3 Ways to Disable a Joomla Plugin

3 Ways to Disable a Joomla Plugin


Some of the most common errors we see on Joomla sites involve plugins.

A normal Joomla site will have dozens of plugins, so they are a common source of errors.

In this tutorial, I'm going to show you how to disable a troublesome plugin, using three different techniques.

The first technique is the normal way to disable a plugin. The second and third techniques can be used if the plugin has locked you out of Joomla's administrator area.

Option #1. Disable via the Joomla Admin

  • Login to your Joomla admin area.
  • Go to Extensions > Plugins.
The Joomla 3 Plugin Manager
  • Click on the green check mark next to the plugin you want to disable.
  • The icon should turn to a red X. The plugin is now disabled.
The plugin area in the Joomla admin

Option #2. Disable via the file system

It is also possible to disable a plugin via your site's file system.

  • Login to your FTP account, or perhaps use cPanel's File Manager.
  • Access the root of your Joomla files.
  • Look for a folder called /plugins/
The Joomla file system

The next step is the trickiest because Joomla plugins are split into different folders.

If you aren't experienced with Joomla, it might take a little searching to find the plugin files. However, if your plugin is causing real problems on your site it's highly likely to be in one of these three folders:

  • /authentication/
  • /content/
  • /system/
The Joomla plugin directory

Each plugin has at least two key files: pluginname.php and pluginame.xml. 

To disable the plugin all you need to do is remove or rename the PHP file. If I wanted to disable the Gmail plugin, I could rename gmail.php to gmail.php-off:

Joomla plugin files, with Gmail as an example

Option #3. Disable via the database

Finally, it is also possible to disable plugins via your database. All of the plugin data is stored in the _extensions table.

Notice the "enabled" column. To disable a plugin (or any extension), change the 1 (published) to a 0 (unpublished):

The Joomla extensions database table