Sometimes there’s a reason to remotely deactivate all plugins. Usually this is when something has happened and an update – or change – broke a site.

In worst case, you can log in to your WordPress Admin area anymore and renaming or deleting1 all plugins via FTP seems a hassle. Or maybe you’re on a device without FTP client/access.

While most hosting providers offer cPanel, or similar, with a file manager, there’s an easier way to quickly disable all plugins at once. Easier than moving all plugins to a new folder with the file manager even.

Howto Deactivate All WordPress Plugins at Once in the the Database

In this WordPress tip we will show you how to deactivate all plugins at once directly in the database.

Important: We recommend everybody to first backup the database before proceeding.

Go to your phpMyAdmin area and select the database for your WordPress install. Use the search function and search for the active_plugins option. This should be in the wp_options table of your database2.

Double click on the text in the option_value column (or click the pencil or Edit link). In the next step, simply delete the content of that field.

Example of active plugins shown in phpMyAdmin

Example of active plugins shown in phpMyAdmin

That’s all, now all plugins are disabled in your WordPress install.

MySQL Query to Deactivate All Plugins at Once

Alternatively, you can also deactivate all plugins at once with the following MySQL query.

UPDATE wp_options SET option_value = '' WHERE option_name = 'active_plugins';

Where wp_ is replaced with the correct value for your database tables.

  1. We recommend to move all plugins to a new folder rather than actually delete them from the server. 
  2. Note that if you’ve used a security plugin, the wp_ element of database tables may be named differently.