how to downgrade wordpress

How To Downgrade WordPress

WordPress 3.5 has just been released and I’ve been reading that a lot of people seem to be having some problems after updating. So that prompted me to write out a tutorial about how to downgrade WordPress. In the event that you ever upgrade your WordPress to the newest version available and things go haywire, one of the easiest ways to fix it is by downgrading back to the previous version.

The problems are usually caused because the theme you’re using or certain plugins aren’t compatible with the newest update yet. This just happens to be one of the reasons I try to avoid plugins and themes that don’t get updated regularly. I like to use the newest WordPress features when updates are released and don’t want to be stuck with an older version just because one of my plugins or themes doesn’t work with the latest WordPress update. Before you go through the process of downgrading, I’d suggest checking to see if a plugin is what’s causing the issue.

Now before you downgrade WordPress, I’d highly recommend making sure you have a backup of your site just in case. I’ve never run into an issue but I always have the feeling that the one time I downgrade and my site goes berserk, I won’t have a backup. There are tons of backup plugins for WordPress and your web host might/should be able to provide you with the latest backup they have.

The first thing you’re going to need is a previous WordPress release. You can download any of the previous WordPress versions here –> WordPress Release Archives

Manual WordPress Downgrade Tutorial

1: Now that you’ve created a backup of your site and downloaded the WordPress version you want to downgrade to, it’s time to actually downgrade. The first thing you want to do is login to your WP Dashboard and deactivate all of your plugins.

Downgrade WordPress Step 1

2: After all your plugins have been deactivated, logout of WordPress.

3: This step will require that you have an FTP client. An FTP client allows you to access all of the files on your site. I use FireFTP from Firefox and FileZilla is another very popular option. Both are free and you can’t go wrong with either. The images in this tutorial are from FireFTP. In your FTP client, locate your WordPress files (wp-admin, wp-content, etc.). In FireFTP, they will be the first thing you see when you open your site’s folder.

4: Delete both the wp-admin and wp-includes folders. Do not touch the wp-content folder! You can leave all of the other files alone because you will overwrite them in the next step.

how to downgrade wordpress

5: While still in your FTP client, go into the folder where you have the WordPress version you want to downgrade to. Transfer over everything except the wp-content folder. After all the files have been transferred, your downgrade is finished.

wordpress downgrade

6: Login to your WP Dashboard. You will be prompted to update your WordPress database. Click on “Update WordPress Database” and then click continue to login.

wordpress update database

7: Once logged in, you should see that you’re running whatever WordPress version you downgraded to. Congrats!

If you have any questions, feel free to tweet me or email me.



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Dominique is the creator of Blog About Blogs. He has been a freelance writer for over 2 years and enjoys anything that has to do with internet marketing. Check him out on Google+ and follow him on Twitter.

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  • Paul

    I had some JQuery related issues on one of the theme I was using when WP was upgraded to 3.5.
    But you are right. Better stick with themes/plugins that are updated more often. Way less worries down the road.

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