Have you ever needed to reset your WordPress website to its default settings? This is not exactly a pleasant task and it can also be time-consuming, if you don’t know what you’re doing.
There are various reasons why you might want to reset your website. For instance:
- website rebuild/redesign: in some cases, you might not like the way you built or designed your website or you made a mistake and have to fix it; although you could erase or undo everything step by step, the easiest and fastest way to start fresh is to reset your WordPress website
- testing purposes: if you work with WordPress sites regularly, you have to test plugins, themes and all the WordPress functionalities; once your tests are over, you can easily reset the website and leave it clean for the next round of testing
If you decide to reset your WordPress website, always make sure you have a backup available, just in case you change your mind and want to restore to a previous version after the reset.
The last thing you want to do is erase everything and then decide you wanted to keep some or all of the content. Keep in mind that after you’ve clicked ‘reset,’ there’s no going back.
Table of contents
Reset your WordPress website database using a plugin
One thing to understand is that your WordPress website consists of two components: the database and the website files (themes, plugins, scripts, media files, etc.). You can either reset your entire website, only the database or the website files.
No matter how you choose to reset your WordPress website and start from scratch, doing it manually can be tiring. The fastest and easiest way to reset the WordPress database is with a plugin.
So, without further ado, here are the best WordPress reset plugins to consider. Let’s take a quick look, shall we?
As stated in the plugin description, WP Reset is a “WordPress development tool for non-developers”. The plugin lets you quickly reset your WordPress database, without modifying any of the website files.
There is a free version of the plugin you can use to reset the database or you can subscribe to their PRO version, which includes several other useful features.
WP Reset lets you choose whether you want to delete all your site’s content and customizations or just parts of them.
The plugin also lets you create snapshots of your website. A snapshot is a copy of all the tables in your database. Snapshots can be very useful, in case you want to restore the site to its previous condition after you reset it with WP Reset. It is also helpful if you want to test an update to your website but something goes wrong and you have to undo.
Here are the features included with WP Reset, both the free version and the PRO:
Okay, so let’s get started with WP Reset.
Install the plugin from your Dashboard → Plugins → Add New. Search for WP Reset, install it and then activate it, just like in the image below:
Next, you have to go to your Dashboard → Tools → WP Reset. Scroll down to the bottom of the page.
You’ll see these options:
We advise you to create a snapshot of your website before you reset it.
Therefore, click on the Create snapshot button. You’ll see the snapshot in the Snapshots menu tab, on top of the page.
Here’s an example of a created snapshot:
As a side note, the PRO version includes automatic snapshots.
Once you’ve created the snapshot, go back to the Reset options and check or uncheck the boxes you want. The “Reactivate WP Reset plugin” box is by default checked. This ensures that after the reset, the WP Reset plugin will still remain active, without you manually reactivating it.
There are two other boxes you need to check or uncheck as well: “Reactivate current theme” and “Reactivate all currently active plugins“.
After you’re done with these settings, type in the word “reset” and hit on the Reset Site button. That’s all!
Here’s a screenshot to get a better idea:
Advanced WordPress Reset is a free plugin that helps you easily reset your WordPress database. It doesn’t delete or change in any way the website files (themes, plugins, etc.). While it is packed with useful features, you should also know from the get-go is that it currently doesn’t support Multisite installation.
So, without further ado, let’s get started! The first thing you’ll need to do is install and activate Advanced WordPress Reset on your website.
Go to your Dashboard → Plugins → Add New in your WordPress and search for ‘Advanced WordPress Reset.’
Click Install Now and then Activate the plugin as you typically would with other plugins.
Next, go to Tools → Advanced WP Reset in your WordPress dashboard, just like in the image below:
Click on it and you’ll see the main screen where you can reset the database.
Notice the warning and information before you do anything:
- Warning: If you reset your WordPress website, you’ll lose all database data and receive a fresh WordPress install (you will lose all posts and pages)
- Information: The reset won’t delete the plugins and themes, but you’ll have to manually reactivate them after the reset. The current Admin user will be recreated with the current password. Advanced WordPress Reset will redirect you to the login page after the reset completes.
To reset your website, simply type the word ‘reset’ into the confirmation field and then click Reset database, just like in the image below:
Once the plugin resets your site, it will prompt you to sign into the WordPress dashboard again.
After you log into your freshly reset WordPress website, check to see the results. Click on Posts in the WordPress dashboard.
Notice how the website is now back to its original WordPress “Hello World” post:
The same goes for the Pages section. The only page that remains after a site reset is the Sample Page:
However, the plugins you previously had on your website before the reset are still there. You just need to reactivate them.
Reset your WordPress database manually
Another method to reset your WordPress database is to do it via phpMyAdmin. Depending on your web hosting provider, you can access phpMyAdmin through server programs such as cPanel, Plesk, Direct Admin, vDeck, etc.
If you don’t know where to find phpMyAdmin, contact your hosting provider to guide you through.
We’ll explain how to delete your database via cPanel.
Log in to your cPanel and look for phpMyAdmin. You should find it under DATABASES, just like in the image below:
Click on the Databases tab on top of the page and then on the database you want to delete.
A list with all the tables will open:
Check the “Check all” box to select all the tables and click on the little arrow from the “With selected” option. Choose the Drop option in the menu and then on the Yes button, to confirm.
If you click on the Drop option, the tables will be deleted entirely. There’s also the possibility to opt for the Empty option, which is right above the Drop one. The Empty tool will only delete the content of the table and leave it empty, but the table will still exist.
How to manually reset the WordPress website files
Once you’ve downloaded and installed FileZilla, connect to your server. Then, look for the public_html folder and open it:
Inside the public_html folder you’ll find (among others), the wp-content folder. Click on it to open it. Delete everything in that folder, except for the plugins, themes, uploads folders and for the index.php file. Instead, open these 3 folders and just empty the content in them, but don’t delete the folders themselves.
After that, you should be left with:
A final thought
To sum it up, while we hope you don’t have to reset your WordPress website, it is nevertheless useful to know how to do it.
This guide teaches you how to start fresh with your WordPress site, in the quickest and easiest possible ways. Our advice is to use a plugin to reset your WordPress website.
🥇 We recommend WP Reset as the best plugin for the job. It is a feature-rich tool that offers both a free and a PRO version. The plugin allows you to delete the database but keep your website files. It also lets you create a snapshot of your website, in case you want to restore to a previous version after the reset.
🥈 If all you want to do is reset your WordPress database in the quickest possible way, Advanced WordPress Reset is also a good option to consider. It is as simple and straightforward as it gets: you just type in “reset” and click on a button.