How to Bulk Delete WordPress Comments

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Removing unwanted comments one at a time is fine if there are only a handful to deal with. It’s a time-consuming hassle when there are lots of them. The short tutorial on this page shows how site owners can bulk delete WordPress comments using three methods.

Best Reasons to Bulk Delete WP Comments

There are a few reasons why WordPress webmasters need to remove post comments.

  • Web trolls posting off-topic or unwelcome inflammatory content
  • Remove multiple test comments during WordPress site development
  • Delete comment spam

Bulk delete troll comments

Trolls sometimes attempt to start flame wars in an otherwise positive conversation. They may post lots of provocative and off-topic remarks to upset others. In this scenario, you could easily delete all their comments, give them a warning, or ban them from the site altogether.

Bulk delete test comments

It’s normal to produce multiple test comments when building a new website, testing functions, or during a site redesign. In all cases, you need to delete any tests comments.

Bulk delete spam comments

Spam comments that suddenly bombard a post or series of posts need to go. There are effective ways to vastly reduce junk comments in WordPress (see links below). Even so, manual spammers, i.e., people not bots, are harder to catch. In cases like this, you can bulk delete the comments and then block the bad actor’s IP or IP range.

Related reading: How to Quickly Add reCAPTCHA to WordPress Comment Forms, and How to Block IP Addresses in WordPress.

3 Ways to Bulk Delete WP Comments

The three methods used to bulk delete WP comments are:

  1. From the WordPress Dashboard
  2. Use the WP Bulk Delete plugin
  3. phpMyAdmin SQL Queries (advanced)

Each of these methods works well. There are reasons why you may want to choose one over the other. Make sure you do a complete site backup first if you opt for method 2 or 3. That way, you can restore any comments deleted by accident.

#1 Bulk delete comments in WP Dashboard

This approach is handy if you need to remove lots of spam comments in a single hit.

Log in to WordPress as an admin level user.

Click Comments from the Dashboard side menu.

You’re now at the manage comments screen.

Click the checkbox to select all comments or tick (check) individual comments for deletion.

Select Move to Trash from the Bulk Actions dropdown menu, then click Apply.

WordPress sends all the selected comments to the Trash.

Now let’s look at how to bulk delete comments using a WP plugin.

#2 WP Bulk Delete plugin

Read ‘How to Install New Plugins in WordPress’ first if you’re an inexperienced WP Administrator.  

There are several free plugins available that bulk deletes WP comments. The one used for this tutorial is by Xylus Themes. It has several deletion options aside from comments should you need them. It lets you bulk delete Posts, Users, Attachments, and more.

The free version allows you to perform the following actions:

  • Delete comments
  • Delete comments by status
  • Delete comments by specified date intervals

The Pro (paid) version offers these additional options:

  • Delete comments by author
  • Delete comments by post
  • Delete comments by conditions and filters
  • Scheduled delete comments

The basic features of the free version of WP Bulk Delete are fine for our purpose.

WARNING! ACTIONS ARE IRREVERSIBLE. PLEASE PERFORM A COMPLETE BACKUP OF YOUR WORDPRESS WEBSITE OR BLOG BEFORE PROCEEDING WITH THESE STEPS.

Log in to WordPress as Administrator.

Install and activate the plugin from your plugin screen.

Go to WP Bulk Delete => Delete Comments from the Dashboard side menu.

Select which filters you want to apply based on the options available.

We can see there are 2 pending comments and 1 Spam comment in our example.

  • Pending Comments (2 Comment(s) )
  • Spam Comments (1 Comment(s) )
  • Trash Comments (0 Comment(s) )
  • Approved Comments (0 Comment(s) )

The free version also allows you to delete comments by date.

Click the Delete Comments button after you select your filters.

That’s all there is to it. Remember, these actions are irreversible, so delete with care.

#3 Bulk Delete Using phpMyAdmin SQL Queries (advanced)

WARNING! ACTIONS ARE IRREVERSIBLE. PLEASE PERFORM A COMPLETE BACKUP OF YOUR WORDPRESS WEBSITE OR BLOG BEFORE PROCEEDING WITH THESE STEPS.

It’s quite straightforward to delete all WP comments using phpMyAdmin. However, this approach can be daunting for novice users, so it’s not recommended for inexperienced site owners.

There are two options to delete all comments using phpMyAdmin.

  1. Empty the WordPress comments tables
  2. Run an SQL query

Empty the WordPress comments tables

Log in to your WordPress web hosting cPanel Dashboard.

Scroll down to the cPanel DATABASES box and click phpMyAdmin.

The next screen lists all your WordPress (wp_) database tables. If you don’t see the list, click the DB name from the link in the side column. This will open the tables in the right-side pane.

Place a tick (check) in the boxes left of the wp_comments and wp_commentmeta tables.

Note: If your WordPress database prefix is not wp, identify the correct prefix to continue.

Scroll to the bottom and click the ‘With selected’ menu.

Select Empty under ‘Delete data or table.’

PhpMyAdmin displays a warning message asking you to confirm your next action.

Click the Yes button to delete all comments from your WordPress database.

Now let’s look at phpMyAdmin option 2 for deleting all WordPress comments. This section assumes you’re in the WordPress hosting phpMyAdmin screen with the WP database selected.

Run an SQL query

Run an SQL query if you want more control over bulk comment deletion without using a plugin.

From the phpMyAdmin screen, click the SQL tab to open the SQL query window.

There are specific code snippets used to delete unwanted WordPress comments. These are based on set conditions (see next).

How to run an SQL query

Running an SQL query is a straightforward process. All you do is type or paste the relevant code snippet into the SQL query window, then click Go.

Here are the 4 code snippets for running comment deletion SQL queries.

#1 Deletes all WP NON-APPROVED, PENDING comments:

DELETE from wp_comments WHERE comment_approved =  ‘0'

#2 Deletes all WP APPROVED comments:

DELETE from wp_comments WHERE comment_approved =  ‘1'

#3 Deletes all WP TRASH comments:

DELETE from wp_comments WHERE comment_approved =  ‘trash'

#4 Deletes all WP SPAM comments:

DELETE from wp_comments WHERE comment_approved =  ‘spam'

That’s it. You now know how to mass delete unwanted comments in WordPress.

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