How & Why To Downgrade WordPress Versions, Plugins, And Themes

The WordPress Core code is updated pretty regularly throughout the year. Everyone wants to upgrade to the latest version of the WordPress as it is stable. We all want the latest features and also immunity from the security holes of the older versions. Yet, even after such extensive research, all the bugs cannot be fixed at once.

This is where the problem arrives. Those bugs which left behind while fixing can really cause a lot of trouble. Also, there are plugins and themes which don’t act nicely in an update. The core developer of plugin and themes need some time to catch up with an update of WordPress. So, till that time, things can go weird.

So, if you wish to downgrade WordPress, then you are in the right place. In this post, I am going to provide you all the essential ways to downgrade WordPress versions, Plugins and Themes.

Before going any further, I want to clear one thing for sure, if you’re downgrading your WordPress version, make sure that you downgrade just to the previous version. If you downgrade further, you might open some security risks.

So, let’s get started,

Things to Remember Before Downgrading WordPress Version

Now, here you need to be sure about every course of your action. While downgrading the WordPress version, make sure that this is the only solution for your issues. Most of the time the problem initiated because of the plugin and theme. In this case, you might want to deactivate the plugin for the mean time. If it`s worth it, leave it as it is.

If that plugin is important for your website, then you need to downgrade to the previous version of the WordPress until the problem is rectified by the plugin’s developers.

Also, make sure that you have a full backup of your entire WordPress database and your website.

There are many plugins that can help you, but first I want to cover the manual part. Let’s get started,

Downgrade WordPress Manually

If you want to handle the downgrade process manually or there may be a case that you’re not even able to go to your admin area, then you must follow these steps,

1. First, download the previous version of WordPress
Make sure that you download the previous version of the WordPress website that you were using before upgrading. You can easily find all the previous version of the WordPress from wordpress.org. Normally, you want to downgrade juts up to one version. So, be sure that you downgrade just one version or else, you might risk your website for the security vulnerability.

2. Make sure that you deactivate the Plugins of your WordPress website
downgrade wordpress

Now, go to your plugins page of your WordPress website and deactivate all the plugins. Then log out your WordPress account.

If you’re not able to log in to your WordPress account, then don’t worry you can actually do this. If any plugin is causing any problem then, you must change its folder name via FTP.

3. Delete wp-admin files and Upload a fresh copy of WordPress.
Here, you need to make use of FTP client to access the server of your WordPress website. Then delete the wp-admin and wp-includes folders only.

 

Now, you can upload the files from the WordPress version which you just downloaded from the archives of WordPress.org (Except the wp content folder).

 

4. Reinstallation
After this process of the reinstallation of WordPress, you can easily log in as normal. There will be a message also that will ask you to upgrade your WordPress database. Believe me, this is normal.

You just need to make sure that your permalinks are working fine, or else you need to build it. Just select a different permalinks option in your settings, save the change, and then revert back to your original option and save again.

5. Remember to Disable the Automatic Updates
Now, you just have to disable the automatic updates of your WordPress website. You need to disable all the updates until you’re sure that everything is working properly. When the things are right, you can easily enable the automatic updates without any problem.

You can disable the automatic updates easily just by adding this code in your wp-config.php file,

define( 'AUTOMATIC_UPDATER_DISABLED', true);

This is the way you can downgrade your WordPress website manually.

6. Make Use of WordPress Plugin
In order to downgrade WordPress core files, plugins, and themes, you can also make use of a Plugin i.e., WP rollback plugin. This plugin is ideal to downgrade WordPress plugins and themes.

In order to use this plugin, you must make sure that the automatic updates are off. Also, if you’re using any premium plugin or from any other repository such as Github, then you have to do the downgrade process manually, by searching for the older version of the code for the plugin.

 

Wrapping it up.

So, if you have any issues regarding the downgrade of your WordPress website, then you can follow these manual steps or use WordPress plugin, i.e., WP rollback plugin. Allow me to provide you a quick recap of how to manually downgrade your WordPress version,

  • Make sure that you download the previous version of the WordPress website that you were using before upgrading.
  • Now, go to your plugins page of your WordPress website and deactivate all the plugins. Then log out your WordPress account.
  • You need to make use of FTP client to access the server of your WordPress website. Then delete the wp-admin and wp-includes folders only.
  • You just need to make sure that your permalinks are working fine, or else you need to build it.
  • Now, you just have to disable the automatic updates of your WordPress website. You need to disable all the updates until you’re sure that everything is working properly.

I hope my post will help you to downgrade your WordPress website and solve any compatibility issues that you might deal with.

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Jason Daszkewicz

Jason Daszkewicz is a WordPress developer by profession. He is associated with WordSuccor Ltd. – a WordPress website development services provider. Jason has been associated with WordSuccor for last 5 years and handling clients across the globe. When he is not working, he likes to spend his time outdoors exploring the world, people and technology. Contact him through Facebook or Twitter!