How can I deactivate a WordPress plugin if I can’t login to the dashboard?

Occasionally, a buggy WordPress plugin update (or newly added plugin) can prevent you from being able to log in to your own WordPress dashboard.

If that happens, you’ll need to deactivate the plugin. But since you can’t login to the dashboard to do so, this is something of a Catch-22 situation.

To solve this problem, you can deactivate plugins using an FTP program or the command line shell. Simply navigate to this location of your site:


Then view the list of files and directories there. You might see something like:


If “evil-plugin” is the one you want to disable, simply rename it to something like evil-plugin-DISABLED (or completely delete it if you wish).

WordPress will then stop using it, and you’ll be able to login and fix the problem properly.