WordPress, with its extensive plugin ecosystem, offers users the flexibility to enhance their websites with various functionalities. However, there are instances when a problematic plugin can disrupt your site’s normal operation, making it impossible to access the wp-admin dashboard. In such situations, it becomes crucial to know alternative methods to deactivate plugins and regain control of your website. In this guide, we’ll explore step-by-step instructions on how to deactivate WordPress plugins when faced with the challenge of being unable to access the wp-admin panel.

Understanding the Issue:

Before diving into the solutions, it’s essential to understand why you might be locked out of your wp-admin dashboard. This can happen due to conflicts between plugins, themes, or even after a WordPress update. The goal is to identify the root cause so that you can apply the appropriate solution.

Method 1: Using FTP (File Transfer Protocol):

  1. Access Your Website Files:
    Use an FTP client like FileZilla to connect to your website’s server. You’ll need your FTP credentials, which are usually provided by your hosting provider.
  2. Navigate to the Plugins Folder:
    Once connected, go to the “wp-content” directory and locate the “plugins” folder.
  3. Deactivate the Problematic Plugin:
    Find the folder corresponding to the plugin causing issues and rename it. This action deactivates the plugin since WordPress won’t recognize the renamed folder.
  4. Check Your Website:
    After renaming the folder, try accessing your website. If the issue was caused by the plugin, your site should be accessible now.

Method 2: Using phpMyAdmin:

  1. Access Your Database:
    Log in to your hosting account and open phpMyAdmin. Select your WordPress database from the left-hand menu.
  2. Locate the “wp_options” Table:
    Find the table named “wp_options” (the prefix may vary based on your WordPress installation). Look for the “active_plugins” option.
  3. Edit the “active_plugins” Value:
    Click on “Edit” next to the “active_plugins” option. In the field for option_value, you’ll find a serialized list of active plugins. Delete the problematic plugin entry and click “Go” to save.
  4. Check Your Website:
    Attempt to access your website again. If the issue was plugin-related, you should now be able to log in to the wp-admin dashboard.

Method 3: Reverting to the Default Theme:

  1. Access Your Theme Files:
    Similar to the FTP method, use an FTP client to access your website’s files. Navigate to “wp-content/themes” and rename your current theme’s folder.
  2. Check Your Website:
    With the theme deactivated, try accessing your website. If the problem is theme-related, WordPress will automatically switch to a default theme.


Deactivating WordPress plugins when unable to access wp-admin requires a systematic approach, as outlined in this guide. By utilizing FTP, phpMyAdmin, or reverting to the default theme, you can troubleshoot and resolve issues stemming from problematic plugins. Remember to identify the root cause before applying a solution to ensure a smoother and more efficient resolution process.