User Clean Up

The User Clean Up plugin was born out of frustration over keeping spam users off of a bbPress forum. Yes, there are plugins that will limit spammers ability to register and spam. But I found that if that type of plugin were to work limiting spammers, it also limited the ability of legitimate users to register.

User Clean Up
User Clean Up plugin after deleting 497 spam users from the database.

What this plugin does is allows you to click a button and delete users that don’t have any posts or comments on your site, with the ability to white list certain users that you might want to keep around even without any posts.

Back up first! Because this plugin directly edits your user tables it’s a good idea to backup your database first. Yes, the plugin gives you the option of dumping the user table. But another copy couldn’t hurt, right?


If you’re reading this you’ve probably already downloaded and unzipped the plugin.

Since this isn’t a plugin that’s hosted at, you’ll need to manually upload the zip file to your site. Don’t worry, it’s easy. But if you’ve never done it before and need instructions we’ve got you covered.

Once you’ve uploaded, activate the plugin in the normal way.


Before using, it’s not a bad idea to make a complete backup of your WordPress database. Yes, there is an option for the plugin to create a dump of the tables it changes. But it’s never a bad idea to have an extra backup saved.

Once activated you will find a new menu option under the Users tab in WordPress titled User Clean Up. Click that link to use the plugin.


White List

By using the white list you can keep specific users from getting deleted. Maybe you have an editor that doesn’t have any posts of his own. Or maybe you have a forum user that hasn’t posted, but uses their account to subscribe to threads. Or any other reason.

To keep a user from being deleted enter either their login, email address, or the numeric database ID and they will not get cleaned out.

You can enter as many white list options as you like, but they do need to be one to a line.

And the account of the current user and user ID #1 are automatically added to the white list so you don’t have to worry about those.

Max Deletions

If you’ve got a lot of users to delete, it’s possible that your server will timeout. In that case, enter a value into the max deletions field to limit how many will get cleared in one pass. You’ll then need to click the clean up button multiple times.

If you leave this setting at 0 then all potential users will be deleted in one go.

Backup First

This probably should have been the first option.

When checked, before deleting anything the plugin will create an SQL dump of your wp_users and wp_usermeta tables, or whatever the tables are called if you changed the database prefix. The files will be saved into the /uploads/ folder on your server.

If the /uploads/ folder is not available, or not writeable, then the backup will fail and the clean up will not continue.

And be sure that once you download the backup file somewhere safe, you remove it from your server since it contains information about user logins.