What Is xmlrpc.php in WordPress? Should You Disable It?


If you are a WordPress website owner, you may have come across a file called “xmlrpc.php” in your website’s root directory. XML-RPC is a remote procedure call (RPC) protocol that enables communication between different systems. You may have also heard about xmlrpc exploits and issues related to xmlrpc. So, I decided to write a detailed article explaining You may have also heard about xmlrpc exploits and issues related to xmlrpc. In this blog post, we will explore what xmlrpc.php is, its significance, how it is used nowadays, and most importantly, why you should consider disabling it on your WordPress website.

What Is Xmlrpc.php?

Xmlrpc.php is a WordPress file that serves as an XML-RPC gateway. Xmlrpc file enables remote access to WordPress functions and allows external applications and services to interact with your site. These external services can include mobile apps, remote publishing tools, and other third-party applications.

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Why Was Xmlrpc.php Created and How Was It Used?

XML-RPC was introduced to WordPress back in 2003 to facilitate cross-platform communication. During that time, the primary use case was to allow remote publishing from desktop blogging tools, which were popular before web-based editors became prevalent.

In the early days, xmlrpc.php was incredibly useful as it enabled bloggers to publish content, manage comments, and perform other essential tasks on their WordPress sites remotely. It was particularly advantageous for bloggers who were on the move or wanted to post content from various devices.

As technology evolved, the need for XML-RPC in WordPress has diminished significantly. Many users now prefer using the WordPress web interface or mobile apps specifically designed for WordPress. Additionally, most functionalities that xmlrpc.php provided can now be achieved through the WordPress REST API, which is more secure and efficient.

Why You Should Disable Xmlrpc.php?

While xmlrpc.php once had its benefits, it has become a security concern for WordPress site owners. Hackers often target xmlrpc.php as it can be exploited to launch brute force attacks, DDoS attacks, and even gain unauthorized access to your site.

  1. Brute Force Attacks: XML-RPC can be used to try multiple username and password combinations rapidly. This process is known as a brute force attack, and if successful, the attacker gains access to your site’s admin panel.
    Also read: How to Protect WordPress From Brute Force Attacks
  2. DDoS Attacks: Attackers can also use xmlrpc.php to initiate Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, overwhelming your server with a large number of requests and causing your site to become unresponsive.
  3. Vulnerabilities: As with any software, xmlrpc.php may have potential vulnerabilities that malicious individuals could exploit to compromise your site’s security.

Given these risks and the declining usefulness of xmlrpc.php for modern WordPress users, disabling it to safeguard your website is advisable.

How to Disable Xmlrpc.php in WordPress:

There are two ways to disable Xmlrpc.php in WordPress. You can either disable it using a plugin or manually by adding a code to .htaccess file.

Disabling Xmlrpc.php With Plugins:

The simplest way to disable xmlrpc.php is by using a dedicated plugin. Several security plugins allow you to toggle XML-RPC functionality with just a few clicks. Some popular plugins for this purpose include:

Install your chosen plugin from the WordPress repository, activate it, and follow the instructions to disable xmlrpc.php.

Disabling Xmlrpc.php Manually

If you prefer not to use a plugin, you can manually disable xmlrpc.php by modifying your site’s .htaccess file. Follow these steps:

Access your site’s root directory using an FTP client or CPanel’s File Manager.

Locate the .htaccess file and download a backup copy to your local machine.

Open the .htaccess file using a text editor.

Add the following code to the file:

# Disable XML-RPC
<Files xmlrpc.php>
Order Deny,Allow
Deny from all

Save the changes and upload the modified .htaccess file back to your server.


While xmlrpc.php in WordPress once played a crucial role in enabling remote communication, its relevance has diminished with the availability of more secure and efficient alternatives like the WordPress REST API. Considering the potential security risks associated with xmlrpc.php, it is recommended to disable it on your WordPress website. Whether you choose to use a plugin or disable it manually, taking this step will enhance your site’s security and protect it from potential attacks. Remember to stay vigilant and keep all aspects of your WordPress site updated to ensure a safe and smooth online experience.

Deepanker Verma is an experienced WordPress developer who has been working on WordPress for more than 12 years. On TheWPGuides, he writes about WordPress, WordPress development, and WordPress plugins.

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