How to Disable XML-RPC in WordPress: Complete Guide

When a developer builds a WordPress website, one of the key undertakings is integrating external applications. That’s where XML-RPC, or Extensible Markup Language Remote Procedure Call, comes in. Although it can be useful for things like mobile app integration, it may still be a potential security threat.

So how do the WordPress development services disable XML-RPC for better WordPress security? We’ll discuss it in this blog. But first, let’s see what xmlrpc.php

What is xmlrpc.php?

The xmlrpc.php file in WordPress enables communication between WordPress sites and other applications. It utilizes a protocol called XML-RPC. This protocol enables users to publish posts, edit content, and manage other aspects of their WordPress site remotely.

While it provides external communication, it can also be a security concern. If they are not disabled when necessary, your site could be exploited by various attacks and threats. The solution is to check the status of XML-RPC and implement best security practices to keep your sites safe.

Why Should You Disable xmlrpc.php?

Disabling xmlrpc.php in WordPress is recommended for several reasons, primarily related to security and performance. Here are the key reasons why you might want to disable xmlrpc.php:

  • Brute Force Attacks: xmlrpc.php can be exploited by brute force attacks to gain unauthorized access to your WordPress site. Unlike regular login attempts, XML-RPC allows multiple attempts in a single request, making it more easy for attackers.
  • DDoS Attacks: Attackers can misuse the XML-RPC pingback requests to perform Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks. By sending numerous WordPress pingback requests that can overwhelm a server and make your site unavailable.
  • Resource Intensive: Handling XML-RPC requests can be resource-intensive, leading to performance degradation. This is especially a matter of concern when you are using shared hosting or limited resources.
  • Outdated Technology: XML-RPC is moreover outdated, especially with the introduction of the WordPress REST API. This API offers more modern, secure, and flexible ways to interact with your WordPress site than XML-RPC.

While xmlrpc.php can be useful, it is a concern for security and performance issues. Disabling xmlrpc.php can help you secure your WordPress site and improve performance. To keep the functionality intact when disabling the protocol, get help from WordPress developers. They can precisely maintain the security and performance of your site.

Want to improve the security of your WordPress website?

How to Disable xmlrpc.php in WordPress?

There are three main methods to disable xmlrpc.php in WordPress: Using plugin, .htaccess file, and custom code.

Method 1: Using a WordPress Plugin

This is the simplest and most recommended approach for most users. Here’s how to do it:

Once activated, the plugin will automatically disable the xmlrpc.php functionality on your site. Some plugins might offer additional options like whitelisting specific IP addresses that can still access xmlrpc.php.

Using this method is the easiest and requires no coding knowledge. It’s a good choice for beginners and those who prefer a quick solution.

Method 2: Using .htaccess file

Using this involves editing your WordPress .htaccess file. It’s essential to back up your .htaccess file before making any changes. Here’s how to proceed:

  • Access your website’s files through an FTP client or file manager provided by your WordPress hosting.
  • Locate the .htaccess file in your WordPress directory structure.
  • If you don’t see the .htaccess file, it might be hidden by default. You can enable viewing hidden files in your FTP client or file manager settings.
  • Now, edit the .htaccess file and add the following line at the very end of the file:
<Files xmlrpc.php>
Order deny, allow
Deny from all
  • Save the changes to the .htaccess file.

The code snippet we added instructs the server to deny access to the xmlrpc.php file.

This method offers more control but requires some knowledge of editing files.  It’s a good option for users who are comfortable with FTP or file management and have a basic understanding of code.

Method 3: Using a Custom Code Snippet

Here, we create a custom WordPress plugin and add a code snippet. It’s recommended for users comfortable with the code:

  • Create a new text file and name it something like “disable-xmlrpc.php”.
  • Add the following code snippet to the file:
add_filter( 'xmlrpc_enabled', '__return_false' );
  • Save the file.
  • In your WordPress dashboard, navigate to Plugins > Add New > Upload Plugin.
  • Select the “disable-xmlrpc.php” file you created and click Install Now.
  • Once installed, activate the plugin.

This code snippet utilizes a filter to disable xmlrpc.php functionality. This created plugin can be used for disabling the xmlrpc.php file for any WordPress site.

Using this method gives you the most control but requires creating a plugin and adding code. It’s a recommended method for advanced users comfortable with WordPress development environment.

By following these methods, you can effectively disable xmlrpc.php and enhance the security and performance of your WordPress site. If your site is simple and doesn’t require more expertise, using a plugin is a good option. But if it needs advanced expertise, hire WordPress development experts to keep your site safe and highly performative.

When to Keep the XML-RPC.php File Enabled?

While enabling xmlrpc.php has its drawbacks, there are a few reasons to keep them enabled in WordPress. Here is a list of when to keep them:

  • Using legacy tools or plugins: If your site relies on older WordPress tools that depend on XML-RPC for communication, disabling it will break their functionality. This could include some blogging tools or custom-built integrations.
  • Specific needs and development: In some scenarios, developers might have a specific need for XML-RPC functionality within a custom plugin. Disabling it would prevent those functionalities from working.
  • Jetpack with specific features: While the core functionalities of the Jetpack WordPress plugin no longer rely on XML-RPC, some specific features might still require it. Jetpack uses XML-RPC for features like the mobile app, site monitoring, and security features.

While xmlrpc.php can pose security risks, it is essential for specific use cases such as third-party integrations and legacy systems. If you need to keep it enabled, implement security measures with the help of a WordPress security service provider. They can handle and mitigate the associated risks effectively for your WordPress site.

FAQs on Disabling XML-RPC in WordPress

How can I check if XML-RPC is disabled on my WordPress site?
You can use online tools or security plugins to scan your site and check if XML-RPC is disabled. You can also check your site's .htaccess file to see if the necessary code snippet has been added.
What is an alternative option for remote communication besides XML-RPC?
Yes, you can use the WordPress REST API for remote communication instead of XML-RPC. It is more secure and efficient, and it is also the recommended method by WordPress.
Can disabling XML-RPC affect my site's functionality?
Yes, disabling XML-RPC can potentially affect your site's functionality if it relies on older tools and plugins. These plugins might rely on XML-RPC to communicate with your WordPress site. Disabling it would break their functionalities.


The xmlrpc.php file can help integrate external applications into WordPress websites. But this file can have some security issues. So you need to disable XML-RPC for better WordPress security.

There are three ways to go about it. You can use a WordPress plugin, .htaccess code, or through a custom code snippet. Plugins offer a beginner-friendly solution, while the .htaccess method provides more control for intermediate users. Advanced users can leverage the custom plugin approach.

If you need further help with disabling the XML-RPC file or securing the WordPress website, consult with our hiring WordPress experts today!

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Chinmay Pandya is an accomplished tech enthusiast specializing in PHP, WordPress, and Laravel. With a solid background in web development, he brings expertise in crafting innovative solutions and optimizing performance for various projects.

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