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FTP - Remove files and folders at light speed

ยท 2 min read
Markdown, WSL and Docker lover ~ PHP developer ~ Insatiable curious.

FTP - Remove files and folders at light speed

Have you ever deleted a website from your FTP client? It's easy, just select the folder containing the website and press the delete key.

Easy, simple and ... so slow. It takes ages to suppress files / folders. Several dozen minutes! Ouch.

If you've a SSH connection to your web server and if you're comfortable with it; you can rm -rf the folder and it'll be done in seconds.

But what if you don't have SSH or fear to make errors?

There is an alternative, the erase.php script.

Open your FTP client, open your website folder (like /var/www/html/old_site); the one you wish to remove and create a new file called f.i. erase.php then copy/paste the code below in it.


$script_name = basename(__FILE__);
$directory = dirname(__FILE__);

echo '<h1>Deleting all files and subfolders in '.$directory.'</h1>';

$it = new RecursiveDirectoryIterator($directory);

foreach (new RecursiveIteratorIterator($it, RecursiveIteratorIterator::CHILD_FIRST) as $file) {
if ( ($file->isDir()) && (!in_array($file->getFilename(), array('.', '..'))) ){
echo '<h3>Deleting folder '.$file->getPathname().'</h3>';
} else {
if ( ($file->isFile()) && ($file->getPathname()!=__FILE__) ) {
echo '<p>Deleting file '.$file->getPathname().'</p>';
unlink ($file->getPathname());

echo '<h4 style="color:green;">Deletion complete. Only the '.$script_name.' file remains in the folder.</h4>';


Start your browser, navigate to your website ( and add /erase.php at the end to run the script.

Make sure this is what you want
Be really sure this is what you want
Be extremly sure this is what you want

The script will then start immediately and will remove everything without asking confirmation nor backup. Just killing files and folders.

At the end of the process (i.e. in just a few seconds), the folder will be completely empty.