3 Simple Steps to Delete Categories on WordPress

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    If you’re a WordPress site owner, chances are that you’re familiar with “Categories” on the platform. In case you’re not, they are not quite the same thing as “tags”, but they operate on the same premise. You can think of them as a “site management tool” that assists with keeping your posts in “buckets”, keeping everything organized and accessible. However, knowing how to delete categories on WordPress is also important.

    Using blog Categories diligently can help keep visitors engaged, as they can easily see similar, relevant posts to the one they originally clicked on. However, too many Categories can make a site overwhelming and put off potential regular visitors. Many WordPress administrators try to make too many custom Categories because it can be difficult to pin down exactly where pages and posts should go. If you need to brush up on how Categories work in WordPress or learn how to add Categories in WordPress, look no further than the project’s official article on them!

    If you think it’s time to remove Categories from WordPress, look no further! We’ll guide you from start to finish. Of course, if you need to completely redo your blog, check out our post on how to delete everything and start over.

    how to delete categories on wordpress

    How to Delete Categories on WordPress

    So, you maybe added an unnecessary category (or ten) and need to remove it? It may seem like a pain now, but it will save a lot of time to recategorize now than it will in a few years! Before we proceed, there is a very common question associated with removing WordPress categories: “If I delete a whole category, do all the posts that fall under it get deleted, as well?”. The answer is no. Don’t worry, you will not lose your posts during this process! Now, let’s continue on to see how to edit WordPress Categories!

    Step 1: Access the Administrative Portal

    You will first need to log onto your WordPress Portal with administrative privileges. Once you’re at your Home page, you’ll need to navigate to your “Posts” page by clicking on the “Posts” link on the left-hand column menu as shown below:

    all posts

    Next, you should see a list of all of your posts. Note that the category or categories of each post are also populated on the list, as we indicated in the image below. 

    posts cat

    From this page, you can remove categories from one or more posts. There are separate WordPress Category pages, which we will delve into shortly.

    Step 2: Remove Category From WordPress Post(s)

    If you are simply looking for information on how to delete Categories on WordPress and not information on how to delete the association between Categories and Posts, feel free to move on to Step 3 where that’s discussed!

    If you are just looking to remove a Category from a single Post, you can simply hover over that Post’s entry in the list, and a small menu will appear. Click “Edit” on that menu. However, rather than doing that for every single one you need to edit, there’s a faster way: “Bulk Edit.” 

    First, check the box on each post that you would like to “Edit”, or remove Categories from. Once you’ve checked all of those off, you’ll need to click on either one of the dropdown menus (one is on the top of the Post list, and the other is on the bottom) that default at “Bulk Actions”. Select the “Edit” option, as shown in the picture below. Then click “Apply” to continue.

    bulk actions

    You should now see a more “enhanced” version of the list of Posts. Notice in the portion boxed in red, you’ll see a list of all your site’s Categories. Just check the Categories that you want left on the Posts you selected earlier. Once you’ve finished, click the blue “Update” button, also boxed in red. 

    bulk actions expanded

    Assuming you unchecked Categories that you did not want associated with the Posts that you checked, they should now no longer be associated!

    In the next step, we’ll take a look at the actual WordPress Categories page and see how to not just delete a Category and post association, but how to delete the whole Category.

    Step 3: Learn How to Delete Categories on WordPress

    Now that we’ve gone over how to remove Category and Post associations, let’s take a look at how to fully remove those Categories! 

    First, navigate to the WordPress Categories Page. On the page you should be on after following Step 2, look for the “Categories” sub-link under the “Posts” link on the left-hand column as shown below.

    categories link

    Click on that sub-link. This will take you to the main Categories page. As you can see, you can add new Categories on the left-hand side of this page. More importantly, you can delete Categories on this page, as well.

    categories page

    The layout is essentially the same as the main Posts page’s layout. You can hover over an individual Category on this list, and the same menu will appear. Clicking “Edit” on the hover menu will allow you to remove the category.

    However, you likely will want to use the “Bulk Actions” option. This will allow you to delete all the Categories you need to, rather than just one at a time. Once again, you will NOT lose Posts filed under these. Instead, they will all be put under WordPress’s default “Uncategorized” Category.

    First, check the box of each Category you want to delete. There is not an “undo” option for this. We recommend that you make a backup of everything, including Categories, before proceeding. Then, in one of the “Bulk Actions” dropdowns, select the “Delete” option. Then, click the “Apply” button. See the image below for an example.

    delete categories

    As you most likely noticed, you cannot delete the “Uncategorized” Category. That’s because WordPress requires you to have at least one Category for your site. However, if you want to change it to something a bit more specific, like “All Posts”, you just have to hover over that entry, then click “Edit” or “Quick Edit” and change the name.

    Wrap Up

    Now that you’ve learned how to delete Categories on WordPress, both from the Posts page and the Categories page, you’ll be able to run a better-vetted site! Without unnecessary categories creating a lot of clutter, nothing will stop you from maintaining your awesome WordPress site!

    Before we finish up, let’s go back over how to delete Categories on WordPress. It’s just these simple steps:

    1. Log into your WordPress Portal as an Administrator.
    2. Click on the “Posts” link on the left-hand column of the Portal.
    3. If you want to just delete Categories from one Post, then hover over it, and use the hover menu “Edit” option to remove it.
    4. If you want to remove Categories from multiple Posts, check off multiple posts. Then hit the dropdown menu on the page, and pick “Edit”
      • Once you’ve selected everything, click “Apply.”
      • On the next page, deselect the Categories you want to remove.
      • Finally, click “Update.” Then you’re done!
    5. To fully remove a Category from your WordPress site, click on the sub-link “Categories” under the main “Posts” link.
    6. Select the Categories to delete, and select the “Delete” option on the dropdown menu. Then click “Apply.”
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