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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 a FTP client, or your host’s file manager. If you haven’t used FTP before, then you may want to see our how to use FTP to upload files to WordPress.

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.

Rename 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.

We hope that this article helped you deactivate all plugins in WordPress. You may also want to see our list of 7 best WordPress backup plugins.

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

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  1. Eddy says:

    Thank you guys for the help. I used the FTP option and it worked perfectly.

    • Steve says:

      Thank you so much for this tip. I was going nuts because my wp-total-cache went haywire and your post helped me figure out what was going on. Thank you for taking the time to invest.

  2. maz says:

    Thanks got me out of a jam need some help now to remove a dodgy plugin W3 Total Cache Error: some files appear to be missing or out of place. Please re-install plugin or remove /home/content/16/8282516/html/notsealed/wp-content/db.php

    IS it safe to remove this db.php file? Crashes if I leave the plugin in the folder, crashes if I install, crashes if uninstall. Fielzilla helped to rename but WordPress is a mess keeps coming up with the error above thanks

  3. Bona says:

    Mine is a different case, after disabling all the plugins by deleting the codes, the plugins and even widgets stopped showing by I was still unable to login to my admin page. Since the plugins are not the cause, I pasted the codes back and the plugins and widgets didn’t show up again! What happened?

  4. Tristan Morgan-Buck says:

    THANK YOU GUYS SO MUCH; I was trying to access my website for 3 days after I installed login_form_recaptcha, and I tried everything, but you guys really saved my a**! Thanks a bunch!!!

  5. arjun says:

    awesome u

  6. 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.

  7. Ethan says:

    Saved my a** tonight, thank you!

  8. 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!

  9. 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!!

  10. Previsha says:

    Thanks, this really helped me out.

  11. 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.

  12. Manos Kaiser says:

    Kudos!!! Saved my day! Thanx!

  13. 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 :)

  14. nino says:

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

  15. Hanne Schroedter says:

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

  16. Erica says:

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

  17. 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.

  18. 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!

  19. 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.

  20. Carl says:

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

  21. Neeraj says:


  22. Mourad says:

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

  23. Muzahid Ul Islam says:

    Thank you very much….
    it resolve my problem.

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