By Princess Jones

“Hey, something’s wrong with the website.”

Whether they come over email, instant message, or social media, those six words can be the start of a long, long day of technical problems. Your business website has a job to do and if it’s down, you can’t attract new customers or make new sales. You need to resolve these problems as soon as possible.

If you happen to be using a WordPress website, your website has a lot of moving pieces. Between the hosting, the installation, the theme, and plugins, a lot of things can go wrong. But I’ve found that when things go mysteriously wrong with no notice, it often has something to do with a plugin.

WordPress plugins are third-party pieces of code that you install in your WordPress website to completely certain tasks. If your theme doesn’t do something, you can often find a plugin that will do it for you. But the flipside of that is that you’re dependent on third-party developers to keep their code up to date and in proper working order. When that doesn’t happen, you may find yourself with a rogue plugin that needs to be removed.

How To Do It

Start by opening your website in your browser. If you can log into the site, go to the dashboard and click “Plugins” in the menu on the left side of the screen. Click “Deactivate” under the plugin in question.

Open your website in a new browser tab. If everything is back to normal, you got the right plugin and you can go back to delete it completely from your installation.

If you can’t log into the website, open the backend of your hosting service. Open the files section and navigate to the file tree for your website. Open the WP-Content file and then open the Plugins file. Select the folder of the plugin you need to remove. Right click and then click “Delete.”

Open your website in your browser to see if it loads. If it doesn’t, you’ve removed the wrong plugin. Go back and remove plugins one by one until you’ve solved your problem.

Don’t Forget

Deactivating a plugin is a lot like a light switch. You can turn it on and off without much trouble. But deleting something from your WordPress installation files will remove it forever. Do so with caution.

Also, you can delete a plugin and reinstall it later, but depending on the plugin, you can lose any data it was collecting. For example, a plugin that measures traffic would be reset during the reinstallation. And other types of plugins would likely need to be set up again, which might be a lengthy process if it’s a complicated one.

Finally, pay very close attention to your plugin’s stats to avoid problems like this in the future. If it’s not updated regularly or has a lot of bad reviews, you probably need to stay away from it. Fortunately, there are so many available, you can probably find another one to replace it.