How to reset your WordPress installation

Has it ever happened to you that you’ve installed WordPress, a theme and some plugins only to realize that you want to start over from scratch because of a misconfiguration or whatever?

Do you usually do test installations and would like to recover the initial state of WordPress clean after testing?

Are you going to make design or functionality changes to your WordPress site and would like to be able to go back to the moment just before you started modifying things?

These and many others are the situations where you’d like to have a magic Control/Command+Z shortcut to undo the changes, right?

Revert changes in WordPress

If you want a tool with which to get out of these and many other situations where you want to go back in a WordPress installation what you are looking for is WP Reset.

This plugin, free in most of its utilities, is your reset button for WordPress, as it includes solutions to many situations where you wish you hadn’t made “that change”.

To start using it, first install the plugin and activate it.

It will add its functionality page to the “Tools WP Reset” menu and, take my advice, don’t follow the natural sequence of checking the tabs from left to right, better read on as I will explain the correct and safe way to use this powerful, but dangerous plugin.

Create snapshots!

Before you even consider resetting your website or part of it, go to the “Snapshots” settings tab and make a backup or snapshot, call it what you will, of your current installation.

create snapshots

This is vital so that, after resetting all or part of your site, you can painlessly return to the situation just before.

It is an essential safeguard, which reminds you to do just before resetting, but which you should make a habit of doing, even from time to time.

create snapshot popup

In fact, it is a tool that is already interesting and powerful enough to install to make snapshots before installing any new plugin, making changes or modifying settings in your theme or plugin options.

The nice thing about this tool is that, with the plugin installed and active, you can at any time go back to the situation just before the changes.

restore snapshots

Hit the reset!

Now that you have at least one snapshot, you can consider, if necessary, resetting your WordPress installation.

To do this you have the “Reset” tab, where you will find the box with the options available for this dangerous, but sometimes essential, action.

reset wordpress options

As you will see in the screenshot, there are some interesting settings:

  • Reactivate the current theme – In case you want everything to be reset but the active theme to be the current one.
  • Reactivate WP Reset plugin – Optional, but interesting in case you want to check the status or retrieve a snapshot (or make a new one) after the reset.
  • Reactivate all currently active plugins – Depends on what you want with the reset but is quite logical on an active site.
  • Create snapshot – If you didn’t do it before there is a link and a button to remind you of the importance of this previous step.

And that’s it, if you have it clear just type reset in the empty text box and click on the “Reset site” button.

What does the reset site button do?

When you press the button a very fast process starts that does the following:

  • Delete all content (posts, pages, custom content, logs, users).
  • Delete all WordPress default tables
  • Delete all tables that have the same prefix as the default WordPress tables (themes, plugins).
  • Momentarily logs you out of the session (but does not delete your user – see below).

What does the reset site button NOT do?

Now, there are things that the free version of the plugin does not do:

  • It does not delete the physical files in the uploads folder but they will no longer show up in the media library, having deleted the tables.
  • It does not delete any physical theme or plugin files.
  • It does not delete important options such as site title settings, WordPress address, site address, site language and search engine visibility.
  • It does not delete the current user, who will still be able to login with their current name, email and password.

Tools you will love

But the virtues of this fantastic plugin do not end here, because there is one more tab, the “Tools” tab that from today will occupy an important place in your WordPress.

wp reset tools

Shall we review what each tool does?

These are the ones you’ll find in the free version of the plugin, and it’s no small feat:

  • Reset Theme Options – Returns default settings to all themes installed on your site, both active and inactive.
  • Delete transients – Clears all temporary junk left by plugins, themes and WordPress in the database, mostly in the wp_options table.
  • Purge cache – With this tool, you can clear in one click WordPress caches, object caches and even caches of popular plugins, such as W3Total, WP Rocket, LiteSpeed or SG Optimizer.
  • Delete local data – Here you have 2 buttons, one to clear all local storage data for the current session, and one to clear all WordPress cookies.
  • Delete themes – Do you remember that with the reset site button you don’t delete themes, plugins or uploaded files? Well here you have the button to delete all themes, including the active one, which will mean that you will have to install some later.
  • Delete plugins – The same but with plugins. The only exception is the WP Reset plugin itself, the only one that does not delete. I remind you that this does not have an undo button.
  • Clear uploads folder – If there is an annoying button it’s this one, because it’s handy, it will delete everything in the uploads folder, including all its subfolders, but there is no undo button, you better have a backup before hitting it.
  • Empty or delete custom tables – The 2 buttons you will find here are both useful and dangerous, because you can empty (truncate) or delete (drop) all tables that are not the default WordPress tables, that is, from plugins and the theme, that have the same prefix as the WordPress ones.
  • Delete .htaccess file – If you don’t have FTP or file explorer access from here you can quickly delete an obsolete or problematic .htaccess file. When you have deleted it you can automatically recreate it by saving changes without modifying any settings in the “Settings Permalinks” administration screen.

Interesting, isn’t it?

But also dangerous. It’s important that you think carefully before pressing any button in this plugin, as there are actions that are reversible, via snapshots, but others are not, such as deleting plugins, themes and files, so put it on your favorites list, but don’t use it to mess around.

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