How To Deactivate Plugins From The WordPress Database

What if a plugin takes down your site? Try to log in and disable it. What if you can’t log in because the whole site is down? In this article, learn how to deactivate plugins from the database using phpMyAdmin or your favorite database editor.

You will be editing your list of activated plugins by editing PHP serialized arrays. This is an advanced move, but in this article you’ll find great resources that will be of huge help to you.

Why You Should Go Through The Database

Your database editor lets you access the plugins without affecting your file structure. For example, if you wanted to deactivate plugins by renaming a folder, you would need to access your file system. But you can accomplish this same effect much faster (and more safely) by using the database as your backdoor solution.

Where Can You Find Plugins In The Database?

You will find a list (in serialized array) in the “wp-options” table of your WordPress database. There you’ll find the row labeled "active_plugins". This is the table and row you will need to edit to deactivate plugins.

Serialized Data Editor

In order to edit serialized data safely, you need to use special editors that help you avoid any human error. The editor suggested in this article was developed by Delicious Brains and makes it very easy to edit serialized arrays.

How To Disable WordPress Plugins From The Database

  1. Log into cPanel
  2. Click phpMyAdmin under Databases
  3. Locate the WordPress database you need to edit
  4. Locate the active_plugins row in the “wp-options” table
  5. Copy the serialized data in active_plugins and copy it into the serialized data editor
  6. Uncheck the plugins you wish to deactivate
  7. Restore the edited array into your database
  8. (Optional) Paste a:0:{} to disable all plugins
  9. Save your changes

Well done! You just deactivated WordPress plugins from your database. Improve your WordPress master skills further in the WordPress education channel.

Christopher Maiorana Content Writer II

Christopher Maiorana joined the InMotion community team in 2015 and regularly dispenses tips and tricks in the Support Center, Community Q&A, and the InMotion Hosting Blog.

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