How to disable WordPress from installing core default themes with every update for your website with this WordPress settings

Environment effects

But wait why stop?

But wait a minute why do you want to stop installing WordPress from installing core themes? They are required right? As per one argument its required so that when your active theme fails to load, core theme will act as fallback. But let us think this over again as counter argument, would you like to show your content in some unknown theme to your website for which your content might not be designed for which might look awful when active theme fails? Would you not like to get notification that your active theme has failed? I would like to get notification on. So, someone can investigate it and fix it.  

I currently maintain (about 60) websites. I delete default themes, after taking consent from my customer, because they will never be needed (most of the customers use premium or custom theme) will require time and attention when patches are released to update/upgrade. Also, there is this other view to save on storage, bandwidth and preventing some energy wastage. For single sites those are not too much. When you consider by looking at all the WordPress website in the world today and calculating the number of bundled downloads, per incremental updates, and the disk space/bandwidth/energy consumed per year – Just imagine the number. Today WordPress powers more than 41% of websites.

WordPress Settings

Steps needed to stop WordPress installing core themes every update.`

After executing below changes, the next time you update WordPress or it auto updates, you will not get any new surprises and giving you change to be Hero, by saving storage, bandwidth and on top of that energy wastage.

The changes need to be done in wp-config file of your WordPress installed / Active instance.

Add below line in your wp-config.php file:


wp-config is critical file for WordPress active instance, so ensure you know how to edit that file for your hosting environment, if not follow below simple steps.

Using WinSCP connect to FTP of your website.


Once you are connected you will see, something like below, like file explorer, which will be directly the htdocs of your website (well for most of us) you can find the wp-config.php file mostly in the root of it.

Later select the file and right click and press edit, which will open up the file in default editor of winscp for you to edit like below.

Editing file with select file, and right click

Once you edit the file the save button will get enabled, click save, and the file will be saved with the change.

WordPress Settings in WP-Config
Update WordPress Settings in wpconfig file Updated file in default editor, save button gets enabled

Ensure your website is working, by visiting it from different browser or from Incognito mode.

 Wait for the next WordPress update and observe those core themes you deleted, are not coming back! – your updated settings are working as expected, you have moved to Hero status!

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