How to completely remove W3 Total cache plugin

W3 total cache is really a make or break plugin. Either it will give you amazing experience or will become a nightmare for you. I had been using this plugin for such a long time in my multiple websites and never had any issue until I shifted two of my blogs to a new host. I noticed that it’s started clashing with other plugins and website is not responding well like it should be. And in another website, like it is eating almost all hosting resources resulting poor over all pool sites performance. (In that shared hosting)

remove w3 total cache


You may face a different issues like:

  1. Permalink is not working after plugin up-gradation
  2. Your site is completely broken down
  3. Not compatible with your hosting resulting poor performance.

Anyways, whatever the reason is, the bottom line is you want to get rid of w3 Total Cache, right? I started doing the same but while uninstalling, found out it’s not like any other plugin that could be completely removed by deactivating and deleting from WP. It is such a strong plugin, even after un-installation from WordPress, it leaves lot of foot prints in your server. You need to remove them manually to completely uninstall w3 total cache.

In this tutorial I’ll guide you ever step it requires to completely remove W3 total cache plugin from your WordPress blog.

Steps to remove W3 Total Cache:

Step #1:

Log in to your WordPress dashboard and navigate to Performance > General Settings. Make sure you disable(uncheck) every cache unit i.e ‘Page cache’, Minify’, ‘Database Cache’ etc  before you deactivate W3 total cache and hit save button. Without disabling all these options if you deactivate and delete this plugin there could be chances it will leave lot of codes in your .htaccess file.

Remove w3 total cache completely


Step #2:

Now navigate to plugin, deactivate W3 Total cache and then delete.

Step #3:

If it were any other plugin, you wouldn’t need to do anything else. The plugin should be gone completely without any patch mark. But for W3 Total Cache you need to do some more cleaning.

Now it’s time to go to your site’s root directory by login to your hosting panel. Go to File manage>select your domain > ‘wp-content’ and delete the followings files:

  • db.php
  • advanced-cache.php
  • w3-total-cache-config.php

There is a possibility that you may not see all of them. So if you find only one or two, just delete them. I would recommend taking a back up of your ‘wp-content’ file. So if you wrongly delete any file and your website crashes down, you can always restore the working version.

There could be another three directories in the same folder;

  • w3tc-config
  • w3tc
  • Cache

Delete them as well.

Step #4

You have deleted all the files which were associated with W3 Total cache. Now you should check .htaccess file in your site’s root directory whether there are still any commend left which were configured by W3 Total cache. If you find any, do remove those commends. Again you should create a back up of .htaccess file before making any changes there.

Step #5 – Optional

I would not recommend you to do this step unless you decide not to use any other cache plugin like ZenCache. Cache plugins are very useful. Though you might have bad experience with W3 Total cache but till you should use one cache plugin like WP Super Cache or Zencache.

But if you think you have had enough, go to the root directory of your site again and edit ‘wp-config.php‘ file. It is one of the key WordPress files so take a backup in your local drive before you do anything with it.

Now try to locate this line ‘define (WP_CACHE’, true);’ It should be within first 4-5 lines. Once you find that, either you can delete the entire line or can change it to ‘define (WP_CACHE’, false);’

Word of caution: Again, you would not want to do this step if you are going to switch to another cache plugin. Because this commend will conflict and won’t let any other cache plugin to work unless you change it again from ‘wp-config.php file’.

Wrapping it up:

Well, W3 Total Cache plugin is undoubtedly one of the most useful and reliable plugin out there. There are plenty of people using this plugin without facing any issue. I would suggest you to give it a second thought before uninstalling. Instead of deleting, whatever issue W3 Total cache is creating, just try to find the solution for that. If it’s not on the server’s end, you can certainly work it out.

Still facing issue to remove W3 Total Cache? Feel free to mention that in comment.


Post By Saikat Hazra (27 Posts)

Hello friends, This is me Saikat, the co-founder of this blog. An investment consultant who eventually turned into a professional blogger. Feel free to connect me on Google+. You can follow my post on Twitter


  1. Al September 28, 2016
  2. Aashish March 25, 2017

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