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Disabling And Enabling All WordPress Plugins Via The Database


If you start having problems with your Wordpress website, like the site shows blank, or worse, your WordPress admin login page is only showing a blank screen, it could be due to an issue with one or more plugins that are installed into your WordPress site. This can be due to a plugin that is not compatible with the currently installed theme.  It can also be related to the version of WordPress having been recently updated, but the developer of the plugin has not provided an update to be compatible.

You are able to determine if a plugin is causing the issue by disabling all plugins temporally. 

It is recommended to first backup your WordPress database using phpMyAdmin (accessed from your hosting control panel, like WHW1's cpanel) prior to making changes to the database.  It is also suggested downloading the backups after they are made and not keeping old backups on the server in order to avoid your disk space unnecessarily consumed.

1) Determine Name Of Your WP Database

Find out which database is associated with your WordPress installation.  If you have more than one WP installed site, then it is important that you get the correct database name for the WordPress site that you want to change.  These instruction help you determine that database name, and it is specifically for using cpanel:

  1. Log into your hosting control panel, cPanel.

    Cpanel Login

  2. Select the File Manager icon.

    File Manager
  3. Check the box to show hidden files and, select website root (public_html).

    File Manager Directory Selection With Show Hidden Files Checked And Web Root Selected.

  4. Click Go.
  5. Inside File Manager, select the the wp-config.php file; if done correctly, it will highlight.

    wp-config.php selection

  6. Right-click and select Code Edit.

    File Manager Right Mouse Click Menu.

  7. Next, click Edit.

    Code Editor Window With Edit Circled.

  8. Make note of the database name by looking for a line that looks similar to this:

    Domain could be a form or portion of the actual domain name or your cPanel username.  In this example, the database name is domain_wrdp1.


2) To Disable All Plugins

  1. Go to cPanel main page.
  2. Click on the phpMyAdmin icon to open it.

    Cpanel Database section with PHPMyAdmin circled.

  3. On the left-hand menu, select the database name you determined from the above instructions. If you only have one database, such as only one WP site, then there will be nothing to select on the left menu because it will automatically select the single database, and you can go to the next step.
  4. Click wp_options.

    PhpMyAdmin Listing WordPress Database Tables With wp_options circled.

  5. In the options table, find the option_name column and locate active_plugins line.  (If you need to, click on the > at the bottom of the page to view more columns.)

    Edit active_plugins.

  6. On the line of active_plugins, click edit. You will see something similar to this:


  7. Highlight the entire content of the field box, and copy it onto a safe place first. Such as a text file on your local computer, and then delete it from the box.

  8. After deleting the table content, click Go.

Congratulations! You have now disabled all plugins, BUT they are still installed and still have all their option settings.

To re-enable plugins using this database modification method, follow the above steps and paste the box content, you deleted earlier, back into the box field of step 5, and then click Go to save the changes.

3) Determine The Problem Plugin

To determine which plugin is causing the problem, enable each plugin one at a time, following the instructions below:

  1. Go to your WordPress admin login page and refresh/reload the page.

    WordPress Login Page.

  2. Log in to your WordPress site.
  3. Go to Plugins >> Installed Plugins.

    WordPress (WP) Plugins >> Installed Plugins selected.

  4. Enable one plugin.

    Activate A WordPress Plugin.

  5. Go to your website and refresh the page.
  6. If the problem reoccurs, then you have determined the problem plugin, otherwise repeat steps 4 and 5 until you encounter a plugin that causes the previous problem with your website.


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  • Guest - Nuno Pinto da Cruz


    My name is Nuno and I'm a graphic designer.
    I made a wordpress website via a template. As I wasn't accessing the dashboard I tried, via phpMyAdmin, to deactivate all plugins (including woocommerce) pasting the text "a:0:{}" in the "active plugin" option name.
    As it didn't solve the problem I pasted the original text in the active plugin, but for some reason "a:0:{}" is still there and I do not have the original text anymore.
    So now no plugin works on my website and I have no idea how to active them again. I have the php files of every plugin.
    I need at least to reinstall woocommerce to be able to access my dashboard.

    Nuno Pinto da Cruz

    Comment last edited on about 3 years ago by Super User
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  • Hi Nuno. Step 2)7 stated to copy the contents and then delete all it's contents to disable.

    If you have a copy of the WP database, then you can open it with a simple text editor like Notepad or if you got Web Hosting With $1 hosting (, then use the Edit or Code Edit of the File Manager tool (refer to image on step 1,6 above), and locate the original content of the active_plugins.

    Hopefully, your usage of "dashboard" is meaning the WP dashboard (control panel or back office).

    The steps above indicate to first disable all, and then access the WordPress back office/dashboard/control panel, and then active (enable) as shown above on steps 3)1 to 3)6.

    If you just want to put all the plugins back, then read the paragraph above that starts with "To re-enable plugins" below 2)8 section.

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  • Guest - abdum

    You could use this tool instead of the complicated phpMyAdmin:

    Just upload the file and use it to disable any plugin.

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  • Thanks Abdum. I am very comfortable with phpMyAdmin, and the above article info should help anyone to use phpMyAdmin. But I get your point as a possible alternative.

    NOTE TO ANYONE considering that external link. I have not tried that script, but seems useful. Warning: Leaving that file script on your site's file system is dangerous and it should be removed, or moved, and permissions disabled after you are done with it.

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