

        Case Closed… before we BASH adminimize which has been a faithful plugin… let me say I’ve managed to reach the admin panel and reactivated adminimize and everything is still running.

        My case was somewhat varied to this post… in my case my site was a vm running on ubuntu… I didn’t have access over the normal channels due to a network move killing off my webmin and winscp access… so while I used the same principals here I had to actually drill down by logging into the unbuntu server –> cd /var/www/wp-content/plugins. At first I RENAMED the plugins directory — it failed I guess cause while I logged in I logged back out then renamed the directory. Anyway, I continued to toy around and went back from within the plugins directory and renamed about 5 plugins (mv deact.plugin1… deact.plugin2… etc…. fired the wp-admin and we’re good! Reactivated about 3 of the 5 so far and it hasn’t crashed back out yet. Still testing… in summary want to emphasize that I can’t for sure at the moment say I lost the admin panel on the adminimize plug-in… but one of the 5 for sure caused issue. Anyway, I’m back slowly reactivating the rest!

  4. Ruhi says:

    Hiee… when I try to load my site it says this page isn’t working also it says can’t handle this record and moreover am unable to acess my wordpress dashboard when I try entering the wp-admin it show blank white page please help!!

  5. Previsha says:

    Thanks, this really helped me out.

  6. pankaj says:

    i am getting

    PHP Fatal error: Cannot redeclare is_comments_popup() (previously declared in /home/rateahqx/public_html/wp-includes/query.php:309) in /home/rateahqx/public_html/wp-includes/deprecated.php on line 3713
    i tried everything but my site is still not starting pls help me.
    and i think this problem started after the wordpress update.

    • WPBeginner Support says:

      It is possible that a WordPress update was stopped before completion. Try downloading a fresh copy of WordPress, unzip it on your computer and then upload them back to your server using FTP. This will overwrite WordPress core files.

  7. Manos Kaiser says:

    Kudos!!! Saved my day! Thanx!

  8. Ronald says:

    thank you for this blog. it really helps but what i did is delete some plugins. Thank you once again my site brings back to life :)

  9. nino says:

    Hello i have downloaded FileZilla but I can’t find wp-content file . Help me

  10. Hanne Schroedter says:

    Yupp, this was perfect, and I could deactivate Jetpack who was udated later today.
    Thank you! Awesome.

  11. Erica says:

    Literally (yes, literally :) just saved my life with this! Thank you SO much!!

  12. Palash Tannan says:

    How to Navigate to the /wp-content/ folder ?

    • WPBeginner Support says:

      You can visit it in your browser, like this:

      Replace with the domain of the website.

      However, wp-content file has a blank index.php file in it. So you will only be able to see a white screen.

      If you know the full URL to a file, then you can view it in your browser like this:

      To navigate wp-content as an admin you need to use an FTP client or File Manager in cPanel.

  13. Lesly Federici says:

    THANK YOU for this article. for 2 days my site has been down due to a plugin and you’d think my theme/hosting support would tell me what to do. Nope. So I had to research it and this did it!

  14. Michael Walker says:

    Thanks so much for this, and the page, they were just an absolute lifesaver for me. The first reaction to an internal error is total panic, and nowhere else gave such simple step by step instructions on how to solve. Thanks a lot, genuinely great site.

  15. Carl says:

    Thanks very much for this – I can confirm the FTP method works like a charm Mourad!

  16. Neeraj says:


  17. Mourad says:

    This is so helpful, but what is FTP method like?

  18. Muzahid Ul Islam says:

    Thank you very much….
    it resolve my problem.

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