How to Delete Categories in WordPress (Easiest Guide)

Want to know how to remove categories in WordPress? With the right directions, it’s easy. In this post, see how to delete categories in WordPress – step by step!

We all know that even if it’s the simplest task in the world, we need to learn how to do it for the first time. There’s no alternative to learning. The right guide will show you the best way. It will also save you a lot of time.

Without keeping you waiting, let’s just dive in.

What is a category in WordPress?

So you want to know how to delete a category in a WordPress blog. Or, on any kind of WordPress site. Generally, a WordPress category is a built-in type of taxonomy. You choose a category to organize similar kinds of posts. 

A category has a unique archive link where visitors can find all the posts in that category. Sometimes you may want to delete a category to streamline your post collections. Maybe you are willing to merge 2 categories into one. Or just cleaning up your site. 

Whatever the reason may be, you can delete WordPress categories in 2 ways.

  1. Deleting WordPress categories in bulk (for multiple ones)
  2. Deleting a single category at once

‘Will my posts be deleted if I delete a category?’

We get your concern. But the good news is, your posts in those categories will not be deleted. These will be categorized under the default category, (usually) called “Uncategorized”.

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If these posts have multiple categories, then they’ll retain the available category(s) instead of going to “Uncategorized”. Good, isn’t it?

Even if you delete a parent category, the sub-categories will not be deleted. They will be transformed into independent categories. Sounds fair, right?

How to delete categories in WordPress in bulk

If you want to remove more than one category, it’s wise to delete them in bulk. Here’s how to do it:

Step 1: Log in to your WordPress site dashboard.

Step 2: From the left vertical menu, hover your mouse cursor over Posts. You’ll see the Categories and Tags menus with the post-related options.

accessing wordpress categories

Click the Categories link. The Categories page will appear.

Categories

Step 3: On the Categories page, you’ll see all the available categories on your site. There are options to add a new category, edit the categories, quick-edit a category, etc.

Mark the categories you want to delete. Then from the “Bulk actions” dropdown menu, choose “Delete”. Click the “Apply” button.

bulk delete wordpress categories

The selected categories will be deleted.

How to delete a category in WordPress (one at a time)

To delete just one category at once, first, log in to your WordPress dashboard and open the Categories page. Hover over the desired category. The “Delete” option will appear under the category.

How to Delete Categories in WordPress - deleting single category

Click the Delete button. A browser notification will prompt to confirm the action.

single category delete confirmation

If you accept, the category will be deleted right away. As simple as that. And there’s no going back.

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How to delete Uncategorized category in WordPress

As we’ve previously mentioned, WordPress comes with a built-in default category. It’s named Uncategorized. If you forget to select a category for a post, that will be auto-assigned to Uncategorized.

Interestingly, if you want to delete the Uncategorized category, you will be surprised. Usually, there’s no Delete button or no checkbox to remove the Uncategorized category. But don’t worry, you can still delete the Uncategorized category. Here’s how.

Step 1: First, you need to unassign this category from the default one. Go to your WordPress Dashboard > Settings > Writing. From the Writing Settings dropdown, set another category as the default one. Save changes.

wordpress writing settings

Step 2: Again visit the Categories page (from the Posts > Categories menu). Now you’ll see the Delete option while hovering the mouse cursor over the Uncategorized category.

Simply delete it by hitting the Delete button. You’ll need to confirm the action from your browser prompt. That’s it!

How to delete product category in WordPress

If you use an eCommerce plugin in your WordPress site, you’ll need to add product categories to list and organize products. These product categories are custom taxonomies. That means you’ll not find the product categories on the default Posts > Categories page.

To find the product categories (for WooCommerce as an example), sign in to your WordPress dashboard. Find the WooCommerce Products menu on the left vertical menu bar.

Hover your mouse over the Products menu. You’ll see the Categories link. Open the product categories page.

product category delete

On this page, you’ll get an option for adding a category for the products. Also, you can edit, delete, and manage your product categories here. It’s similar to the default category management.

You’ll find all the options on hover. Bulk actions are also available. However, the product page or any single product won’t be deleted if you delete a product category here. Fair enough, right?

How to restore deleted categories in WordPress

Have you accidentally deleted categories in WordPress? Want to recover or restore deleted WordPress categories? Keep reading.

First things first, deleting categories in WordPress is a permanent action. They don’t go to the trash. These are deleted permanently. So there’s no WordPress-native way to recover or restore deleted categories.

BUT, if you have a backup of your WordPress site, you can restore that backup to get back the site to a previous state. If you have a backup for a time when you had all these categories on your site, you can restore that backup. 

Thus, you’ll be able to restore the deleted categories. But this will mean that you’ll lose any other changes that you made to the site after taking that backup. Still, if you find this helpful, you can try it. This method could be a go-to choice in some cases.

Wrapping up

In this post, we’ve discussed how to delete categories in WordPress. We’ve seen the step-by-step details. This article also answers your additional questions about the default Uncategorized category, product categories, and restoring deleted categories. 

We hope you’ve found this tutorial helpful. Please share your thoughts via comments!


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