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How to Disable Unwanted Widgets in WordPress

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Do you want to disable unused widgets in WordPress?

The widgets screen in WordPress shows you all the widgets that you can add to your theme. The problem is that too many widgets clutter the screen, and you may not need all of them.

In this article, we will show you how to disable unwanted widgets in WordPress for a clutter free widget experience.

Remove unwanted widgets in WordPress

Why Disable Unwanted Widgets in WordPress?

Widgets are blocks of elements that you can add to your WordPress site’s sidebars or widget ready areas. WordPress comes with several default widgets of its own, and other WordPress plugins may add their own widgets as well.

All these widgets can be seen on the Appearance » Widgets screen. However, you’ll notice that some of these widgets are not very useful, and you will probably never use them on your website.

If you are using plugins that also add their own widgets, then soon the widgets screen will be a huge mess making it difficult to locate the widgets you actually want to use.

Let’s see how to easily clean up the widget screen by disabling unwanted widgets in WordPress.

Disabling Unwanted Widgets in WordPress

The first thing you need to do is install and activate the WP Widget Disable plugin. For more details, see our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Upon activation, you need to visit Appearance » Disable Widgets page to configure plugin settings.

Disable widgets settings

The settings page is divided into two tabs. First, you need to select the sidebar widgets that you want to disable. Simply check the box next to the widgets that you don’t want to use and click on the ‘Save Changes’ button.

You can now visit Appearance » Widgets page to see the difference. All selected widgets will no longer be visible on the widgets screen.

Cleaned up widgets screen in WordPress

How to Remove WordPress Dashboard Widgets

WordPress also displays several widgets on the Dashboard page. Some plugins and themes may also add their own widgets to your WordPress dashboard.

Normally, you can clean up the dashboard screen by clicking on the ‘Screen Options‘ button and uncheck the widgets that you don’t want to see. This is the quickest and simplest approach. It’s best for sites with just one user.

Cleaning up dashbaord screen in WordPress

However, this method will allow you and anyone else who uses your site to simply click on the Screen Options button and display those widgets again.

WP Widget Disable plugin allows you to hide dashboard widgets even from Screen Options menu.

Head over to Appearance » Disable Widgets page and click on the Dashboard Widgets tab.

Select the widgets you want to hide from the dashboard screen and click on the ‘Save Changes’ button to store your settings.

You can now visit the dashboard page to see it in action.

Disabled dashboard widgets in WordPress

You will notice that the widgets you selected to remove are no longer visible on the dashboard or inside screen options menu. You can also create your own custom WordPress dashboard widgets to display on the dashboard.

If you want to completely remove WordPress dashboards widgets, so that other users cannot simply toggle them back on, then you need to paste the following code in your theme’s functions.php file, a site-specific plugin, or in a code snippets plugin:

function remove_dashboard_widgets() {
    global $wp_meta_boxes;
add_action('wp_dashboard_setup', 'remove_dashboard_widgets' );

Each of the widgets listed above are pretty self-explanatory. Simply remove any widget from the list that you want to keep. If you want to remove these widgets from all users except for admins, then just change the last line to this:

if (!current_user_can('manage_options')) {
    add_action('wp_dashboard_setup', 'remove_dashboard_widgets' );

We recommend adding this code using the WPCode plugin. It’s the safest and easiest way to add custom code in WordPress without editing your theme files.

To get started, you need to install and activate the free WPCode plugin on your website. If you need help, see this guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Once the plugin is activated, head to Code Snippets » Add Snippet from your WordPress dashboard.

From there, hover your mouse over the ‘Add Your Custom Code (New Snippet)’ option and click the ‘Use snippet’ button.

Add a new custom code snippet in WPCode

Next, you’ll be taken to the ‘Create Custom Snippet’ page. First, add a title for your snippet, which can be anything to help you remember what the code is for.

Then, simply paste the code from above into the ‘Code Preview’ box and choose ‘PHP Snippet’ as the code type from the dropdown menu.

Paste your code into the WPCode plugin

After that, toggle the switch from ‘Inactive’ to ‘Active’ and click the ‘Save Snippet’ button at the top of the page.

Activate and save your custom code snippet

Now all of the WordPress dashboard widgets will be disabled.

We hope this article helped you learn how to disable unwanted widgets in WordPress. You may also want to see our guide on how to create a membership site in WordPress, and our comparison of the best WordPress page builder plugins to create custom templates without any code.

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Editorial Staff

Editorial Staff at WPBeginner is a team of WordPress experts led by Syed Balkhi with over 16 years of experience in WordPress, Web Hosting, eCommerce, SEO, and Marketing. Started in 2009, WPBeginner is now the largest free WordPress resource site in the industry and is often referred to as the Wikipedia for WordPress.

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Reader Interactions

10 CommentsLeave a Reply

  1. Syed Balkhi says

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  2. Arnold says

    Why are you using “unset()” in stead of “remove_meta_box()”?

    Curious :-)

    High Regards,

    • WPBeginner Support says

      remove_meta_box can be good if you know when the meta box was added and add the code in the correct location but the unset method does not require that level of knowledge and is more guaranteed to work for a beginner :)


  3. Maria says

    When I disable all the other widgets, I’m losing my search-field as well even though i do not choose this on the list. So I want to keep my search field, but not the other widgets. How can i fix this?

  4. Joshua Hoe says

    So if hiding the widgets mean Unregistered widgets will not be loaded, does it also mean that the website speed will be faster as well?

    • WPBeginner Support says

      Depending on the widgets you are disabling there could be a small speed increase but in general nothing overly noticeable in terms of speed


  5. Luis says

    But how can we remove the widget area as seen in last picture? The widgets are gone, but the boxes (empty) are there to see. Can we also remove this empty boxes?


    • WPBeginner Support says

      You would need a different plugin for that, the plugin does not currently remove those


  6. Jeff Yablon says

    Umm … You know this disables nothing? It HIDES them, leaves their stub coded overhead, and adds an extra plug-in.

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