Not a usual tutorial that you will need to implement on your everyday WordPress website, but knowing how to reset a WordPress website will be of immense help when let’s say you want to change the entire customization on your website.
Resetting entirely your WordPress website will be needed maybe for design customization purposes, performance, security reasons, or any other means of usage. In this article, we will be showing you how to reset a WordPress website both manually and with the help of a plugin.
Plugins in WordPress are made in heaven as they extend the functionality of your website, but they also provide a simple and straightforward path to performing certain tasks. In this case, we will see how you reset a WordPress website. Unfortunately, WordPress doesn’t have a red shiny button that says Reset, you will need to tweak a few things or get a plugin to help you with that. And we will show you how to do it step by step.
Why would you need to Reset a WordPress Website?
Resetting your WordPress website means having it in a clean state after you’ve overhauled your site with unnecessary plugins and customizations while experimenting on a staged version. You will delete all the changes, themes, and plugins you’ve installed. It will be like you’ve just installed WordPress from scratch.
There might be a few reasons as to why you will need to reset a WordPress website. Our step-by-step guide will make the whole process a lot easier. Now let’s get into the reasons as to why you would need to reset a WordPress website.
- You can reset your website if you want to delete all your content. This usually happens if you want to switch your blog for example to another niche.
- When you are not content with the design of your website, the branding’s off, or the loading time is slow. This might be a better solution than to rather undo all the customization you’ve done so far. It will provide you a fresh canvas to paint your website once again, but this time with the knowledge and experience you’ve had from the previous experiment.
- If you’ve created a staging site to test out your website and now you feel it’s ready to be published. It is always better to reset WordPress.
- You need to redesign a clients website, because if for various reasons they are not content with the website you’ve made for them you might need to start everything from scratch and work on a completely different aesthetic
Now that we have cleared all the reasons as to why you might need to restart a WordPress website we can continue with our comprehensive guide on how to do it.
How to Reset a WordPress website with a Plugin
The easiest and fastest way to reset a WordPress website is by using a competent WordPress plugin and we have just the tool for that. WP Reset plugin offers all the flexibility to reset your website database, and the best thing about this plugin is that you can choose to either reset specific content on your website or reset the entire site.
WP Reset offers a database reset with a single click and provides a fail-safe mechanism that you can never accidentally lose data. The first step will be to install the plugin from the WordPress repository. And click on Activate for the plugin to do the necessary job.
This is the most popular and most rated plugin to reset your WordPress website and it’s completely free. Now that you have activated the plugin, to get started go to Tools > WP Reset.
Note that at the top of the dashboard you will see a warning explaining to your that once you reset your website will delete all your site’s posts, pages, custom post types, comments, media entries, as well as all the default WP databases.
Although you should know that all the media files will not be shown on your media library, they will still be present on the server.
Once you’ve fully understood the process you can go ahead and reset your website. Scroll down to the last section and there you will see three fields that you will need to check beforehand.
The “Reactivate WP Reset plugin” option will always be checked by default. You can choose to reactivate your current theme and active plugins by simply checking a tick on the designated field. This will have your current theme and all your plugins reactivated, only it will be all from scratch, where every customization will be set to its default stage.
Now type in “reset” and click on the Reset Site button. You will have another warning that you are fully resetting your website and there is no going back. Click on the Reset WordPress button once again to continue.
Once the process is done and you have successfully reset your WordPress website, you will be redirected to the WordPress dashboard, all in a clean state.
But you are not completely done by default the plugin will only deactivate the themes and plugins on your website, it will not remove them. To do that, from the WordPress dashboard click on Tools > WP Reset. From there click on the Tools tab.
Click on the Delete Themes option. And then choose the Delete all themes button. Once again a warning window will appear to notify you of the consequences. Click again the “Delete all themes” button, and this way your website will be completely reset.
You will need to restart your website from scratch, install all the preferred plugins and themes. This is how you reset a WordPress website using a plugin, which is the quickest way to set your website on a fresh WordPress installation.
How to Reset a WordPress Website Manually
We’ve covered the plugin method on how to reset a WordPress website, now it’s time we cover the manual approach for those who don’t want to install an extra plugin for the job. This process will of course take longer and will be more difficult, that is why we recommend you are fully aware of your knowledge and skills.
To reset a WordPress website manually will require deleting your database, creating a new database, deleting your plugins and themes as well as upload files. And finally, you will need to rerun the WordPress installation script. This will be a step-by-step tutorial, so sit tight and follow our instructions. Before we start the reset, it is always a good idea to take a full backup of your WordPress website, just in case something goes wrong.
Step One: Delete the database
The first step will be to delete your current database. This step is important because in this database resides all your content and configurations. If you don’t delete the current database you will be left with all the content you already have on your WordPress website. During this step, you will lose all the content and configurations that you have going on in your WordPress website.
We must once again stress the impact of this step as it will completely erase everything and there is no power button to take it all backward. You will need to log in to your cPanel. From here you will have to scroll down until you find the Databases section. Click on MySQL Databases.
This is where you will typically find all your existing databases. Identify your database, it usually includes a wp prefix on it. Copy and paste the name of your database on a notepad to keep it safe.
Click on the delete button to erase your WordPress database. This will have your old WordPress database completely wiped out.
Step Two: Create a New Database
Now that you have deleted the existing WordPress database, it is imperative that you create a new database to reset a WordPress website. If you don’t have a database in place your website will not be able to load and you will not be able to access the WordPress dashboard.
While you are on the cPanel scroll down to the Create a New Database section. Now let’s name the database, we will make sure it is the same name as our old database and click on Create Database
Once you’ve created the new database, the page should automatically refresh. Next, you will need to find the Add a User to the Database section. As per usual you will need to add the old user and assign the permissions to the newly created database. Select the previous username with all its previous permissions from the dropdown menu. And then click on Add button to include the user.
Note that if you don’t find the old user from the dropdown menu you can always add a new user. This can be done from the Add a New User section. You can type in the same username and password as the old username which is typically found in your website’s wp-config.php file.
Step Three: Delete all the irrelevant files
We’ve deleted our old database and created a brand new one. Although we are not done yet. You are still left with the files of the themes, plugins, and media files, which can create unnecessary bloat that is not preferable especially on a new WordPress installation. Now it’s time we take care of our WordPress files.
Let’s take our attention to the themes, plugins, and media files which are usually unique additions and found within the wp-content folder. To gain access to all your files you will need to log in to your FTP Client. You can use the FileZilla FTP Client as it is a free and highly capable application. Find your WordPress root directory, that resides on the public_html folder.
Next, find the wp-content folder and click upon it. This is where you will find all the plugins, themes, and upload folders. You can also find other folders residing there. You should select all the folders except for the themes folder and delete them.
Now click on the themes folder and choose all the themes you wish to delete from your WordPress website and keep the one you want. Once you have completed this step you will have clean wiped all the files from your WordPress website.
This is how you completely reset a WordPress website manually. Since we deleted everything and started from zero you will also need to reinstall the WordPress installation script.
Step Four: Install the WordPress Installation script
The last and final stage to reset a WordPress website will be to run the WordPress installation script. You have wiped out your entire WordPress website but in order to make it functional your need to rerun the installation.
In your browser’s tab type in your domain name and add the following /wp-admin/install.php at the end. You will be presented with a form where you will need to fill in all the necessary information.
Make sure you select the language of your WordPress installation as well as the usual data like the site’s title, username, and more. Fill them in properly and when you are done click on the Install WordPress button. Then you will be prompted to log in with your username and password. And that’s about it, you have successfully reset your WordPress website manually.