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How to Downgrade WordPress to a Previous Version

If you are looking to revert your WordPress version to a previous version, within this article we will explain how easy this is to do. Why would you want to do this? Well, maybe you performed an upgrade to the latest version then discovered that either your plugin or theme is not compatible with the latest version of WordPress. It could even be that a required plugin is essential to your website which hasn’t had an update to make it compatible with the latest version. It could even be that you were forced to use the Gutenberg update and you want to revert back to the Classic Editor. If the last issue is the problem, then there is no need to downgrade your WordPress version because you can simply install the Classic Editor plugin and that will fix your issue.

Whatever your reason for doing this may be, there are two ways to perform the downgrade, but first things first, let’s take a backup of your current site!

The two methods for downgrading are:

  • 1. Use a Plugin
  • 2. Downgrade Manually

But as we’ve mentioned, let’s do the backup first. For instructions to do this, have a look at this post; The Best 2 Tools For WordPress Website Migrations.

Now you’ve made your backup, let’s begin…

Downgrade WordPress using a Plugin

Using a downgrade plugin is a very simple yet reliable way of downgrading your WordPress version. It is definitely a lot quicker than having to replace the files via FTP manually. The most common used plugin for the job is the WP Downgrade.

Once you have installed and activated the plugin, you can go to SettingsWP Downgrade, then you can enter the WordPress version in which you wish to downgrade to as shown below:

In our example, we chose to downgrade to WordPress 5.4.1. You can select any version you want, for a list of versions you can downgrade to, check the WordPress releases here. Once you have entered your WordPress version, just click the Save Changes button.

Now you can go to DashboardUpdates, what you will notice now is that it will say ‘You can update to WordPress 5.4.1 automatically’, it basically tricks WordPress into thinking this version is the latest version. Simply click the Update Now button and you will be reverted to your desired WordPress version in no time! Pretty cool huh?

2. Downgrade Manually

Should the Plugin not work for whatever reason or you simply just prefer to do the job by yourself, then downgrading manually isn’t exactly that difficult. If you know how to use FTP, then this will be no problem at all.

So, once you’ve backed up your site, the first step is to download the WordPress release you wish to downgrade to. Again, you can download any WordPress release version by clicking on the following link.

Next step, we simply want to upload just the wp-admin and wp-includes folder, don’t touch ANY other folders, ESPECIALLY wp-content.

So, let’s go ahead and upload and overwrite all the files for the two folders we have uploaded.

When you’re done, log into your WordPress site, update the database should it prompt a warning, and you’re done! Check it all over and make sure it’s all working as expected.

Additional Notes on Rolling Back WordPress

I wouldn’t recommend staying on an older version of WordPress forever as this could potentially lead to security issues. Sure, if it’s a quick fix to get the site working again, or if the site was updated by mistake, then go ahead! But you should look to fix the issues and upgrade to the latest version as soon as possible ideally. If the latest plugins or themes are not compatible, that’s where we can step in and help if needed. On a lot of occasions, plugin and theme developers will update these to ensure compatibility with the latest versions. However, this is not the case all the time, unfortunately. Either way, we need to find a plugin or theme alternative or even hire a professional developer to take care of the updates in the meantime.

If you need help upgrading your WordPress Theme / Plugins to the latest version, get in touch by dropping an email to [email protected].

Drop a comment below if you need any assistance with our guide! Happy coding folks!

Nathan da Silva - Profile

Posted by: Nathan da Silva

Nathan is the Founder of Silva Web Designs. He is passionate about web development, website design and basically anything digital related. His main expertise is with WordPress, Magento, Shopify as well of many other frameworks. Whether you need responsive design, SEO, speed optimisation or anything else in the world of digital then get in touch. If you would like to work with Nathan, simply drop him an email at [email protected]

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