How to Reset a WordPress Site – Beginner’s Guide

WordPress is a robust and reliable CMS but there are times when you encounter issues with your installation. At such moments, you might just want to start with a clean slate. You might also consider resetting your WordPress site to try out a new theme on a staging stage. Or you just want to test the compatibility of some plugins in your sandbox.

You must be wondering why not delete WordPress and re-install it? Yes, that’s possible but it is such a hassle and tedious task. Instead, why not reset WordPress and return to the initial state when you first installed it?

Thankfully, you can easily reset your WordPress site. All your data including contents, themes, plugins, media, etc. can be wipeout in a few clicks. In the end, you will have clean slate to start with.

Without further delay, let’s learn how to reset your WordPress site.

How to reset a WordPress site?

The easiest way to quickly reset WordPress is with the free WP Reset plugin. This plugin cleans out all posts, pages, custom posts types, comments, default and custom database tables or anything else you might have added to your site. The plugins also allow to selectively reset different options and folders on your site.

Before you begin, you can take a backup in case you might need it in the future. To begin, you need to install the plugin. If you are beginner, you can refer to step by step guide to install a WordPress plugin.

Install WP Reset Plugin

To install the plugin, from your dashboard navigate to Plugins > Add New. Search for “wp reset” and look for WP Reset in the search results. When you see it, click on the Install Now button and then on the Activate button.

Installing and activating WP Reset - reset WordPress site
Installing and activating WP Reset

Once the plugin is active on your site, you can prepare to reset everything.

Reset Your WordPress Site

Since this plugin doesn’t make any backup, you might consider creating a backup of your site. In case you regret your decision, you can restore everything to the previous state.

WP Reset comes with a safety mechanism that prevents you from resetting your site by clicking a button.

Before you proceed, please make sure you understand what will be deleted as there is NO UNDO button.

Resetting will delete:

  • all posts, pages, custom post types, comments, media entries, users
  • all default WP database tables
  • all custom database tables that have the same prefix “wp_” as default tables in this installation

Resetting will not delete:

  • media files – they’ll remain in the wp-uploads folder but will no longer be listed under Media
  • no files are touched; plugins, themes, uploads – everything stays
  • site title, WordPress address, site address, site language, and search engine visibility settings
  • logged in user will be restored with the current password

Once you understand everything and ready to proceed, you can follow the below steps:

  1. Navigate to Tools > WP Reset
  2. Read all the information once again
  3. Scroll down to the bottom of the page till you see Reset section
  4. Type in “reset” and click on the “Reset WordPress” button.
  5. Confirm the reset.
Resetting a WordPress Site

At this point, your site is reset. You can visit your site to verify it. Your website is returned to the initial state when you first installed WordPress.

Choose Reset Actions

Before proceeding with reset button, you can specify WP Reset plugin what to do after reset. You get three different options as shown in the screenshot below.

Reset actions - reset WordPress site
Reset Options

If you want to continue using the same theme, you can checkmark Reactivate current Theme option. Similarly, if you have dozens of plugins activated that you want to activate again, you should checkmark Reactivate all currently active plugins option. If you plan on using the currently active themes and plugins, these options can save your time.

Selective Reset Actions

In addition to full reset, WP Reset also include a feature to reset certain part of your WordPress site. You can use it if you don’t want to reset your whole site. This feature can be accessed under the Tools tab.

WP Reset Selective Reset actions - reset WordPress site
WP Reset Selective Reset actions

It allows you to reset the following:

  • Delete Transients: All transient related database entries will be deleted. Including expired and non-expired transients, and orphaned transient timeout entries.
  • Clean Uploads Folder: All files in /wp-content/uploads folder will be deleted. Including folders and subfolders, and files in subfolders. Files associated with media entries will be deleted too.
  • Reset Theme Options: All options (mods) for all themes will be reset.
  • Delete Themes: It will help you delete all the themes you have installed on the site. This includes the currently active theme.
  • Delete Plugins: This button will delete all the installed plugins except WP Reset which will be activated.
  • Empty or Delete Custom Tables: This action affects only custom tables with wp_ prefix. Core WP tables and other tables in the database that do not have that prefix will not be deleted/emptied. Deleting (dropping) tables completely removes them from the database. Emptying (truncating) removes all content from them, but keeps the structure intact.
  • Delete .htaccess File: If you have tempered your .htaccess file, you can use this button to delete it. After deleting this file, make sure you set the Permalinks under Settings > Permalinks for recreating the original .htaccess file.

Before & After

After resetting your WordPress site, all your posts, pages, media, etc are deleted. The site switches back to the default WordPress theme.

Here’s the preview of before and after reset.

Before Site Reset - reset WordPress site
Before Site Reset

Here you can see this site with posts, pages, sidebar widgets and much more.

After Site Reset - reset WordPress site
After Site Reset

This is the result after reset. You can see that the default Twenty Nineteen WordPress theme is activated instead of Vilva Pro that is used on this site.

Final Thoughts

Resetting a WordPress site is usually done while testing or restoring from a backup or you want to revamp your site. While you can manually reset by deleting all the posts, pages, themes, plugins, etc, WP Reset is handy and speed up the reset process. With a single click of a button, you can reset your WordPress site and save your valuable time.

I hope you enjoyed this article and learned how to reset a WordPress site easily. If you find this useful, please share this with others.

Do you use any other methods or plugin to reset WordPress? Or any questions about resetting a WordPress site? Let me know in the comment section below.

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