Is it better to wipe out root folder and reinstall Wordpress for a brand new site build for a client?

I’ve built a brand new site with a custom theme and it’s currently on a staging site in a subdirectory. The old site was built with elementor and a bunch of plugins that’s super bloaty.

My plan is to:

  • Backup the old site
  • Completely delete everything in the root directory besides the staging subdirectory
  • Reinstall Wordpress via Installatron
  • Duplicate the staging db to a new one for the prod site to point to
  • Migrate the plugins and folders from staging
  • Sync the theme via git

My question is: is it even worth deleting Wordpress completely to start from scratch or should I just use WP reset tools to just delete plugins etc from the prod site? The benefits of not completely removing WP only seems like I would be able to keep current usernames and logins, and perhaps avoiding any conflicts that may remain from the old site. Would reinstalling Wordpress via Installatron wipe out the subdirectory? What do you guys do usually?

1 Answer 1


Whew, sounds like you're about to embark on a digital spring cleaning! 👷

  1. Starting Clean vs. Reset Tools: Personally, if the old site is bloated and cluttered with unnecessary plugins, starting fresh is a good idea. It ensures you’re not inheriting any unwanted database entries, lingering settings, or potential security vulnerabilities. Reset tools are cool, but a fresh start feels... well, fresher. Especially when you're coming from a bloated setup.

  2. Preserving Subdirectories: Reinstalling WordPress via Installatron shouldn't wipe out subdirectories. Still, every hosting environment can be a tad different. Definitely backup your entire root directory (you said you would, just emphasizing it!) before you make any moves.

  3. Advantage of Keeping Current WP: Like you mentioned, the main benefit would be retaining user logins, some settings, and avoiding a few migration steps. But if the current installation is bloated and you're uncertain about what’s lingering beneath the surface, a fresh start can be worth the extra effort.

  4. My Usual Process: When I'm faced with this situation, I typically:

    • Backup Everything: You never know when you'll need to revert.
    • Fresh Install: Clean WordPress install on the root. Ensures no residue from the old setup.
    • Migration: Move over custom themes, plugins, and data. Using git for themes is a solid move!
    • User Management: If necessary, recreate user logins and set the required permissions.
    • Final Testing: Always test everything after migration to ensure all's working well. You don’t want any sneaky issues popping up later!

So, to sum it up: while resetting WP could be quicker, starting from scratch provides peace of mind, knowing there's no unwanted baggage from the old site. But hey, whatever path you choose, just make sure you've got all your backups in order!

Good luck, and may the web dev gods be with you! 🚀

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