How to disable a WordPress plugin via FTP

This is a beginner’s guide on how to disable a WordPress plugin via Filezilla FTP.

If you are having trouble logging in to your WordPress admin, it could because of a plugin conflict. Without access to your WordPress admin, you can’t disable your plugins, therefore you need to disable them through your Cpanel or via Filezilla. I show you how to disable your plugins using Filezilla.

Let’s get started.

#1 Download Filezilla

I use Filezilla as my FTP software. My tutorial will show you how to disable your plugins using Filezilla. If you have not downloaded this software yet, you can at Filezilla is free to download and use.

Once you have downloaded and set up Filezilla to access your WordPress website, then you can begin.

If you are having trouble setting up Filezilla, read my ‘how to download, install, and connect Filezilla to your website‘ post.

#2 Connect to your website using Filezilla

Connect to your website by using the site manager in the toolbar. Your screen will look like the following screenshot after you have connected. Your PC files are on the left, your website files are on the right.

how to disable a WordPress plugin via FTP

#3 Open the root directory of your website

In the window on the top right in Filezilla, you are looking for your root directory file. This directory is called ‘public_html’. Double click on that directory and the files within that directory will be in the window on the bottom right.

I have highlighted the ‘public_html’ directory in my next screenshot.

The 'public_html' directory

#4 Look for the WP-content file

Now that you have opened your website root directory, you are looking for the directory named ‘wp-content’ in the bottom window on the right.

Double click on ‘wp-content’ to open. Like this.

how to disable a WordPress plugin via FTP

#5 Open the plugins directory

Now we have found our plugins directory. If we want to disable one of our plugins, we need to double click the plugins directory.

#6 Rename your plugin file

How to disable all plugins

To disable all your WordPress plugins at the same time, you rename the plugins directory, add ‘off’ to the current name.

Like this.

How to disable all your WordPress plugins

Once you have solved issues with your site, come back to this directory and rename it back to the original name. In my example, you would remove the ‘off’.

Like this.

How to rename your plugins directory

How to disable individual plugins

To disable one WordPress plugin, you double-click the plugins directory to find your active plugins. Find the plugin you want to disable and right-click, from the menu, select ‘rename’. To disable, add ‘off’ to the end of the current plugin name. Click anywhere else on your screen, and the name change will save. Your plugin is disabled.

I have one plugin on my example website, the ‘WordPress-SEO’ plugin. I have just right-clicked on this plugin and selected ‘rename’, I added ‘off’ to the current name and clicked on a blank space to the right. Now my changes have been saved and my plugin is now disabled.

Like this.

How to disable a WordPress plugin using Filezilla

How to activate disabled plugins

When you want to activate your disabled WordPress plugin, come back to your plugin directory, and rename the plugin back to the original name. In my example, I would remove the ‘off’ from the name.

Once the change has been saved, you need to go back to your WordPress admin and find your installed plugins.

Here is my example website, remember I disabled my ‘WordPress-SEO’ plugin.

WordPress installed plugins

To activate, click on the blue ‘Activate’ link. After a few seconds, the plugin will be active again.

Like this.

Activating a plugin

How to disable a WordPress plugin via FTP video tutorial

Watch this video on YouTube.


Disabling plugins using FTP software is quick and easy. If you find that you are unable to access your WordPress admin, it is probably a plugin problem. FTP software, like Filezilla, allows you to access your website files.

When I have the problem of WordPress admin access, my first solution is to open my FTP software and disable all my plugins. Most of the time, this solves my access problem.

I have only used Filezilla, I find it easy to use. When I used it for the first time I had problems connecting to my website. If you have this problem, let me know in the comments, and I will write a tutorial.

If you would like to upload a WordPress theme using FTP software, please check out my ‘how to upload a theme using Filezilla‘ post, or watch my YouTube tutorial.

Frequently asked questions

How do I manually disable a WordPress plugin?

You can disable a plugin through an FTP client or through your hosting Cpanel. My instruction for using an FTP client is in my post. The process is similar when using your Cpanel.

How do I remove a plugin from cPanel?

In your Cpanel, find ‘File Manager’. In file manager, look for ‘Public_HTML’, open that folder. In there, you will find ‘WP-Content’, in that folder, you will see your plugin folder. In that folder, you will find your installed plugins. Delete the plugin you want to remove.


How do you disable your plugins when you don’t have access to your WordPress admin?

What FTP software do you use?

I look forward to reading your comments.

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