Today, let us explain how you can downgrade WordPress to its previous version.
It is always recommended to use the most updated version of WordPress software. But sometimes, a website becomes unresponsive or faces other issues after updating it to the latest WordPress software.
A plugin or a theme that is (yet) incompatible with the latest update can most probably cause problems.
Is it Recommended to Downgrade a WordPress Version?
Downgrading WordPress is a temporary solution!
The older version of WordPress doesn't have so many security bugs fixed. Reverting to it makes your website vulnerable to cyberattacks.
Secondly, some plugins and themes will be incompatible with the outdated version of WordPress. WordPress also rolls out an update for plugins and themes along with the update for its own software. The updated plugins and themes, in this case, will again interfere with the website's performance.
Downgrading WordPress is an option when you have tried all possible troubleshooting methods and have reinstalled WordPress too, but the error continues to bug you.
We would never recommend you to downgrade WordPress, especially if you are a beginner.
This is because downgrading WordPress is not the only step here. You must have knowledge and experience of downgrading plugins, themes, and PHP versions after downgrading WordPress. And as a beginner, it is expected that you don't know any of these and might end up messing up your website.
Is There any Alternative to Downgrading WordPress?
If you find out which specific theme or plugin is incompatible with the new update of WordPress, delete them.
There are multiple plugins for a function. Find an alternate plugin (compatible with the latest WordPress) and install it instead. You can also downgrade this plugin until WordPress rolls out a new update to it.
This will be a permanent solution to your issue.
However, if it is an incompatible theme that is troubling, you may temporarily downgrade WordPress.
- Downgrade to the last version of WordPress only.
- If the latest version is 5.6, go to 5.5.3 and NOT for 5.5 or 5.5.1 or 5.5.2.
- Find the latest WordPress versions released from here.
First Get a Backup
Before you think of downgrading your website using any method, first create a backup. This is an essential step you can't afford to neglect. With a backup of all the WordPress core files and database securely stored, you can restore your website if anything goes wrong in the downgrading process.
Having said that, there are two methods to downgrade WordPress:
Method 1: Manually download the older version
Method 2: Using a plugin
Here's a step-by-step tutorial for both methods.
Downgrade WordPress Manually Tutorial
This step can only be performed if you have access to the admin dashboard. Otherwise, skip this step.
Step 1: Deactivate All the Plugins
The first step is simple. Go to the Plugins tab from the dashboard menu and click on ‘Installed Plugins.'
Mark tick on deactivating and plugin.
Step 2: Log out of WordPress
The next step is to log out of WordPress after deactivating all plugins to prevent all conflicts caused by them.
Note: At this stage, it is essential to ensure that all plugins are compatible with the older WordPress version. If you have recently updated a plugin, downgrade it first to its previous version.
Step 3: Access WordPress files through an FTP client.
Download an FTP client if you don't have one already to complete this step. We recommend downloading Filezilla.
Access all your WordPress files using FTP client.
Step 4: Delete wp-admin and wp-includes
Locate and only delete two folders: wp-admin and wp-includes.
Don't delete wp-content even by mistake. You will lose all your website's data if you do so.
Step 5: Upload the old WordPress version files to the FTP manager.
Now, access the folder where you downloaded the previous version of WordPress from your FTP client only.
When the folder opens, select all files except wp-content and click on upload.
Or use the drag and drop option to transfer the files from the left to the right pane on the FTP server.
Next, a prompt will appear on your screen saying ‘Target file already exists.' Click on Overwrite from the Actions Menu and then press OK.
Step 6: Update WordPress Database
Log in to your WordPress site again. As you have uploaded the previous version's files to your site, you will be prompted to Update Your Database. Click on the button, and your WordPress is downgraded to the older version successfully.
Note: Reactivate your plugins one by one to find out which one (if any) is causing the conflict. We also recommend disabling auto-updates for plugins at this point. Once you debug the error, reinstall the latest WordPress version by merely navigating the Updates option in the dashboard.
Downgrade WordPress Using a Plugin Tutorial
If you are unfamiliar with FTP and don't want to take any risk by deleting WordPress core files, you can easily downgrade WordPress using a plugin.
The WP Downgrade plugin allows you to restore your WordPress to ANY version you want. You are given a list of releases to select from. Once you do that, the release is downloaded from WordPress.org.
Note: Let us remind you again to back up your website before installing this plugin.
Let us demonstrate how to use this plugin within seconds to downgrade WordPress with a step-by-step tutorial.
Step 1: Determine the target version of WordPress from settings.
Once WP Downgrade is installed, go to Settings → WP Downgrade (plugin).
The next screen will display an empty field beside the WordPress target version.
In this field, enter precisely the version that you want to go back to.
Enter 5.5.3 if you want to downgrade WordPress to 5.5.3 or add 5.5.2 if you're going to go two steps back (not recommended to go this back).
Net click on Save Changes and then click on the Up-/Downgrade Core button.
Step 2: Reinstall WordPress
You will be taken to the Updates section after clicking on the Up-/Downgrade Core button.
Click on Re-install Now to downgrade WordPress to the target version (5.5.3 in our example).
NOTE: Once the plugin has served its purpose, update WordPress back to its latest version. Simply change the WordPress Target Version in the WP Downgrade plugin settings and do all the steps mentioned above again.
Now that you know the methods to downgrade WordPress sites, we remind you to only use it as a short-term solution. Don't risk your website's security if you don't have a genuine reason for downgrading.
We hope this post solved your query with satisfaction. Meanwhile, do let us know which of the two methods did you find easier?