How to Downgrade WordPress Website to Older Version

Are you looking for the easiest way to downgrade your WordPress website but don’t find any solution for doing this? If you’re suffering from the same issue, then here we’re with an awesome blog post on downgrading the WordPress to an older version.

I know sometimes during the update; we lose too many functions, or our theme or plugin isn’t compatible with the latest version. If you wanted to downgrade the WordPress website, you could follow the methods we’re going to share in this article and easily downgrade it.

Before getting started on the methods for downgrading the website, let’s find out the reason why we’re downgrading from the latest version to an older version of WordPress.

So…

Why Do You Want to Downgrade WordPress?

Generally speaking, it’s always best to keep the WordPress website to the latest version because with every update of WordPress, it patches tons of well-known vulnerabilities from the older version and it also supports more functions with more efficient coding.

But sometimes we have to decide whether we have to move on to an older version of WordPress or not. Let’s take the example of Gutenberg Editor, mostly we all don’t like this update and the classic editor is going to be deprecated soon, so whether it’s good to downgrade the WordPress version is totally depends upon you!

why do you want to downgrade wordpress?
Why Do You Want to Downgrade WordPress?

Also, older versions of WordPress are not actively maintained by WordPress Developers, so they’re more likely to contain well-known vulnerabilities and can also conflict with third-party themes and plugins.

And if you recently moved to the latest version of WordPress and see any conflicts with the theme and plugin you’re using, then it’s really a big issue and sometimes even it broke the site and made it inaccessible. In this case, we all wanted to downgrade the wordpress website to the older version.

But trust me, downgrading your website is just a quick solution, and it isn’t a reliable one. You can downgrade your website for a few hours and nail down the root problem causing the issue. The issues can include troubleshooting the website by deactivating the plugins, editing the line of bad code, and also deactivating the theme you’re using on your website.

Once you figured out the root problem which causes the issue and rectifies it, then again you can update your wordpress site to the latest version.

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How to Downgrade WordPress

If you’ve made your mind about downgrading the WordPress website for any reason, then you can use the methods which I’m sharing below to easily downgrade it. It will only take a couple of minutes to downgrade the wordpress website.

And there are two ways through which you can downgrade your website;

  • Using WordPress Plugins and
  • Manually Downgrading WordPress

In this guide, I’ll share the steps to downgrade wordpress website using both methods I shared above.

But before you downgrade your WordPress website, it is extremely important to keep a backup of your WordPress and other important files, including your database. The methods which I’m going to share below are generally safe, but if you’re messing with the core files, especially when you don’t know what you’re doing, then anything can go wrong.

So it’s better to first take a backup of your website and then downgrade WordPress, and for this, first, I’m sharing the methods to back up your WordPress site completely without any hassle and then move towards downgrading it.

Steps to Backup WordPress Files Easily

The plugin which I liked the most is “Updraft Plus.” It helps me to take a backup of my entire website easily and also facilitates me to send my website backup to third-party servers remotely. And with the help of this plugin, I always keep a backup of my files in Google Drive with the last three days of backup rotation. 

So I highly recommend this plugin for taking the backup of your website. You simply have to install the plugin from the WordPress repository by visiting the Plugins > Add New and then search for the “Updraft” plugin.

searching and installing the updraft plugin on my website
Searching and Installing the Updraft Plugin on my Website

Once you install and activate the plugin, it will take you to the updraft dashboard from where you can take the backup of your WordPress files. 

taking website backup using updraft
Taking Website Backup using Updraft

Now click on the “Backup Now” button showing in the blue color, and it will start the backup process. Once the backup is ready, it will show the backup in the “Existing Backups” section showing below with the date of backup, the backup items, along with the option to restore and delete it.

Download the backup to your local drive or send it to a remote server for playing a safe game here.

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As of now, we have discussed about taking the backup of WordPress before downgrading it. Now let’s continue to downgrade the version of the WordPress website with no hassle.

So the first method which we’re using to downgrade wordpress website is;

1. Using WordPress Plugin

It is one of the easiest yet most convenient ways to downgrade a wordpress website without losing any data. Most of the WordPress gurus use this method, and they highly recommend following this method.

Using a WordPress plugin for rolling back to an older version is a fairly reliable way, and it is much easier than manually replacing the core files of WordPress with the older version. The most popular plugin for reverting back is WP Downgrade

a wordpress plugin, named wp downgrade
A WordPress Plugin, Named WP Downgrade

WP Downgrade plugin has more than 100,000+ active installations as of writing this post with over 4.7-start ratings. The plugin support reverting back to an older version of your choice, and now you can manually edit the download link, if necessary. It helps you to get WordPress release from another source.

And the plugin is easy to use and install, you have to download the plugin from your WordPress repository by searching for the “WP Downgrade” and then install and activate it.

installing wp downgrade plugin
Installing WP Downgrade Plugin

Once the plugin is installed and activated on your website, you now have to visit the plugin’s settings page and then select the WordPress version you wanted to downgrade on.

options in wp downgrade plugin
Options in WP Downgrade Plugin

Now you’ve to exactly enter the WordPress version you wanted to downgrade on in the box showing in the image above. You can also check the WP Releases here to make sure about the WordPress versions.

As of writing the article, the latest version is 5.5.3, and I wanted to roll-back to WordPress Version 5.5.1 to show the working of this plugin.

So I’ll enter 5.5.1 on the box showing after the “WordPress Target Version.”

downgrading wordpress version on my website
Downgrading WordPress Version on My Website

Once I hit the “Save Changes” button, it will show the plugin status is “Active” and the option to downgrade it from the “Update Core” options, which you can found on the Dashboard > Updates page.

You’ll also get the option to “edit download URL.” This option is convenient for people who want to get WordPress release from another source.

re-install wordpress for downgrading it
Re-install WordPress for Downgrading it

When you click on the “Up-/Downgrade Core” button, it will redirect you to the “Update Core” page. Here you’ve to click on the “Re-install Now” button to reinstall the WordPress version you set up on the “WP Downgrade” plugin.

Bingo! Now you’ve successfully downgraded your website to an older version.

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2. Manually Downgrading WordPress

Manually downgrading the WordPress website by replacing the core files is another method, but this is not the method I usually recommend to anyone. This method can go tricky if you’re messing with the core files, especially when you don’t know what you’re doing, then anything can go wrong.

The first method towards downgrading your website manually is to log in to your cPanel and then go to file manager. If you’re not using cPanel, then you can also use FileZilla FTP Software to access the file manager of your website.

manually downgrading wordpress website
Manually Downgrading WordPress Website

Once you’re in the file manager, select all the files and unselect the “wp-content” folder and the “wp-config.php” file from the list and then delete them all.

When the files are deleted, you’ve to upload the files of the older version. 

For this, you can visit the WP Releases page and download the version you wanted to downgrade on. You’ll get the option to download from various branches or versions of WordPress, find the suitable one according to your needs.

selecting the wordpress version
Selecting the WordPress Version

Once you find the suitable WordPress version for downgrading your website, click on the “ZIP” option next to the version release date. 

For example, in the image above, I’m downgrading to WordPress version 5.5.1, so I’ll click on the “ZIP” option next to it, and it will automatically start downloading the WordPress file for me.

unzip the file and delete wp-content folder
Unzip the file and delete the wp-content folder

Once the file is downloaded, extract the files and then delete the “wp-content” folder from it. You’ll have to make sure you deleted this folder; else it will overwrite the existing folder of your website where all the themes, plugins, and uploads are stored.

And then again compress all the files & folders and upload them to your server using the cPanel or any FTP software. 

upload the files & extract it
Upload the files & extract it

Once the zip file is uploaded on your server, right-click on the file and then click on the “Extract” option. It will extract all the files in the website directory and your website will start working again.

Bingo! You’ve successfully downgraded the wordpress website.

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Do We Recommend Downgrading WordPress?

No, I don’t recommend downgrading the WordPress website permanently. If you just migrated to the latest version of WordPress and feels your website is broken or some functions aren’t working properly, then I recommend troubleshooting it but not to downgrade.

For troubleshooting, you can check the type of error you’re getting. Sometimes plugin shows the syntax error from which you can know which plugin or theme causes the issue and simply deactivate them or use some alternate plugins. You can also ask for solutions in various forums or on the plugin/theme forum for help, and they’ll solve the issue for you.

But still, if you want to downgrade a wordpress website, then beware that it can risk your website security to various well-known vulnerabilities, and it can also harm your website’s SEO if it got hacked.

Wrapping Up!

So in this guide today, I tried my best to share all the methods through which you can downgrade a wordpress website, and I also shared what I personally feel about downgrading the website.

And with the two methods I shared above, I only recommend downgrading the wordpress website through a plugin. It is an efficient and convenient way through which you can downgrade the version of WordPress without getting into any type of issues.

If you liked this article, don’t forget to share it with your friends, family, and followers. 🙂

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Sunny Kumar

Sunny Kumar, Founder of TheWPX

Hola Amigos! I'm Sunny Kumar, Founder of TheWPX. A blog where I share my experience which I have gathered from my last 5 year journey in blogging with all the new bloggers struggling to make their first income.

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