How to Delete a WordPress Site Permanently (WP.com & WP.org)

Do you want to know how to delete a WordPress site?

Maybe you started a blog on WordPress.com, and now you know that you should be using a self-hosted WordPress website for your blog-based business.

Or you might already have a self-hosted website, but you want to delete it and start over again from scratch.

Whatever your reason, in this tutorial, I will show you how to delete both types of WordPress websites, step by step.

Use the links below to jump to the appropiate tutorial for your needs.

The Blog Mechanic helps new WordPress users, non-techie bloggers, and busy website owners with WordPress. See my services or contact me.

How to Delete a WordPress Site From WordPress.com

Permanently deleting a WordPress site from WordPress.com can be done in three easy steps. Or two steps if you don’t have a custom domain name.

Let’s get started.

Step 1: Export Your Content

Even though you’ve decided to delete your site completely and right now you might not have any use for the content on it, that may change in the future.

So, first, I recommend exporting the content and saving the XML file on your computer, just in case you do change your mind at a later time.

That way you can import the content to another WordPress website if needed.

To export the file, from the WP Admin dashboard, go to Tools >> Export

You will be taken to WordPress.com where you can export your content and media library items (images, pdf files, video, audio, etc).

Click the export all button to download your pages, posts, categories, comments, and tags.

Then, click the download button to download files in the media library.

Upon completion, WordPress will email a copy of the download links to you.

Step 2: Got a Custom Domain Name? (Do This)

If you don’t have a custom domain name for your WordPress website (e.g. something.com) you can go straight to step three.

But if you bought a custom domain name from WordPress, you cannot delete a WordPress site until you’ve completed this step.

If you try to delete your site before completing this step, WordPress will tell you it’s not possible because the site is on a custom domain.

So, first, you’ll need to move your domain name to another domain registrar. I recommend NameCheap.

Moving your domain name to a new registrar is a two-step process. This tutorial walks you through the steps.

In most cases, it takes up to 5 days for the domain transfer to complete. If desired, while you wait, you can put your site in private mode. That way no one can see it.

To make the site private, login to WordPress.com and go to Manage >> Settings.

Now scroll down to the privacy section and select private. Then save your changes.

You can keep the site in private mode until the domain transfer is complete. After that, you can delete the site following the steps below.

Step 3: Delete Your WordPress Site

To delete your site, login to your WordPress.com account.

Go to Manage >> Settings and scroll down to the site tools section at the very bottom of the page.

how to delete a wordpress site screenshot

Click anywhere inside the ‘delete your site permanently’ section to open up the settings.

As you can see, WordPress is prompting you to export your content first, but we’ve already done that. So you can skip that step and click the delete site button.

WordPress will then ask you to confirm your request. Type in the URL to confirm and click the delete button.

You will see a notification letting you know that your site is being deleted.

And that’s it. That is how to delete a WordPress site on WordPress.com

If you found this tutorial useful and you’d like to learn how to create a self-hosted WordPress website, check out my free guide on how to start a WordPress blog.

How to Delete a Self Hosted WordPress Site Permanently

There are a few different ways to delete a self-hosted website. The method you use depends on how you installed WordPress.

If you installed WordPress via cPanel using an auto-installer software like Softaculous, you should use the software to delete it.

But if you installed WordPress manually via cPanel or FTP, then you’ll need to delete the site files from the server manually using cPanel or FTP.

First though, I recommend backing the site up. You can use Updraft. That way, if you change your mind later and want to restore the site, you can.

When you’ve made a full website backup of your files and database, and stored them safely away from damage, let’s continue.

How to Delete a WordPress Site Using cPanel’s Auto-Installer Software

If you did install WordPress via cPanel using an auto-installer software like Softaculous, the first thing you need to do is login to your web hosting cPanel area.

In most cases, you login to cPanel at your domain name forward slash cpanel, like this: theblogmechanic.com/cpanel

I’m using SiteGround. If you’re using another web host, the cPanel area may look a little different, but the steps are the same. You should still be able to follow along.

Look for a section named Autoinstallers or Software, and click the Softaculous or the WordPress icon.

On the next page look for a list of current installations. Like this …

If you see your domain name on the list, then WordPress was installed with the auto-installer. To delete it, just click the red cross and follow the prompts.

If your domain name is not listed, then your WordPress site has been installed manually via cPanel or FTP. You’ll need to follow one of those tutorials.

Note: not all web hosts have cPanel access, but most do. If yours doesn’t, you’ll need to follow the FTP tutorial below. If it does, follow the cPanel tutorial.

How to Delete a WordPress Site Manually Via cPanel

To manually delete your site using cPanel, login and go to Files >> File Manager.

When you click the file manager icon, some options will appear. Click the Go button.

On the next screen, if you only have one domain name, select all the WordPress files (wp-admin to xmlprc.php) and click the delete icon to delete them.

Tip: to select all the files, first select the top file. Hold down the shift key and then select the last file. That will select all the files in between.

If however, you have multiple domain names on your web hosting account, double click the folder (called the directory) where WordPress is installed.

That will open the folder. Then, select all the WordPress files and click the delete button, the same way I explained above.

And that’s it! You now know how to delete a WordPress site manually using cPanel.

If this tutorial has helped you, let me know in the comments box below and kindly share it on social media.

How to Delete a WordPress Site Manually Using FTP

To delete your site manually using FTP, you’ll need to download and install an FTP software. I recommend FileZilla. It’s free and it works on Mac and Windows.

Once installed, login using your FTP account details. If you don’t know where to find those details, contact your web host to retrieve them.

When the software connects to your server, this is what it looks like …

On the left side, you see a list of all the files and folders on your computer.

On the right side, are all the files and folders on your server.

If you only have one domain name, on the right side of FileZilla, click wp-admin to select it. Hold down the shift key on your keyword and scroll to the bottom …

Then with your mouse, left-click the xmlrpc.php file. That will select all the files in between so you don’t have to delete them one at a time.

Hold down the control key on your keyboard and left-click your mouse.

Some options will appear. Click delete and wait until all the files are gone from the right side of FileZilla.

But if you have more than one domain name the steps are a little different. You don’t have to select all the WordPress files. You just need to delete the site folder.

On the right side, select the folder where your site is installed by clicking it once. Hold down shift and left-click your mouse. Select delete.

And that’s it! That is how to delete a WordPress site manually using FTP.

Note: it takes several minutes or more for WordPress files to delete when using FTP. You might want to grab yourself a drink while you wait.

Conclusion

I hope this article has helped you learn how to delete a WordPress site.

I have showed you how to delete a WordPress.com website and a self-hosted WordPress.org site.

If this tutorial has helped you, or you have any questions, let me know in the comments box below. And share it on your preferred social media site.

Leave a Comment