Deactivating Widgets from the Sidebar in WordPress


Widgets are plugins that are used to customize the appearance of the WordPress site. If you have not already, please visit the What are Plugins and Widgets? for more information. Default WordPress sites can have widgets that are undesirable and can make the site look poor.

In this tutorial, the sidebar/footer widgets will be customized to display a more palatable site. The theme used in this article will be the birdsite theme. Let’s go forward in customizing the WordPress widgets.

Deactivate widgets from wordpress

  1. Log into the WordPress Dashboard
  2. add-remove-sidebar-2-wordpress

    Navigate to Appearance > Widgets on the left side of the WordPresss dashboard.

    Important! Removing all the widgets will cause the WordPress site to display a default sidebar link setting (Search, Categories, Archives, Meta). To remove the widgets completely, the code will need to be edited.

  3. add-remove-sidebar-3-wordpress

    On the Widgets page, the sidebar links and other features can be removed or added. The table below briefly explains what each area is for.

    Available Widgets The Available Widgets section will not display on the site. They are available for use by dragging them to the widget-area.
    widget-area The widget-area is the list of current widgets that are displaying on the site.
    Inactive widgets The Inactive widgets are for removing widgets from the site, while keeping the settings.


    Drag a Widget from the widgets-area to the Available Widgets. Drag back and forth the different Widgets you want to display on the site. In this tutorial, the Blogroll, Pages, and Meta widgets will only be used.

    Dragging the widgets to the Available widgets area will automatically save. No publishing is required.

  4. add-remove-sidebar-5-wordpress

    Now when visiting the site, only the Blogroll, Pages, and Meta links will display.

To learn more about Widgets, please visit Introduction to Plugins & Widgets. For enhanced optimization, check out our WordPress Hosting with Nginx caching especially for WordPress performance.

Thoughts on “Deactivating Widgets from the Sidebar in WordPress

  • This is a great tutorial, im searing some widgets for my sites and but still unable to search, manually I am creating but every time I edit my theme functions file I end up with an error message. I have double-checked it against what you put up above and can’t seem to resolve it.

    • Hello Jessica,

      What do you mean you are having trouble with the search? What type of error message are you getting? Can you share the exact text of it?

      Kindest Regards,
      Scott M

Leave a Reply