Most WordPress installations come with several back up stock themes. Then there are all of the themes you’ve tried, paid for and abandoned. How many do you need? Simple answer, two to three.

  1. Back up theme – such as Twenty Twenty-Three
  2. Your main theme
  3. Your child theme, if you use one.

What happens with old themes clogging up your hosting and database is that they come with elements that are must-haves, and they get outdated. Some old themes are no longer updated so they become a vulnerable back-door for unsavory characters. All the stock themes – I’ve seen sites with these going back to 2011! Those also become vulnerable because you need to keep them updated, and some are no longer updated.

Why do I recommend keeping a stock theme? Well, things happen to our favorite themes, and you need something you can switch to temporarily if things go awry with your admin, your theme, the theme plugins that are required. One is plenty. You do not need several of these. Ask your web services provider to clean out the list.


You may not realize that your theme in use may be a child theme of a theme with a different name. Be careful before you clean out too much. Also, be careful that you don’t delete shared plugins. Make a FULL back up of all of the set up and files just in case you have to go back a day.

When  in doubt get help. You can get rid of the date named themes if you are not using them as your main theme. This is a pretty safe bet.