What happens when you Deactivate a WordPress Plugin

Although WordPress plugins help site owners extend their web functionality, managing them creates site instabilities, performance issues, and cache problems. This article will explore plugin deactivation in WordPress and learn what happens when you deactivate a WordPress plugin.

For example, you’ll explore measures that affect your site’s cache and speed, such as “what happens after you’ve deactivated a plugin responsible for speed on your WordPress website.”

What happens when you disable a WordPress Plugin?

Note: Plugin deactivation in WordPress also refers to “Plugin Disabling.” Also, ensure you’ve taken your site’s backup before disabling or removing a WordPress plugin. A backup plan helps you quickly restore and make your site go online with previous conditions.

Here is a list of measures, effects, and consequences you face after you’ve disabled a WordPress plugin.


Plugin deactivation in WordPress stops its respective functionality in WordPress.

For example, disabling a page-building plugin affects displaying of custom-designed page templates in WordPress. When this happens, WordPress starts showing pages in native design, controlled mainly by a Theme applied on a website. Such routines undoubtedly affect page performance in WordPress areas, such as design, functionality, and display.

Regarding functionality in WordPress, disabling specific plugins may affect your site’s performance, such as site speed. In this case, disabling a poorly-designed plugin that affects your site speed hurts your site’s performance. Such scenarios are concluded after testing, managing, or deactivating a specific plugin on a WordPress website.

Similarly, some plugins alter database entries when they are deactivated. Database entries with bloated, old, and outdated information are left behind when this happens.

Management of Plugins

Disabling a specific plugin shows improper management of plugins in WordPress.

Although deactivated plugins stop affecting the site’s performance, such plugins exist in the WordPress core directories on the web server.

In this scenario, plugins are exploited with security issues if they are not updated to the newer versions – even if they are deactivated.

For example, WordPress repositories include lists of WordPress vulnerabilities, such as WP Scan. Here, you can find a list of vulnerable plugins used for WordPress sites.

Deactivation of Theme-dependent Plugins

Some plugins are Theme-dependent and work together with a WordPress theme. In other words, some themes include a bunch of officially-supplied plugins.

In this case, when it comes to a plugin’s deactivation, it may affect the performance of a WordPress theme – too.

For example, Cheer Up is a WordPress theme for bloggers and fashion designers and contains many recommended plugins, such as Thumbnails Generator.

In the case of Cheer Up, if you disable an officially-recommended plugin, Cheer Up may stop functioning, as directed by developers, such as Image Optimization plugin for Cheer Up.

Similarly, theme-dependent plugins always affect a site’s functionality to handle images, content, or data, as we addressed an example for the Cheer Up theme.

If, in case, a Theme suggests removing a specific plugin after you’ve used it for data integration, importing, or image optimization, you can proceed to change respective options accordingly. For example, Cheer Up suggests removing Bunyad Import once you’ve successfully imported a premade layout in Cheer Up.

Deactivation of plugins that provide integration with 3rd party Tools

Let’s discuss what happens when you disable a WordPress plugin that integrates with a 3rd party tool, such as an Email marketing tool.

Disabling integration-based plugins could result in severe conditions. For example, disabling ConvertKit’s plugin in WordPress – an email marketing tool with a plugin for WordPress; results in losing integration between ConvertKit and a WordPress website.

In such scenarios, data integration would become impossible, useless, and unreliable in WordPress. WordPress stops showing ConvertKit’s landing pages once you’ve turned the ConvertKit plugin off. Also, WordPress starts showing pages in its native design layouts. You can expect WordPress to stop showing ConvertKit’s forms placed in pages, posts, or custom templates.

Similarly, plugins that work with an API require re-integration if you’ve disabled them for a reason. Here, API errors often create problems in accessing data from other tools.

Disabling of plugins that provide real-time results on a WordPress website

If you disable a plugin that provides results on a live site, your site may go offline.

Take the example of caching plugins. Once you’ve deactivated a cache plugin, such as W3 Total Cache, your site will stop serving cache versions of pages, posts, and landing pages. Once this happens, your site could experience speed issues – too.

In the above example, a cache plugin will re-scan, manage, and change new pages once you’ve re-activated a cache plugin. Meanwhile, certain WordPress pages could experience downtime for new users.

Deactivation of culprit plugins

Disabling culprit plugin(s) helps you find and fix bugs in WordPress-based websites.

For example, disabling 3rd party plugins helps you find and fix errors in data integration. Similarly, if you’re testing various plugins for site speed, you may need to check multiple candidates for improved performance.

So, the deactivation of culprit plugins fixes issues in most cases. You can proceed to manage plugins once you’ve identified a plugin causing problems on a WordPress site.

Professional Tips

If you need to disable a specific plugin, here is a list of tips to consider before deactivating. The following tips help you avoid possible errors caused by deactivating a plugin in WordPress. So, let’s proceed to learn consequences of what happens when you deactivate a WordPress Plugin.

  • A WordPress site stops loading a plugin’s assets once you’ve performed the deactivation process, such as script files.
  • After deactivating a plugin, WordPress still allows you to re-activate it. The process of reactivation restores a plugin with custom settings you’ve made.
  • Deactivating a plugin is necessary for bug-fixing routines. Sometimes, you’ll need to disable a plugin for temporary purposes.
  • On deactivation, some plugins start deleting previous data. Such conditions could turn your site into maintenance mode.
  • Disabled plugins can still access sensitive data stored in a WordPress database. Having that clarified, even if you’ve disabled a plugin, your site is at risk if something goes wrong.
  • Be aware of possible consequences if you plan to make several plugins stop working. You can achieve disabling multiple plugins in the Hosting cPanel options, such as renaming the “Plugins” directory will disable, alter, or change all plugins on a WordPress website.


So, what happens when you deactivate a WordPress Plugin?

Disabling a WordPress plugin doesn’t remove data from a site. However, such routines make a plugin go offline.

Deactivating a WordPress plugin triggers specific conditions on a WordPress site, such as concerns about security, site speed, and site performance.

Last, you can only change a WordPress plugin once you’ve assessed the possible consequences. For example, as described in the article above, disabling page-building plugins in WordPress affects custom-designed pages, posts, and landing pages.

The idea of what could take affection depends on a plugin’s dependencies. For example, if a specific plugin controls site widgets, images, and custom design, disabling the plugin will affect everything on a WordPress website. We meant this while discussing the consequences of a plugin’s deactivation in WordPress.

For more information on dealing plugin’s consequences in WordPress, please let us know. We provide on-demand support for WordPress maintenance, support, and bug fixing.

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