Deleting Default Themes from WordPress 3.8.1

One of the things I learned at a WordPress training session led by Kate Brodock of Syracuse University was that when you’re running your own instance of WordPress, you should clean out extraneous WordPress themes. This has a couple benefits, including saving server space. More importantly, for me, it prevents WordPress from constantly informing me that there are updates available for a bunch of themes I’m not using!

How to Delete Themes

It is not difficult to delete the themes that come installed with WordPress automatically, but it is not immediately obvious either. The delete option is not well-placed. (The following instructions were written for WordPress 3.8.1.)

  1. Sign in to your WordPress dashboard.
  2. Navigate to Appearance >> Themes.
  3. Hover over the theme you’d like to delete, and click on it.
    Cursor hovering over a theme in WordPress
  4. At the bottom right of the pop-up window you will find the delete button, being all inconspicuous and whatnot. Click it to finish the deed!
    Location of delete button highlighted in bottom right of screenshot

Why Should I Delete Unused Themes?

When I installed WordPress, it came with over 10 different free themes, none of which I was going to use, as I had already decided I would pay the modest fee to buy the Ciola theme from Themeforest. And of course, I was so gung-ho to get started, I didn’t listen to the lesson from Kate Brodock, and left all the free themes in place.

Fast forward a month, and I find that WordPress is informing that I have 12 different updates in my queue, all of which were for unused themes. This was an annoyance more than a problem — it meant that every time my update list increased, I had to determine whether the new update was for something useful, like a plugin, or just another theme in that bucket.

Finally I got fed up and decided to delete the old themes, and believe it or not, I struggled for a moment before turning to Google to find the answer.

As you can tell from the directions above, deleting the themes is not hard (and they can always be added back!), but I did have to look it up. And if you’re reading this, you did too.

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