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when managing a Wordpress site it gives me great pleasure to see nothing needs updating. Should I delete the default themes or is it best to leave them there?

By default themes I mean: Twenty Eleven Twenty Twelve Twenty Thirteen

Or should I just update them and keep them there for possible troubleshooting in the future?

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Thanks for your help everyone, I will go with keeping one default theme and updating it when required. When working on loads of WP sites everyday for a living it does make a difference to have a 'best practice' even for these minor things, thanks again :) – morktron Sep 18 '13 at 0:09
Delete everything you don't need on a live site. Keep anything locally to test. – jgraup Jul 22 at 18:52
up vote 5 down vote accepted

I keep the default themes in place, and keep them updated.

The WordPress Foundation will keep those themes updated with any security issues, so as long as you keep them updated on your site, I'm not concerned with security problems.

The advantage that you have by keeping them is for testing. When you are troubleshooting an issue, it is very nice to be able to switch temporarily to Twenty Twelve and confirm or eliminate your theme code as the cause of the problem.

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It's totally up to you — your choice.

To me, when you have a theme enabled other than "TwentyEleven", "TwentyTwelve" or "TwentyThirteen", why do you need them? Especially when you have limited server space issue, and where every kilobyte is important. (But the server space for a Theme is too minor as to be a non-issue. — said Saildude)

But as you said,

Or should I just update them and keep them there for possible troubleshooting in the future?

Yes, sometimes, we recommend trying any default theme instead of the active one to find a bug. But you know, if you have the cPanel/FTP access, you can upload 'em anytime.

And for Security reasons: I don't think a deactivated theme can be a cause of site hack, especially those are provided by WordPress.org. But you know we are talking about the default themes and default themes only - for the others, I have no opinion.

So, to me, it's totally depends on WHAT DO YOU WANT.

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Keep at least one and the latest if possible.

The reason for this is if your theme breaks it will revert to the default theme and at least display your content.

But also make sure its always updated.

Also for troubleshooting, sometimes you want to activate the default theme to find problems in your theme.

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When you are creating new theme with new name you need to activate that from back end and theme will applied to your site . If you delete the defoult theme which one avaiable then when any time you update your wordpress it will automatically switch to its defoult theme . so if there is any issue with your new code you can check that in defoult theme .

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It is helpful to keep old default themes for testing - however just like with plugins, keeping old themes/plugins will tax your admin and make it slower. For optimal speed and performance, only keep plugins and themes you are actively using.

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How does an inactive theme make the admin slower? Please add an explanation to that statement. – toscho Jul 22 at 19:21
An inactive theme or plugin will make the admin slower because Wordpress still queries those items to see if there is an update available. This will cause additional and unneeded database and network slowdown. You can see this happening if you use a query monitor such as wordpress.org/plugins/query-monitor – cire Jul 22 at 23:21
Update checks don't happen on every request. – toscho 2 days ago

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