How can you downgrade your WordPress version

Many of us might have toyed over the idea of upgrading WordPress to the latest version only to realize that it was not a wise decision to do so. While upgrading brings in many new features and updates, if you do not understand the changes you can be caught fiddling with the look and feel of your website. Often you would find that a plugin or theme has gone haywire. Well, there is no need to panic. These changes can be reverted by downgrading WordPress.

As with any application, before you proceed with any major changes (read downgrade) it is always a good idea to back it up. Ensure that the site is backed up so that you can restore it to its glory even if something goes wrong during the downgrade process. Let’s get started:-

  1. Create a backup of your website : Back up the website either using the hosting tools or using the WordPress plugins for backup from this webpage
  2. Download the desired WordPress version: Download the previous version of WordPress that you would like to revert to. You can check the website given below for the download link.

Make sure you only download the immediate previous version. Earlier versions are known to have security issues that you wouldn’t like to face.

  1. Disable Plugins: Deactivate all the plugins by logging on to your WordPress dashboard and selecting the check boxes against each plugin, followed by selecting Deactivate from the drop down and clicking Apply. Once the plugin have been deactivated successfully log out from WordPress,
  2. Delete the WP-Admin and WP-includes folders: Locate your site’s WordPress files using a FTP client. Once you open your site’s folder you will see many files and folders. Delete the folders “wp-admin” and “wp-includes” one after the other. Please stay away from deleting any other file or folder.
  3. Transfer previous WordPress version files: Use the FTP client to access the folder containing the version of WordPress that you want to restore to. Select all the files and folders in that folder except “wp-content” and transfer them to your actual WordPress folder. This completes the downgrade.
  4. Update the WordPress database: Once the downgrade is successful log in to your WordPress dashboard. You will be immediately prompted to update the database. Click on the “Update WordPress Database” and continue.
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Now you are good to go!

The decision to downgrade solely rests on you. For me if the upgrade has just resulted in an issue with a plugin I would rather wait for an update to the plugin. However, if the upgrade has caused a problem with the template, I would decide on downgrading WordPress to the previous version.

Amit Acharya
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