I have been using WordPress for almost 4 years and have collected a number of database tables, plugin specific directories, and miscellaneous junk along the way on a number of my sites. I wanted to take some time and really do some spring cleaning. After a few hours – I was very pleased with the results and I wanted to share what worked for me.
Here are the steps I recommend to really clean out a WordPress installation:
- Make a backup of everything. You never know what you are going to get into – and a backup is very important incase things go bad.
- Make a test installation. I always use a test server when I know I am going to make several changes. This way, jappler.com was not down while I was testing and cleaning up. With your backup files, import your database on the test server, and grab the latest version of WordPress (hopefully using subversion)
- Remove old or unused plugin database tables. I then went into the WordPress database and removed (dropped) any tables that were created by any of my old or unused plugins that were still hanging around.
- Weed out old, unused plugins. I went through my plugins and deleted any old or unused plugins. I had a few “I should really use this” plugins that were never used – and to tidy up – I deleted them before uploading them to the test server environment. Make sure to also remove any files/folders that old plugins might have used in the root folder and or wp-content.
- Move your theme over. Upload the theme file over to the test server.
- Move your uploads over/miscellaneous files. Upload the uploads folder (wp-content) so you will have all your old uploads.
- Update WordPress. Run through the upgrade process (/wp-admin/upgrade.php).
- Debug your plugins. Log in, create a test post to make sure you can write to the database without any errors. I ran into a few problems with this, so I deactivated my plugins and activated them one by one. I found I had a few plugins that were not compatible with WordPress 2.3, but there were updates available, so I updated my plugins and moved on.
- Import Tags (if you have them). I used Ultimate Tag Warrior and WordPress has an import option for that (Manage > Import) for that.
- Display your WordPress tags in your WordPress theme. Now that tagging is available within WordPress without any plugins, you can easily display tags by using: You can also use a tag cloud (see Codex documentation)
- Make another backup. I always make another backup of my sites when I am happy with the end result – just incase something happened – I would not lose all my hard work.
- Enjoy your updated installation. Hey – you did it! A clean, lean, updated web site. Nice work. Now go and enjoy it!