How to Remove the W3 Total Cache Plugin Cleanly

W3 Total Cache is a plugin which is used for page caching, minification and Redis integration, but it does come at a price. The codebase is old, and if not configured correctly, it can cause issues on the site it is being used on.

Using a different plugin or plugins for page caching, minification, and Redis object caching is possible, but means you need to remove all traces of the W3 Total Cache plugin. W3 Total Cache plugin on deactivation and deletion will not remove any of the files or changes it adds to a site.

Steps to clean all traces of the W3 Total Cache plugin include making sure to purge all caches before the plugin is deactivated and deleted.

If your site is using Apache or NGNIX in-front of Apache (which a number of hosts such as Cloudways will do), you need to remove all the W3 Total Cache entries into the site servers .htaccess file.

For example, the entries which start #BEGIN W3TC and then end with #END W3TC Page Cache core.

The following folders can be removed;

cache folder inside of the wp-content folder.
upgrades folder inside of the wp-content folder
w3tc-config folder inside of the wp-content folder.

The following files can be deleted if they exist from W3 Total Cache;

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  • advanced-cache.php
  • object-cache.php
  • Dbcache.php

If you are using a CDN for your site, remember to purge the cache.

Now that you have removed the files and folders the W3 Total Cache plugin added, you are safe to use other more solid options.

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