Can I remove a widget area without editing code?

I am dealing with a WordPress setup which has 2 widget areas. One seems to be breaking the page, and I want to remove it.

Here is the screenshot of my widget setup

enter image description here

How can I remove the Main Widget Area without editing any code? Is that possible?

And if not possible, how can I remove this area in general?

Thank you!!

And here is the functions.php file:

/*
 * Set up the content width value based on the theme's design.
 *
 * @see twentythirteen_content_width() for template-specific adjustments.
 */
if ( ! isset( $content_width ) )
    $content_width = 604;

/**
 * Add support for a custom header image.
 */
require get_template_directory() . '/inc/custom-header.php';

/**
 * Twenty Thirteen only works in WordPress 3.6 or later.
 */
if ( version_compare( $GLOBALS['wp_version'], '3.6-alpha', '<' ) )
    require get_template_directory() . '/inc/back-compat.php';

/**
 * Twenty Thirteen setup.
 *
 * Sets up theme defaults and registers the various WordPress features that
 * Twenty Thirteen supports.
 *
 * @uses load_theme_textdomain() For translation/localization support.
 * @uses add_editor_style() To add Visual Editor stylesheets.
 * @uses add_theme_support() To add support for automatic feed links, post
 * formats, and post thumbnails.
 * @uses register_nav_menu() To add support for a navigation menu.
 * @uses set_post_thumbnail_size() To set a custom post thumbnail size.
 *
 * @since Twenty Thirteen 1.0
 *
 * @return void
 */
function twentythirteen_setup() {
    /*
     * Makes Twenty Thirteen available for translation.
     *
     * Translations can be added to the /languages/ directory.
     * If you're building a theme based on Twenty Thirteen, use a find and
     * replace to change 'twentythirteen' to the name of your theme in all
     * template files.
     */
    load_theme_textdomain( 'twentythirteen', get_template_directory() . '/languages' );

    /*
     * This theme styles the visual editor to resemble the theme style,
     * specifically font, colors, icons, and column width.
     */
    add_editor_style( array( 'css/editor-style.css', 'fonts/genericons.css', twentythirteen_fonts_url() ) );

    // Adds RSS feed links to <head> for posts and comments.
    add_theme_support( 'automatic-feed-links' );

    /*
     * Switches default core markup for search form, comment form,
     * and comments to output valid HTML5.
     */
    add_theme_support( 'html5', array( 'search-form', 'comment-form', 'comment-list' ) );

    /*
     * This theme supports all available post formats by default.
     * See http://codex.wordpress.org/Post_Formats
     */
    add_theme_support( 'post-formats', array(
        'aside', 'audio', 'chat', 'gallery', 'image', 'link', 'quote', 'status', 'video'
    ) );

    // This theme uses wp_nav_menu() in one location.
    register_nav_menu( 'primary', __( 'Navigation Menu', 'twentythirteen' ) );

    /*
     * This theme uses a custom image size for featured images, displayed on
     * "standard" posts and pages.
     */
    add_theme_support( 'post-thumbnails' );
    set_post_thumbnail_size( 604, 270, true );

    // This theme uses its own gallery styles.
    add_filter( 'use_default_gallery_style', '__return_false' );
}
add_action( 'after_setup_theme', 'twentythirteen_setup' );

/**
 * Return the Google font stylesheet URL, if available.
 *
 * The use of Source Sans Pro and Bitter by default is localized. For languages
 * that use characters not supported by the font, the font can be disabled.
 *
 * @since Twenty Thirteen 1.0
 *
 * @return string Font stylesheet or empty string if disabled.
 */
function twentythirteen_fonts_url() {
    $fonts_url = '';

    /* Translators: If there are characters in your language that are not
     * supported by Source Sans Pro, translate this to 'off'. Do not translate
     * into your own language.
     */
    $source_sans_pro = _x( 'on', 'Source Sans Pro font: on or off', 'twentythirteen' );

    /* Translators: If there are characters in your language that are not
     * supported by Bitter, translate this to 'off'. Do not translate into your
     * own language.
     */
    $bitter = _x( 'on', 'Bitter font: on or off', 'twentythirteen' );

    if ( 'off' !== $source_sans_pro || 'off' !== $bitter ) {
        $font_families = array();

        if ( 'off' !== $source_sans_pro )
            $font_families[] = 'Source Sans Pro:300,400,700,300italic,400italic,700italic';

        if ( 'off' !== $bitter )
            $font_families[] = 'Bitter:400,700';

        $query_args = array(
            'family' => urlencode( implode( '|', $font_families ) ),
            'subset' => urlencode( 'latin,latin-ext' ),
        );
        $fonts_url = add_query_arg( $query_args, "//fonts.googleapis.com/css" );
    }

    return $fonts_url;
}

/**
 * Enqueue scripts and styles for the front end.
 *
 * @since Twenty Thirteen 1.0
 *
 * @return void
 */
function twentythirteen_scripts_styles() {
    /*
     * Adds JavaScript to pages with the comment form to support
     * sites with threaded comments (when in use).
     */
    if ( is_singular() && comments_open() && get_option( 'thread_comments' ) )
        wp_enqueue_script( 'comment-reply' );

    // Adds Masonry to handle vertical alignment of footer widgets.
    if ( is_active_sidebar( 'sidebar-1' ) )
        wp_enqueue_script( 'jquery-masonry' );

    // Loads JavaScript file with functionality specific to Twenty Thirteen.
    wp_enqueue_script( 'twentythirteen-script', get_template_directory_uri() . '/js/functions.js', array( 'jquery' ), '2013-07-18', true );

    // Add Source Sans Pro and Bitter fonts, used in the main stylesheet.
    wp_enqueue_style( 'twentythirteen-fonts', twentythirteen_fonts_url(), array(), null );

    // Add Genericons font, used in the main stylesheet.
    wp_enqueue_style( 'genericons', get_template_directory_uri() . '/fonts/genericons.css', array(), '2.09' );

    // Loads our main stylesheet.
    wp_enqueue_style( 'twentythirteen-style', get_stylesheet_uri(), array(), '2013-07-18' );

    // Loads the Internet Explorer specific stylesheet.
    wp_enqueue_style( 'twentythirteen-ie', get_template_directory_uri() . '/css/ie.css', array( 'twentythirteen-style' ), '2013-07-18' );
    wp_style_add_data( 'twentythirteen-ie', 'conditional', 'lt IE 9' );
}
add_action( 'wp_enqueue_scripts', 'twentythirteen_scripts_styles' );

/**
 * Filter the page title.
 *
 * Creates a nicely formatted and more specific title element text for output
 * in head of document, based on current view.
 *
 * @since Twenty Thirteen 1.0
 *
 * @param string $title Default title text for current view.
 * @param string $sep   Optional separator.
 * @return string The filtered title.
 */
function twentythirteen_wp_title( $title, $sep ) {
    global $paged, $page;

    if ( is_feed() )
        return $title;

    // Add the site name.
    $title .= get_bloginfo( 'name' );

    // Add the site description for the home/front page.
    $site_description = get_bloginfo( 'description', 'display' );
    if ( $site_description && ( is_home() || is_front_page() ) )
        $title = "$title $sep $site_description";

    // Add a page number if necessary.
    if ( $paged >= 2 || $page >= 2 )
        $title = "$title $sep " . sprintf( __( 'Page %s', 'twentythirteen' ), max( $paged, $page ) );

    return $title;
}
add_filter( 'wp_title', 'twentythirteen_wp_title', 10, 2 );

/**
 * Register two widget areas.
 *
 * @since Twenty Thirteen 1.0
 *
 * @return void
 */
function twentythirteen_widgets_init() {
    register_sidebar( array(
        'name'          => __( 'Main Widget Area', 'twentythirteen' ),
        'id'            => 'sidebar-1',
        'description'   => __( 'Appears in the footer section of the site.', 'twentythirteen' ),
        'before_widget' => '<aside id="%1$s" class="widget %2$s">',
        'after_widget'  => '</aside>',
        'before_title'  => '<h3 class="widget-title">',
        'after_title'   => '</h3>',
    ) );

    register_sidebar( array(
        'name'          => __( 'Secondary Widget Area', 'twentythirteen' ),
        'id'            => 'sidebar-2',
        'description'   => __( 'Appears on posts and pages in the sidebar.', 'twentythirteen' ),
        'before_widget' => '<aside id="%1$s" class="widget %2$s">',
        'after_widget'  => '</aside>',
        'before_title'  => '<h3 class="widget-title">',
        'after_title'   => '</h3>',
    ) );
}
add_action( 'widgets_init', 'twentythirteen_widgets_init' );

if ( ! function_exists( 'twentythirteen_paging_nav' ) ) :
/**
 * Display navigation to next/previous set of posts when applicable.
 *
 * @since Twenty Thirteen 1.0
 *
 * @return void
 */
function twentythirteen_paging_nav() {
    global $wp_query;

    // Don't print empty markup if there's only one page.
    if ( $wp_query->max_num_pages < 2 )
        return;
    ?>
    <nav class="navigation paging-navigation" role="navigation">
        <h1 class="screen-reader-text"><?php _e( 'Posts navigation', 'twentythirteen' ); ?></h1>
        <div class="nav-links">

            <?php if ( get_next_posts_link() ) : ?>
            <div class="nav-previous"><?php next_posts_link( __( '<span class="meta-nav">&larr;</span> Older posts', 'twentythirteen' ) ); ?></div>
            <?php endif; ?>

            <?php if ( get_previous_posts_link() ) : ?>
            <div class="nav-next"><?php previous_posts_link( __( 'Newer posts <span class="meta-nav">&rarr;</span>', 'twentythirteen' ) ); ?></div>
            <?php endif; ?>

        </div><!-- .nav-links -->
    </nav><!-- .navigation -->
    <?php
}
endif;

if ( ! function_exists( 'twentythirteen_post_nav' ) ) :
/**
 * Display navigation to next/previous post when applicable.
*
* @since Twenty Thirteen 1.0
*
* @return void
*/
function twentythirteen_post_nav() {
    global $post;

    // Don't print empty markup if there's nowhere to navigate.
    $previous = ( is_attachment() ) ? get_post( $post->post_parent ) : get_adjacent_post( false, '', true );
    $next     = get_adjacent_post( false, '', false );

    if ( ! $next && ! $previous )
        return;
    ?>
    <nav class="navigation post-navigation" role="navigation">
        <h1 class="screen-reader-text"><?php _e( 'Post navigation', 'twentythirteen' ); ?></h1>
        <div class="nav-links">

            <?php previous_post_link( '%link', _x( '<span class="meta-nav">&larr;</span> %title', 'Previous post link', 'twentythirteen' ) ); ?>
            <?php next_post_link( '%link', _x( '%title <span class="meta-nav">&rarr;</span>', 'Next post link', 'twentythirteen' ) ); ?>

        </div><!-- .nav-links -->
    </nav><!-- .navigation -->
    <?php
}
endif;

if ( ! function_exists( 'twentythirteen_entry_meta' ) ) :
/**
 * Print HTML with meta information for current post: categories, tags, permalink, author, and date.
 *
 * Create your own twentythirteen_entry_meta() to override in a child theme.
 *
 * @since Twenty Thirteen 1.0
 *
 * @return void
 */
function twentythirteen_entry_meta() {
    if ( is_sticky() && is_home() && ! is_paged() )
        echo '<span class="featured-post">' . __( 'Sticky', 'twentythirteen' ) . '</span>';

    if ( ! has_post_format( 'link' ) && 'post' == get_post_type() )
        twentythirteen_entry_date();

    // Translators: used between list items, there is a space after the comma.
    $categories_list = get_the_category_list( __( ', ', 'twentythirteen' ) );
    if ( $categories_list ) {
        echo '<span class="categories-links">' . $categories_list . '</span>';
    }

    // Translators: used between list items, there is a space after the comma.
    $tag_list = get_the_tag_list( '', __( ', ', 'twentythirteen' ) );
    if ( $tag_list ) {
        echo '<span class="tags-links">' . $tag_list . '</span>';
    }

    // Post author
    if ( 'post' == get_post_type() ) {
        printf( '<span class="author vcard"><a class="url fn n" href="%1$s" title="%2$s" rel="author">%3$s</a></span>',
            esc_url( get_author_posts_url( get_the_author_meta( 'ID' ) ) ),
            esc_attr( sprintf( __( 'View all posts by %s', 'twentythirteen' ), get_the_author() ) ),
            get_the_author()
        );
    }
}
endif;

if ( ! function_exists( 'twentythirteen_entry_date' ) ) :
/**
 * Print HTML with date information for current post.
 *
 * Create your own twentythirteen_entry_date() to override in a child theme.
 *
 * @since Twenty Thirteen 1.0
 *
 * @param boolean $echo (optional) Whether to echo the date. Default true.
 * @return string The HTML-formatted post date.
 */
function twentythirteen_entry_date( $echo = true ) {
    if ( has_post_format( array( 'chat', 'status' ) ) )
        $format_prefix = _x( '%1$s on %2$s', '1: post format name. 2: date', 'twentythirteen' );
    else
        $format_prefix = '%2$s';

    $date = sprintf( '<span class="date"><a href="%1$s" title="%2$s" rel="bookmark"><time class="entry-date" datetime="%3$s">%4$s</time></a></span>',
        esc_url( get_permalink() ),
        esc_attr( sprintf( __( 'Permalink to %s', 'twentythirteen' ), the_title_attribute( 'echo=0' ) ) ),
        esc_attr( get_the_date( 'c' ) ),
        esc_html( sprintf( $format_prefix, get_post_format_string( get_post_format() ), get_the_date() ) )
    );

    if ( $echo )
        echo $date;

    return $date;
}
endif;

if ( ! function_exists( 'twentythirteen_the_attached_image' ) ) :
/**
 * Print the attached image with a link to the next attached image.
 *
 * @since Twenty Thirteen 1.0
 *
 * @return void
 */
function twentythirteen_the_attached_image() {
    /**
     * Filter the image attachment size to use.
     *
     * @since Twenty thirteen 1.0
     *
     * @param array $size {
     *     @type int The attachment height in pixels.
     *     @type int The attachment width in pixels.
     * }
     */
    $attachment_size     = apply_filters( 'twentythirteen_attachment_size', array( 724, 724 ) );
    $next_attachment_url = wp_get_attachment_url();
    $post                = get_post();

    /*
     * Grab the IDs of all the image attachments in a gallery so we can get the URL
     * of the next adjacent image in a gallery, or the first image (if we're
     * looking at the last image in a gallery), or, in a gallery of one, just the
     * link to that image file.
     */
    $attachment_ids = get_posts( array(
        'post_parent'    => $post->post_parent,
        'fields'         => 'ids',
        'numberposts'    => -1,
        'post_status'    => 'inherit',
        'post_type'      => 'attachment',
        'post_mime_type' => 'image',
        'order'          => 'ASC',
        'orderby'        => 'menu_order ID'
    ) );

    // If there is more than 1 attachment in a gallery...
    if ( count( $attachment_ids ) > 1 ) {
        foreach ( $attachment_ids as $attachment_id ) {
            if ( $attachment_id == $post->ID ) {
                $next_id = current( $attachment_ids );
                break;
            }
        }

        // get the URL of the next image attachment...
        if ( $next_id )
            $next_attachment_url = get_attachment_link( $next_id );

        // or get the URL of the first image attachment.
        else
            $next_attachment_url = get_attachment_link( array_shift( $attachment_ids ) );
    }

    printf( '<a href="%1$s" title="%2$s" rel="attachment">%3$s</a>',
        esc_url( $next_attachment_url ),
        the_title_attribute( array( 'echo' => false ) ),
        wp_get_attachment_image( $post->ID, $attachment_size )
    );
}
endif;

/**
 * Return the post URL.
 *
 * @uses get_url_in_content() to get the URL in the post meta (if it exists) or
 * the first link found in the post content.
 *
 * Falls back to the post permalink if no URL is found in the post.
 *
 * @since Twenty Thirteen 1.0
 *
 * @return string The Link format URL.
 */
function twentythirteen_get_link_url() {
    $content = get_the_content();
    $has_url = get_url_in_content( $content );

    return ( $has_url ) ? $has_url : apply_filters( 'the_permalink', get_permalink() );
}

/**
 * Extend the default WordPress body classes.
 *
 * Adds body classes to denote:
 * 1. Single or multiple authors.
 * 2. Active widgets in the sidebar to change the layout and spacing.
 * 3. When avatars are disabled in discussion settings.
 *
 * @since Twenty Thirteen 1.0
 *
 * @param array $classes A list of existing body class values.
 * @return array The filtered body class list.
 */
function twentythirteen_body_class( $classes ) {
    if ( ! is_multi_author() )
        $classes[] = 'single-author';

    if ( is_active_sidebar( 'sidebar-2' ) && ! is_attachment() && ! is_404() )
        $classes[] = 'sidebar';

    if ( ! get_option( 'show_avatars' ) )
        $classes[] = 'no-avatars';

    return $classes;
}
add_filter( 'body_class', 'twentythirteen_body_class' );

/**
 * Adjust content_width value for video post formats and attachment templates.
 *
 * @since Twenty Thirteen 1.0
 *
 * @return void
 */
function twentythirteen_content_width() {
    global $content_width;

    if ( is_attachment() )
        $content_width = 724;
    elseif ( has_post_format( 'audio' ) )
        $content_width = 484;
}
add_action( 'template_redirect', 'twentythirteen_content_width' );

/**
 * Add postMessage support for site title and description for the Customizer.
 *
 * @since Twenty Thirteen 1.0
 *
 * @param WP_Customize_Manager $wp_customize Customizer object.
 * @return void
 */
function twentythirteen_customize_register( $wp_customize ) {
    $wp_customize->get_setting( 'blogname' )->transport         = 'postMessage';
    $wp_customize->get_setting( 'blogdescription' )->transport  = 'postMessage';
    $wp_customize->get_setting( 'header_textcolor' )->transport = 'postMessage';
}
add_action( 'customize_register', 'twentythirteen_customize_register' );

/**
 * Enqueue Javascript postMessage handlers for the Customizer.
 *
 * Binds JavaScript handlers to make the Customizer preview
 * reload changes asynchronously.
 *
 * @since Twenty Thirteen 1.0
 *
 * @return void
 */
function twentythirteen_customize_preview_js() {
    wp_enqueue_script( 'twentythirteen-customizer', get_template_directory_uri() . '/js/theme-customizer.js', array( 'customize-preview' ), '20130226', true );
}
add_action( 'customize_preview_init', 'twentythirteen_customize_preview_js' );

Solutions Collecting From Web of "Can I remove a widget area without editing code?"

No, is not possible, not in 99% of cases.

Widget areas are added with a register_sidebar call in a php file. Until WordPress read that line, the widget area is registered.

So, the the easiest and always available way to prevent a widget area is registered is remove (or at least comment out) that line.

If the widget area is registered inside a theme function, and this function is wrapped inside a if ( ! function_exists ), example:

if ( ! function_exists('register_theme_stuff') ) {

  function register_theme_stuff() {
    register_sidebar( ... );
    register_post_type( ... );
    register_taxonomy( ... );
  }

}

then you can create a child theme and replace the function and not register the widget area, but that’s to write code, isn’t it?

Another way to prevent widget areas to be registered is when developer has used callback and a proper hook, example

add_action( 'widget_init', 'my_register_widgets' );

then you can use remove_action to remove it and prevent widget registering:

remove_action( 'widget_init', 'my_register_widgets' );

To be sure the action is removed call remove_action after the action is added. if the add_action is inside functions.php not wrapped in any hook, then use remove_action wrapped inside a after_setup_theme action callback. Read here about add_action and remove_action.

Another possibility is developer register the sidebar without using a proper hook, just roughly calling register_sidebar in functions.php:

// functions.php
register_sidebar( array( 'id' => 'a-sidebar-id', ... ) );

In this case you can remove it using unregister_sidebar right after the sidebar is registered, 'after_setup_theme', that is fired after functions.php is included, will be perfect for the scope:

add_action( 'after_setup_theme', function() {
    unregister_sidebar( 'a-sidebar-id' );
});

The 1% when widget areas can be disabled without using code, is when theme/plugin developer has added an option to register the sidebar.

Example:

  function register_theme_stuff() {
    if ( get_option('use_sidebar') ) register_sidebar( ... );
    if ( get_option('use_cpt') )  register_post_type( ... );
    if ( get_option('use_custom_tax') )  register_taxonomy( ... );
  }

If the code looks like this, then probably there is some setting UI that let you disable widget areas, but if the developer not provided that option to allow/disallow sidebar registering than only option is edit code.


PS don’t take 99% / 1% statistics as serious…

Yes, it is possible to unregister a widget area.

Widget areas, also known as Dynamic Sidebars, are registered via register_sidebar(), which will look something like so:

register_sidebar( array(
'name'          => __( 'Sidebar name', 'theme_text_domain' ),
'id'            => 'unique-sidebar-id',
'description'   => '',
    'class'         => '',
'before_widget' => '<li id="%1$s" class="widget %2$s">',
'after_widget'  => '</li>',
'before_title'  => '<h2 class="widgettitle">',
'after_title'   => '</h2>' 
) ); 

Now, if this is implemented properly in the Theme, this function will be found inside a callback, hooked into an appropriate action, normally widgets_init:

function wpse140550_register_sidebars() {

    register_sidebar( array(
    'name'          => __( 'Sidebar name', 'theme_text_domain' ),
    'id'            => 'unique-sidebar-id',
    'description'   => '',
        'class'         => '',
    'before_widget' => '<li id="%1$s" class="widget %2$s">',
    'after_widget'  => '</li>',
    'before_title'  => '<h2 class="widgettitle">',
    'after_title'   => '</h2>' 
    ) ); 

}
add_action( 'widgets_init', 'wpse140550_register_sidebars' );

So, if you know the 'id' of the Dynamic Sidebar, you can unregister it using the companion function: unregister_sidebar():

unregister_sidebar( 'unique-sidebar-id' );

But this function has to be called at the same action into which the register_sidebar() call is hooked.

In our done-properly example, we know that action is widgets_init:

function wpse140550_deregister_sidebar() {

    unregister_sidebar( 'unique-sidebar-id' );

}
add_action( 'widgets_init', 'wpse140550_deregister_sidebar' );

Now, this should work properly, even if the Theme doesn’t hook into an explicit action. The Theme functions.php file executes at (IIRC) plugins_loaded, which happens before widgets_init, and widgets_init is where the Widget functions actually happen.

So, you can either use a Child Theme, or a site functionality Plugin, to remove the Dynamic Sidebar. You primarily need to know its 'id' in order to do so.