Hello Dolly – simultaneously one of the most popular, yet the most useless plugins among website owners.
Hello Dolly is a plugin that comes bundled with WordPress – it is already there when you install it.
Whether you’ve just set up your website or you found this plugin lurking among others you’ve already installed, you may be wondering – what is the Hello Dolly plugin, and can you safely delete the Hello Dolly plugin from WordPress?
Let’s look into this plugin more deeply.
What Is The Hello Dolly WordPress Plugin?
Hello Dolly serves one purpose – it displays random lyrics from the song ‘Hello Dolly’ (performed by Louie Armstrong) within your WordPress dashboard.
The WordPress description states, “This is not just a plugin, it symbolizes the hope and enthusiasm of an entire generation summed up in two words sung most famously by Louis Armstrong: Hello, Dolly.”
This sounds nice, but the plugin is functionally useless.
In other words, you don’t really lose anything by removing the plugin from your website.
If anything, I suspect that WordPress included this plugin simply for the state of showcasing what plugins are and now they work. This is similar to the default comment and page that also comes bundled with WordPress, which should also be deleted.
According to information from WordPress.org, Hello Dolly has been deliberately downloaded over 800,000 times as of September 2021, the original publish date of this article.
Developers may use Hello Dolly as a safe way to test whether plugins are installing correctly on their server, since the plugin does not do much and shouldn’t ever conflict with any other plugins on your website.
There are also people that claim that Hello Dolly can provide insight for developers who are interested in developing plugins for WordPress, as the code behind the plugin is rather simple.
As bloggers and website owners, there is no longer any reason to keep it around unless you want to. Even if you are a developer, there are better places to begin your journey of creating plugins for WordPress.
Can You Delete The Hello Dolly Plugin?
There is no harm in deleting the Hello Dolly plugin if you decide that you no longer want it. In fact, I consider this to be a routine step of setting up new WordPress websites.
There are a few practical reasons for deleting it, which I’ll outline below.
1. Potential Exploits
Although there have been no known exploits of Hello Dolly itself, it is good practice to deactivate and remove plugins that are no longer in use.
Other than slowing down your website, plugins are one of the greatest attack vectors for hackers to exploit.
There have been cases of hackers disguising malicious files as part of Hello Dolly when in fact, they were not part of the plugin at all.
Seeing as you should never install plugins without a specific purpose in mind, this should be reason enough to delete Hello Dolly.
2. It Declutters Your Plugin Page
As your website grows, it’s not uncommon for your plugin page to become quite cluttered.
Although Hello Dolly does not take up any of the sidebar real estate inside your WordPress dashboard, it still takes up a slot on your plugin page.
This is a minor inconvenience at best, but still.
3. Additional Security Concerns
As a general rule of thumb, your website often benefits from avoiding ‘defaults’ within your content management system. In this case, WordPress.
This is because when hackers find an exploit, their goal is to hit as many websites with it as possible. To maximize their chances, their scripts look for the ‘easy’ websites.
For example, you should never leave your WordPress login name as ‘Admin’ or ‘Administrator’, as these will often be targeted first.
Anyhow, there have been incidences of hackers hiding malicious code inside of the Hello Dolly plugin folder. Since it’ll have been there since the beginning of your website, you likely wouldn’t notice anything new being added there.
Hello Dolly is a functionally useless plugin, and it really makes no difference whether or not you keep it on your website.
Due to potential security concerns, it would be best to delete the plugin if it makes no difference to you.
While the likelihood of anything bad happening because of Hello Dolly is extremely low, the risk is not zero.
Therefore, feel free to delete Hello Dolly. It is completely safe to do so, and certainly won’t break anything.
– James McAllister