plugin options mainDid you know that when you delete a plugin from WordPress dashboard, it may not necessary meant the complete removal of the unwanted plugin? The reason is because the plugin developer did not take the effort to create a proper un-installation script for the plugins. As a result, your WordPress database table wp_options get bloated with unwanted plugin options. Your plugin’s options are mainly settings and data stored in your wp_options table.

wp_options database table typically contains settings and data on:

  • theme,
  • blog (e.g. siteurl, blog name, blog description),
  • post, widget, thumbnails,
  • plugins, and more

If you are curious and want to know more about the structure of WordPress databases, you can read more here.

Before we begin

Do ensure that you have done the full backup on your blog files and database, be you start to remove wordpress plugin options. Also, we can only delete plugin options when the unwanted plugin is already deleted from your blog.

This guide will show you two ways on how to remove your WordPress plugin options from the wp_options table:

  • either using phpMyAdmin,
  • or WordPress plugins that are designed to clean up wp_options.

Let’s start!

Using phpMyAdmin to Remove Obsolete Plugin Options

  1. To remove obsolete plugin settings/options from our wp_options table, we need to login to our hosting account control panel first.
  2. In this example, the screenshots below are shown from Hostgator cPanel. It should be similar to your web hosting account too. Once you have login to your hosting control, look for phpMyAdmin, and click to access.phpmyadmin
  3. Click on the + sign located on the left-hand side of phpMyAdmin. This will expand and show you all the tables available. Look for the table wp_options.phpmyadmin expand
  4. From the wp_options page, you will see rows and rows of data (see picture below). To remove obsolete plugin options, you need to go through the list to identify those suspicious ones. If you have knowledge on what are the plugins options to delete (e.g. plugins that you recently deactivated & transients options), you can quickly get down to it by using Filter Rows.
    phpmyadmin wp-options
  5. Once you found the row containing the obsolete plugin option, click on Delete (located within the row) to remove it.
  6. As this may be tedious and prone to errors, we usually recommend a quicker way which is to use Wordpress plugins that are designed to clean and optimize databases. Read on further for more information and how-to.

Using WordPress Plugin to Remove your Obsolete Plugin Options

There are a number of WordPress plugins that you can use to clean up, however in this guide, I will be illustrating with WP Sweep.

  1. Install WP Sweep if you have not, then access it from your WordPress dashboard, Tools > Sweep.remove wordpress plugin options
  2. Within the WP Sweep dashboard, scroll down and look for Option SweepThe WP Sweep plugin will show you the number of transient options. Once you are certain the options are no longer in use, you can proceed to remove them by clicking on the button Sweep.
    wp opt 2
  3. Repeat the process regularly, or whenever you need to, to weed out obsolete plugin options.

Final Thoughts

Constant optimizing and cleaning up WordPress blog are necessary routines and cannot be over emphasized. Since you are on this, you should optimize and clean-up your database further by removing obsolete or orphaned tables.

Last but not least, if have the intention to re-install and use the WordPress plugin again, then probably you may just want to have it status quo.



Lincoln is a fan of Apple products, loves red wine and traveling. He blogs on internet marketing, social media, wordpress tips & guides, and using technology to maximize efficiency. Follow him on Twitter or Facebook for regular updates.

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