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How to completely remove and delete W3TC W3 Total Cache Plugin for WordPress

W3 Total Cache claims to “improves the user experience of your site by improving your server performance, caching every aspect of your site, reducing the download times and providing transparent content delivery network (CDN) integration”.

All good. But sometimes it doesn’t work too well, and you want to remove it. But its not that easy, it spreads itself out.

There are a couple of articles online about removing the W3TC plugin, but all the ones I found are not complete. They miss out important details which can leave to improper removal.

I’ve put together the steps to take:

  1. Update w3tc plugin to make sure you have the latest version
  2. Make permission on htaccess to be at least 644
  3. Make permission on wp-config.php to be at least 644
  4. Go to W3TC General Settings
    • Disable all caching – untick everything that is enabled
    • Save as you go and then purge cache (look for disabled buttons)
    • A small message at the top should now say the plugin is disabled
  5. Go to WordPress plugins and Deactivate it
  6. Delete the plugin
  7. Go to your FTP/file structure
    • delete /wp-content/cache/minify
    • delete /wp-content/cache/object
    • delete /wp-content/cache/page_enhanced
    • delete /wp-content/plugins/W3TC (if not deleted)
    • delete /wp-content/w3tc-config
    • delete /wp-content/upgrade/
    • delete /wp-content/db.php
    • delete /wp-content/advanced-cache.php
    • delete /wp-content/object-cache.php
  8. Open .htaccess and look for any cache entries left by W3TC
  9. Open wp-config.php and remove any cache entries such as – define(‘WP_CACHE’, true);
  10. Check and reset cache on any auto optimise / other cache plugins
  11. Check cache on your CDN

This should remove the plugin completely.