Another 5 Things Your WordPress Site Doesn’t Need

This is the third segment in a series on removing stuff from WordPress. I recommend you check out Part 1 and Part 2.

Things you should remove from your WordPress site
You should remove as much junk as possible from your WordPress site

The last couple of articles on this subject garnered plenty of interesting responses and suggestions from our readers, which I thought warranted a third post in the series.

So here we go with yet another 5 things that you can remove from WordPress, all in the name of making your site faster, simpler and more secure.

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1. Your WordPress version number

This is a handy WordPress security tip, procured from our very own Mason James. (Thanks for doing my work for me)

Having your WordPress version number output by the wp_generator() function could have a negative impact on your site’s security.

Making your WordPress version number available (as it is by default) can make it easier for hackers to use a known weakness in that version. The easiest way to get rid of this is to add the following to your theme’s function.php:

remove_action(‘wp_head’, ‘wp_generator’);

2. Zip files from theme and plugin uploads

Make your WordPress site cleaner and simplerIf you upload themes and plugins to your WordPress installation manually, you’ll be left with a bunch of .zip files sitting around on your server. These are just dead weight and there’s no need to keep them. Get on in there and do a bit of housekeeping.

3. The ‘Tools’ menu

In the left sidebar of your dashboard. You ever used it before? Me neither.

Unless you have some specific reason for keeping it around, the Tools menu is one more piece of dashboard clutter you can safely get rid of.

4. The ‘Links’ menu

Another less-than-useful dashboard menu. Granted, the links in question point to some very important information resources.

But anyone with a more than a passing familiarity with WordPress knows all these sites already. Unless you’re a total WP newbie who’s still learning to walk, you’re probably never going to use the Links menu.

To remove both the Tools and Links menus from your WordPress dashboard, open the functions.php file in your Theme editor and paste the following code:

<?php
	add_action( 'admin_menu', 'my_remove_menu_pages' );

	function my_remove_menu_pages() {
		remove_menu_page('link-manager.php');
		remove_menu_page('tools.php');
	}
?>

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5. Any widgets that you’re not going to to use

For your own personal WordPress site, useless widgets are just a waste of space. For a client’s site, they’re a potential headache waiting to happen (if your client decides to do a little widget experimentation without really knowing what they’re doing).

Take a long, hard look at that group of widgets, and bring down the axe on anything that’s not relevant or useful to the website.

Removing available widgets from the dashboard entirely is a fairly advanced procedure – check out this page in the WordPress Codex for further info.

Got anything to add to the list?

If you can suggest anything else than can and should be removed from WordPress, that we didn’t cover in Part 1 or Part 2, please let us know in the comment sections below.

Image credits: Goodbye and Businessman Throwing Trash from Bigstockphoto.

39 Responses

    Elliott the web design guy

    I always remove rsd_link (support for Really Simple Discovery) & wlwmanifest_link (support for Windows Live Writer) for two reasons, 1. I don’t need them 2. they don’t validate!

    to remove them bunge this in your functions.php


    function removeHeadLinks() {
    remove_action('wp_head', 'rsd_link');
    remove_action('wp_head', 'wlwmanifest_link');
    }
    add_action('init', 'removeHeadLinks');

      Tim Gregg
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      Thanks for the info Elliot. I’ve heard this one from a few WordPress developers before – seems to be a common consensus that RSD and Windows Live Writer aren’t necessary for most WP users.

      Cheers
      Tim

    Nick

    Is there a quick/easy way to remove sidebar widgets across a multisite install? The way I’m doing it now involves going into each theme function file, but that’s kind of a pain.

      Tim Gregg
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      Hey Nick,

      I’ve referred this to our tech wizards and will get back to you with an answer shortly.

      Thanks for the comment!

      Cheers
      Tim

      Tim Gregg
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      Hello again Nick,

      Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be any magic solution to this. I quote from our support guys:

      There’s no quick/easy way to do it sadly. You could go through the database and remove everything from the option_value of sidebars_widgets in your wp_options table – but you’d have to go through and still do each site one at a time. Unless you wrote a PHP script to run through the sites and do it… not aware of one available though.

    Worli

    @Tim this is great post. I have removed Post revisions, Unused themes/plugins and WordPress version.

    I would like know if it safe to remove the default WordPress theme? as you didn’t mentioned it in any of the 3 post.

      Tim Gregg
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      Hi Worli,

      Thanks for the comment. A lot of people recommend that you keep the default WordPress theme, as a back up in case you experience problems with any other theme that you’re using. Not 100% essential, but it’s generally a good idea to be on the safe side.

      Cheers
      Tim

      Shawn

      If you’re not using it, you can definitely remove it. However, if you use a multisite setup and allow signups, the default theme is most likely the theme that will be automatically assigned…so I wouldn’t remove it in that situation.

    Randy

    I agree about removing Links and Tools, however, keep in mind there are some plugins that add their menu under Tools. I don’t recall which ones off the top of my head.

      Tim Gregg
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      Yeah I can’t think of any of the top of my head either – but that’s definitely something you would have to look out for.

        Randy

        Ah! WP-Table Reloaded gets added under Tools. I am not a big time plugin user but this is one I like! I knew there was at least one!!

            marianney

            WP Backup also uses the tools menu. And I always do an export of all content as well as a backup before updating WordPress, so suggesting to eliminate the Tools menu is not a good idea IMO, unless there is a better way to do this.

            Tim Gregg
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            As we’ve mentioned, you don’t have to leave your plugins in their default menu location – check out this plugin that lets you edit your dashboard menu.

    Christopher Wulff

    Regenerate Thumbnails and Redirection both add their menus under ‘Tools’ and they’re two of my more frequently used plugins. Appreciate the other tips though.

    Joe Banks

    Tools? Do you mean the much ignored “Available Tools” sub-item? There are anywhere from 5-10 Tools, filed there, I use all the time, and there are some plugins that should be filed under it, rather than Settings.

      Joe Banks

      To be clearer, I’d remove “Available Tools” subitem, and leave “Tools” alone.

      Tim Gregg
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      Really? Which 5 – 10 tools are you referring to?

        Shawn

        Almost all the options under Tools are things you use very very rarely. Import, Export and Domain Mapping are the only ones I ever need, and that’s only because I run some pretty large multisite setups.

          Tim Gregg
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          Yeah it’s clearly a question of what you’re actually building with WordPress. People like Joe are obviously making good use of the Tools menu, while I would guess that a majority of other WP users rarely touch it.

        Joe Banks

        Tim,

        Here they are:

        1. Domain Mapping
        2. WPMS Sitedown
        3. CSV Importer *
        4. Excerpt Editor
        5. Redirection *
        6. Search Regex *
        7. SEO Data Transport
        8. Regenerate Thumbnails *
        9. Broken Links *

        The asterisked ones are used frequently; the rest are used once then forgotten about.

        Thanks for the discussion and resulting tips from everyone!

          Tim Gregg
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          • #29569

          An interesting discussion indeed – thanks for all the info.

    Timothy Bowers

    I’m always keen on getting rid of things in the default WordPress, especially when using for multisite. I find the overuse of branding to be a tad annoying sometimes.

    I keep myself a private log, in a text file of things to change on every new release and I do this before upgraded. I know some people will say “I got a plugin that does that” But really…. I would rather not add needless plugins which ultimately help to increase the overheads required to run a multisite install.

    Anyway, I digress. In the comments I saw someone mention about widgets. One widget which annoys me and is near the top of the list of changes I make is the Dashboard widget and the other is the default WordPress widget. So for a quickie, here is what I change :-)

    Dashboard Settings:

    wp-admin/includes/dashboard.php

    `//Primary feed (Dev Blog)
    //Secondary feed (Planet)

    They both have lines like this:

    ‘link’ => apply_filters( ‘dashboard_primary_link’, __( ‘http://mysite.net/’ ) ),
    ‘url’ => apply_filters( ‘dashboard_primary_feed’, __( ‘http://mysite.net/rss/’ ) ),
    ‘title’ => apply_filters( ‘dashboard_primary_title’, __( ‘My Sites Name’ ) ),`

    I change that to a feed which helps keep my users up to date on our work, not the work of some third system which only stands to confuse them. They are not techies and most like care not what WP is. They only wish for something ease of use and access to relevant information.

    Default Widget – WordPress Address

    /wp-includes/default-widgets.php

    `<a href="http://wordpress.org/&quot; title="”>WordPress.org`

    I have a long list of things my sites don’t need, but these two are good for now. :-)

    Some theme developers like to add their own default widgets with links and advertising in as well. But thats another story.

      Tim Gregg
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      Hi Timothy,

      Thanks for the tips. I definitely agree with getting rid of the default WordPress blog feeds and replacing them with something that’s actually useful to your clients – more practical for them and lends a more professional image to your own business.

      Cheers
      Tim

    Lehooo

    I was about to say something about the Tools menu being essential for several plugins but I see that has already been mentioned in the comments (though it shoudl definitely have been brought up in the original article). A much more serious problem is the tip to remove the Links manager. I personally will use this information to remove it, but only because I’m adding my own “Link” custom post type to replace it. The article mentions links as if they were only a place for quick navigation to sections of the WordPress site, when it is of course really a place for the web site administrator to add his own links to whatever sites about which he wants to alert his readers. Many blogs have a Blogrool section in the sidebar, the links displayed there are edited in the Link manager.

      Tim Gregg
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      Fair point – if you use a blogroll on your site then you have a use for the ‘Links’ menu. What I was suggesting in the article is that many people don’t have a use for this menu, and if this is the case then it can safely be removed to reduce clutter in the dashboard.

      As with every other customization you make to WordPress, it all boils down to your own circumstances and what kind of site you’re running.

      Cheers
      Tim

        Lehooo

        Well that seems very far from reality, most blogs I see have a blogroll. The point, though, is not whether most people have a need for the feature or not but that your description of it suggested a deep misunderstanding of it.

          Tim Gregg
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          What about all those people using WordPress as a CMS? Bloggers are only one section of the WP demographic.

            Tim Gregg
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            You don’t appear to be using a blogroll on your site either.

            Lehooo

            Sure, but a blogroll or a link collection of some other kind is no less useful for other kinds of sites. I don’t use it no, but that is primarily because my site is a work in progress and secondarily because I’m replacing the built in link system with a custom post type for the same purpose, not because I don’t need the feature. Again, though, I stress that the main point is not whether the feature is useful or not but that you presented it in a highly misleading fashion above. Namely, as a mere collection of links to sections of the WordPress site as opposed to a feature for creation of your own link collection for display on your site.

            Tim Gregg
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            Merry Christmas!

            Lehooo

            Merry Christmas!

    Douglas Dye

    If I’m using 20 MBs on a 150GB server, why should I care about some zipped theme/plugin files lying around? Not being a smartass, I’m honestly curious.

      Shawn

      By removing them you reduce the surface area for attacks.

      Every theme, plugin or script you have installed has code that makes it operate. All too often, that code has bugs. Even a minor bug today can be turned into a major ordeal when a new mechanism of exploitation is discovered and “script kiddies” add an automated attack to their tools. The TimThumb exploit is a perfect example of this situation. Check out this article for “why”.

      From the day the TimThumb WP exploits were discovered until now (only 4 months or so) there have been hundreds of thousands of sites that were exploited thru the hole…and the worst part is that nearly all of them could have avoided infection simply by removing the vulnerable themes or plugins – which probably weren’t even in use!

    Chris Bunting

    One thing to remember is disabling the WordPress version tag helos, but if u use a cache system like w3 total cache without URL rewriting, you can stilk see the version number on each include like mysite.com/mycss.CSS?3.3..