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Disables specified WordPress plugins when doing local development
Plugin Name: Disable plugins when doing local dev
Description: If the WP_LOCAL_DEV constant is true, disables plugins that you specify
Version: 0.1
License: GPL version 2 or any later version
Author: Mark Jaquith
Author URI:
class CWS_Disable_Plugins_When_Local_Dev {
static $instance;
private $disabled = array();
* Sets up the options filter, and optionally handles an array of plugins to disable
* @param array $disables Optional array of plugin filenames to disable
public function __construct( Array $disables = NULL) {
// Handle what was passed in
if ( is_array( $disables ) ) {
foreach ( $disables as $disable )
$this->disable( $disable );
// Add the filter
add_filter( 'option_active_plugins', array( $this, 'do_disabling' ) );
// Allow other plugins to access this instance
self::$instance = $this;
* Adds a filename to the list of plugins to disable
public function disable( $file ) {
$this->disabled[] = $file;
* Hooks in to the option_active_plugins filter and does the disabling
* @param array $plugins WP-provided list of plugin filenames
* @return array The filtered array of plugin filenames
public function do_disabling( $plugins ) {
if ( count( $this->disabled ) ) {
foreach ( (array) $this->disabled as $plugin ) {
$key = array_search( $plugin, $plugins );
if ( false !== $key )
unset( $plugins[$key] );
return $plugins;
/* Begin customization */
if ( defined( 'WP_LOCAL_DEV' ) && WP_LOCAL_DEV ) {
new CWS_Disable_Plugins_When_Local_Dev( array( 'vaultpress.php' ) );
For programmatic disabling, you can initialize the object (e.g. as $_localdev) then do:
$_localdev->disable( 'vaultpress.php' );
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Rarst commented Dec 28, 2012

Doesn't catch network-activated plugins, since they are stored and loaded separately. See my fork for attempt at fix.

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Thank you for this! It sure has been helpful.

I have a couple of questions that arose when I noticed that I have to reset my InfiniteWP API key whenever I push a local database to production. I am using WP Migrate DB Pro to move the database back and forth. There are cases when you have to push changes made to the database locally to production, but this also means that your deactivated plugins go with it. This also includes my backup plugin, which I have to remember to reactivate each time.

Is there any way around this? I was thinking of adjusting the code to activate an array of plugins if WP_LOCAL_DEV is false (thus we are in production) but then I would have to remove the site from InfiniteWP and re-add it whenever I do a push which could get cumbersome.

Is there a reason the core deactivate_plugins( $plugins, $silent = false, $network_wide = null ) function is not used?

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Call me crazy but I'm thinking I'd prefer to maintain an active list, instead of a disable list. That is, presume everything should be disabled and then only activate those in the list. This way anything new starts as off, instead of on. Which to me, while conservative, makes the most sense.

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Reminds me of something I did, where you set an array of plugins that cannot be deactivated in Admin. Basically turns regular plugins into MU via a similar array manipulation to what you did.

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pbiron commented Jun 1, 2018

Thanx for this!

The "Get it here" link in your blog post mentioning this plugin has an incorrect URL to this gist...probably because github changed the structure of gist URLs since you wrote that post. You should update that link.

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pbiron commented Jun 24, 2018

See my fork of Rarst's fork of this, enable-disable-plugins-when-doing-local-dev.php that adds the capability to enable as well as disable plugins locally.

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Hi Jacques, thanks for this. I also updated it for the opposite (to activate be media from production on a dev).

Perhaps you should change the link in your blog post "WordPress local dev tips: DB & plugins" to this gist too. The link in that post is now broken and probably should point to this gist.

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