How To Downgrade WordPress Website To Older Version?

This article is for you if you are searching for how you can easily downgrade your website’s WordPress version.

Sometimes after a WordPress update, our website will not function correctly. It can be because few plugins we are using or the website theme itself is not capable of the newer version of WordPress.

It may also be a problem with the WordPress update itself. I highly recommend you to troubleshoot the problem somewhat than downgrading the WordPress version. You have to find the cause of the issue to solve it.

Mostly the issue is with plugins or themes. That’s why I always recommend you to use the themes and plugins from trusted developers who maintain and provide a regular update.

Downgrading the website can be a quick solution but not a reliable one. You should update plugins, themes, and WordPress itself timely to be safe and maintain your website’s performance.

How Can You Detect The Cause of Issue?

You have to check it manually.

First of all, deactivate all your plugins. You can easily do it from the WordPress admin dashboard. If you are unable to access the admin area, you can also deactivate the plugins from the server-side.

To deactivate the plugin from the server-side, login to your host, go to “wp-content,” and rename the “plugin” folder to anything, and all the plugins will be deactivated.

Now try to open the website. If everything is working correctly, then the issue is with your website’s plugin. One or more plugins are not capable of the newer version.

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How Can You Detect The Cause of Issue

To rectify which plugin is causing the issue. You have to activate the plugin one by one manually and check, like activate the plugin and refresh the websites, do it for all plugins, you will get the incapable one.

If the particular plugin is not essential, then it is better to remove it rather than downgrading the WordPress version. You can also start using the alternative of a specific plugin.

But what if the problem is not solved after deactivating the plugin? Then it’s an issue with your theme. You have to downgrade the WordPress till your theme becomes capable with the newer version.

How To Downgrade WordPress?

It is straightforward to downgrade the WordPress version. Below I have shared the complete instructions. The whole process will take only a few minutes. You can downgrade WordPress in two different ways,

  • Using WordPress Plugins and
  • Manually Downgrading WordPress

Talking about my recommendation, I highly recommend you to go with the plugin way if you are not familiar with server-side. Whatever method you choose, you should entirely back up your websites before downgrading. Here is how you can take the backup of your website.

How To Backup Websites?

There are tons of free or paid backup plugins available. Updraft is one of the best and most preferred backup plugins among professionals. It allows you to backup your websites entirely online. You can store the backup on different cloud platforms, including Google Drive and Dropbox.

First of all, log in to your websites, Go to Plugin >> Click on Add New >> Now search for the Updraftplus >> Click on Install and Activate the plugin.

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Searching and Installing the Updraft Plugin on my Website

After installing the plugin, you have to configure it and create a backup. To configure the plugin, Go to Setting >> Click on UpdraftPlus Backups. You will be redirected to the plugin configuration page.

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Taking Website Backup using Updraft

You can see the option as Setting in the top menu. Click on that. From this setting page, you can configure everything from when you want to create the back up to where you have to save it. It is better to use a free cloud storage platform like Google Drive or Dropbox.

Configure everything, set up the cloud storage, and then click on the first option, Backup / Restore. Click on the big backup Now button to create the backup of your websites. The backup process will take a few minutes, depending upon the size of the website.

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Updraft Setting

Once the backup is completed, you will get it in the Existing Backup section below the page. There is also an option to download it locally.

That’s how you can easily create a backup of your websites.

If you are unable to access the WordPress admin area, you can still create a backup of websites. Ask your hosting provider to make a back of current files with the database or do it yourself.

Log in to your host >> Locate the files of your site >> Select all files >> Click on a Compress >> Download the compressed file.

To back up the database, Go to PHPMyAdmin >> Select the database of your website >> Click on the export option at the top >> Then click on the Go.

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Exporting Database Using phpMyAdmin

That’s how you can manually create the complete backup of your websites.

Downgrade WordPress Using Plugins

It is straightforward to downgrade the WordPress version using a plugin. There are tons of plugins that can help you with it. Here in this article, I am going to share the complete instruction by using WP Downgrade By Reisetiger.

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A WordPress Plugin, Named WP Downgrade

It is free to use the plugin, which you can directly install from the WordPress plugin library. Follow the below instructions carefully to be done with it.

First, you need to install the WP Downgrade plugin. Login to your WordPress websites >> Go To Plugin >> Click on Add New >> Search for WP Downgrade >> Click on Install and Activate.

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Installing WP Downgrade Plugin

Now go to Setting >> And click on the WP Downgrade option. You will be redirected to the plugin configuration page. You have to manually enter the exact version number of WordPress to which you want to downgrade your website. What you have to do is to enter the version number and click on save changes.

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Options in WP Downgrade Plugin

Check here to get complete information about WP Releases.

This plugin also provides you with the option to edit the download URL. That means if you have the older WordPress version, you can paste the URL, and the plugin will use your files in the downgrading process.

That’s how you can easily downgrade your WordPress version by using WP Downgrade By Reisetiger. It is not necessary to use only WP Downgrade By Reisetiger, you are free to use any plugin.

Manually Downgrading WordPress

The manual downgrading on the WordPress version is also very straightforward. What you have to do is just to replace some files. You can only perform the manual downgrade if you have the hosting / server access. If your website is hosted on managed WordPress hosting, you can not do it.

In that case, you can ask your hosting provider to downgrade your WordPress. Most probably, they will immediately do it. Follow the below instructions carefully if you have decided to do it yourself.

First of all, login into your hosting account. If your website is hosted on VPS, then you can get access to your files by using an FTP client. I recommend you to use FileZilla. FileZilla is a free FTP solution. It supports FTP over TLS (FTPS) and SFTP.

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Manually Downgrading WordPress Website

Go to the file manager and locate the files of your websites. Now from here, you need to delete all the files except the “wp-content” and “wp-config.php” file. Select all files, unselect those two and click on the delete option at the top.

You have done half the work. You have successfully deleted the new version. Now you need to download the older one and copy all the files over here.

To download the older WordPress version, check the WP Releases page. You can download any WordPress version from there. Make sure to download the zip file of the version to which you want to downgrade.

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Selecting the WordPress Version

After completing the download, Go to the download folder >> Select the downloaded files >> Right-click on it and click on extract.

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Unzip the file and delete the wp-content folder

Now open the extracted folder and delete the “wp-content” and “wp-config.php” file for here.

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Upload the files & extract it

Now compress the file again and upload it to your server. Click on the upload button at the top, select the file, and click on upload. Once the zip file is uploaded, right-click, and click on extract, it will extract the file to your server.

Done, you have successfully downgraded to the older version.

Keep in mind. You should downgrade down to the version before the newest one. Downgrading the websites to the way-back version will put your site totally at risk.

Bonus Tip: Restore The Most Recent Backup

Rather than downgrading the WordPress version, you can quickly restore the most recent backup of your websites. It is easier than downgrading.

Almost all WordPress users use the backup plugin to create the backup of websites regularly. If you have the backup, then you can freshly install WordPress on your domain and restore the backup.

Even a few premium hosting companies backup the websites regularly. Check the hosting control panel for backup, if you find you can restore it from there in one click.

Do We Recommend Downgrading WordPress?

No, by downgrading the WordPress version, you are opening doors for a hacker, making it easier for them to take control of your website. With every update, team WordPress fixes the performance and security issue, apply new security patches.

Downgrading is for those who have just updated the WordPress version and feel that their website is broken or is not functioning correctly. For them also, I personally recommend trying to troubleshoot the problem before downgrading to the older version.

If you have made the discussion of downgrading the WordPress version, then make sure you should install the excellent security plugin, which protects your website for a certain level.

Final Words

You can easily downgrade the WordPress version of your website by using any of the above ways. But I recommend you go with the plugin if you are not familiar with the server-side.

No matter how you can downgrade WordPress, whether you are using a plugin or performing the task manually. You should take the backup of your entire website so you can restore it in terms of any technical problem during downgrade.

Till now, I have downgraded more than 20 times but still have not faced any data loss, but make sure you should have taken the backup. We hope this article helped you. If it is helpful for you in any manner, then do share it on social media.

2 thoughts on “How To Downgrade WordPress Website To Older Version?”

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  1. Sunny,

    I totally agree with you – downgrading to the older versions of WordPress is not highly recommended. But, if it is required in any case; thanks for your valuable tips to prevent data loss.

    Reply
  2. Hey Sunny,

    Good article at the correct time. It’s very useful for me, why because the WordPress version was recently updated to a new version (5.6). I am using website builder on my WordPress. So It does not function correctly. I step forward to degrade the version of WordPress.

    Thanks

    Reply

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