28 Oct 2020

How to Downgrade WordPress to an Older Version?

How to Downgrade WordPress to an Older Version?

|By Jane

Having problems with your theme or plugins compatibility? Downgrading WordPress to an older version might be a quick solution. In this article, we will show you several methods to downgrade the WordPress core to a previous version.

Why Downgrade WordPress?

The recent WordPress 5.5 update broke thousands of websites. There were several issues but one of the most common ones was the compatibility of the new WordPress version with plugins and themes. This means that every theme, plugin, or custom code that isn’t compatible with the new WordPress core, shows error messages and crashes the websites due to these conflicts.

We’ve already seen different methods to fix the WordPress 5.5 problems and one of the best ones is to downgrade WordPress to a previous, stable version. Even though this doesn’t solve the compatibility problem with the new version, it allows you to have your site online until the incompatible themes and plugins receive an update.

So, in this guide, you’ll learn different ways to downgrade the WordPress core.

You can test the compatibility in a staging environment, make sure that nothing is wrong there.

How to Downgrade WordPress to an Earlier Version?

There are three main methods to downgrade WordPress to an older version.

They all get the job done so choose the one that best suits your skills and needs. Now, let’s have a look at each of them step-by-step.

1) Downgrade WordPress Manually

Out of the 3 methods, having to downgrade the WordPress core manually is probably the hardest for beginners. However, it’s very useful, especially if you’re locked out of your WordPress admin area.

In this process involves you will have to download the previous WordPress files from its official website, create an FTP account, use FileZilla to upload those files and make some changes to the files. So, let’s see how to do it step-by-step.

Download CMS Core

The first thing you need to do is download the previous stable version of WordPress. For this guide, we are going to roll back to 5.4.2. To do that, go to the WordPress releases page and download the files.

You can download the Zip file/tar.gz or IIS Zip file. After you download it to your local computer, extract the file. You will see three folders and some PHP files inside it.

After that, you need to create an FTP account.

Create FTP Account

Now, it’s time to create an FTP account to access your WordPress site’s file manager. If you are on shared hosting, the FTP account settings will be in your control panel.

Managed WordPress hosting companies like Kinsta and WP Engine have a dedicated section for the FTP account in the user dashboard. Simply create your username and password and create an FTP account.

After that, log in to your file manager using any FTP client such as FileZilla. In our case, we are going to choose the FileZilla FTP client.

Modifying Files and Directories

After creating your FTP account, log in to your file manager. You’ll have to make some changes to the files.

Now, you need to delete the wp-admin and wp-includes folders. Both directories contain a lot of subfolders and files, so this process may take some time.

After deleting both directories, you need to upload the WordPress files of the version you’ve previously downloaded to the server. So simply select the files, right-click, and press Upload.

Keep in mind that you don’t need to upload the wp-content folder because it contains your uploaded media and related files.

When you do this, you will see a dialogue box on the screen. Select the Overwrite option and click Ok.

After uploading the new files, go to your WordPress admin section and press Update WordPress Database.

Your server will now update the database. This may take some time if your database is big so be patient.

Then, log in to your WordPress dashboard using your username and password and you will see that the installed core version is now 5.4.2.

You’ve just downgraded WordPress manually! The process involves several steps but if you follow them in order, you shouldn’t have any issues.

2) Downgrade WordPress with a Plugin

A more beginner-friendly option to downgrade your WordPress install is by using a plugin. There are several tools that you can use but we recommend using WP Downgrade. This is a free plugin that allows you to change the WordPress versions and choose an old one in a few clicks.

Installation and Activation

First, you need to install the plugin on your site. So, in your WordPress dashboard, go to Plugins > Add new. Search for WP Downgrade on the search bar and then install and activate the tool on your site.

Then, go to Settings > WP Downgrade. There you will see your current WordPress version and you’ll have to specify the version you want to downgrade to (or Target Version). You need to enter the exact version number so you can check out WordPress’s official releases page.

In our case, we’re running WordPress is 5.5.1.

Let’s say you want to downgrade your core to WordPress 5.4.2. So, in the WordPress Target Version box, simply type 5.4.2. Remember that you need to specify the exact version number. After that, press the Save Changes button.

In the next page load, you will see that WordPress has been downgraded to the specified core version.

You can see the same in the WordPress updates page.

This method is very effective and only takes a couple of clicks. So if you want to change your WordPress version without using any third-party tools like FileZilla, this is an excellent option for you.

3) Restore a Previous Backup

The third method to downgrade WordPress to an older version is to restore a previous backup. This will only work if you have a backup of your site. If you’re not sure how to do it, you can have a look at our guide on how to generate a full backup.

So, before downgrading WordPress, you need to create a backup of your website. This way, you will be able to restore this backup file when you need it. For this demo, we have created several demo backup files using the UpdraftPlus plugin.

When you want to restore a backup, all you need to do is go to the plugin settings in the WordPress admin and click Restore on your target version.

On the next page, you can select the components you want to restore such as plugins, themes, uploads, and more.

The plugin will import all your database tables by default but you can also exclude the tables you don’t want to restore. After that, click Restore.

The restoration process may take some minutes if your backup is big. When it finishes, you’ll see a success screen.

And that’s how you downgrade WordPress to a previous version by restoring a backup.

NOTE: It’s worth noting that managed hosting solutions such as Kinsta, WP Engine, or Flywheel generate daily backups of your website. So, if you are using any of those, you don’t need to rely on additional plugins to create backups.

Tips to Downgrade WordPress

WordPress is the most popular CMS in the world so WordPress sites and plugins receive constant attacks from hackers. That’s why, to keep your website and your files safe, we recommend you generate regular backups of your site. This way, if anything bad happens, you can restore it and keep your business up and running. If you’re not familiar with the process of creating a backup, check out our tutorial to generate a complete backup.

Additionally, we recommend keeping the backup files on a secure location. So, instead of keeping them on the same server, you can download them to your local storage or upload them to any other secure cloud storage services like Google Drive or Dropbox.

Some backup plugins like BackupBuddy allow you to automatically transfer the backup files to any third-party cloud storage or even an FTP server. So, consider this when you use a backup plugin.

Finally, before updating WordPress to the latest version, it’s a good idea to create a staging environment. This way, you’ll be able to test the changes before applying them to your site. So if there’s an issue, you can solve it without breaking your website.

All in all, downgrading WordPress to an older version can be a good option when you’re having problems with the latest WordPress update, when you’re experiencing compatibility issues with plugins or themes, or when you simply want to run a previous version of WordPress.

In this guide, we’ve seen different methods to do it:

If you’ve been locked out of your WordPress site, the manual method is the best for you. It requires several steps and it’s not as easy as the other methods, but if you’re familiar with FTP and file uploading, you won’t have any issues.

On the other hand, the plugin method is the simplest way to downgrade WordPress. If you have access to your WordPress dashboard, simply install the WP Downgrade plugin and roll back to a more stable WordPress version.

Finally, another easy way to get your site back online is to restore a previous backup. This process is quite simple but it will work only if you have a complete backup of your WordPress core.

Do you know any other methods to downgrade WordPress? Which one do you use? Let us know in the comments section below!

This content was originally published here.

26 Sep 2019
26 Feb 2018

Configure WordPress to use your SSL Certificate

It is recommended that every website uses an SSL certificate. An SSL certificate encrypts data transmitted between the users computer and the website that has the certificate installed. Google will penalise you in search results for not having an SSL certificate, and popular browsers are now presenting users with increasingly stark security warnings when visiting a website that doesn’t use SSL.

Do I already have an SSL certificate?

Have a look in your browser address bar. If the web address begins with https:// rather than http://, you already have a certificare installed. You may additionally see a message from the browser showing the site is secure:



How do I get an SSL Certificate?

Speak to your webhost who will provide and install the SSL certificate for you. The price will vary, depending on the host and the certificate but for an average site expect to pay between £0 – £100 per annum.

Configure WordPress to use your SSL certificate

Once your webhost has confirmed that the SSL certificate has been instaled, you will need to configure your WordPress website to do this:

1. Update the Site URL and Home URL

Navigate to General > Settings and change your website web address from http:// to https://

This will automatically configure WordPress to use the SSL certificate.

2. Update internal site references

If you use images on pages or posts (rather than featured images), you will need to update the links within the image tags to use https:// too. Doing this manually can be a laborious process so we recommend the Better Search Replace WordPress plugin for this.

  • Backup your database! If you make a mistake, you WILL break your website and recovery may be difficult without a backup.
  • Install better Sarch Replace from the WordPress Repository
  • Navigate to Tootles > Better Seach Replace
  • Search for your existing web address and replace with the new https:// version. We recommend you search in the tables wp_options, wp_posts and wp_postmeta.
  • Turn off the ‘Dry Run’ option
  • Run Search / Replace

In most cases, your website will now show the secure padlock next to your web address. If it is still missing, you may need to search in additional tables. Contact us if you need help with this, and we will configure your webite to use SSL for a small fee.

02 Aug 2017

Change the URL of your WordPress Website

Sometimes you may need to change the URL of your WordPress website. If you attended one of our WordPress training courses for example and used a temporary URL.

This process is quite straightforward but you can break your site so proceed with caution and Backup your WordPress website first!

Your domain needs to be up and running and pointing to your existing website.

Step 1 – Backup your database!

There’s a separate guide on how to do this here

Step 2 – Install Better Search Replace Plugin

You can do this from your Plugins menu. The plugin is also available in the WordPress repository here.

Step 3 – Tell WordPress about the new URL

You can do this under Settings > General. You will need to set the Home URL and the Site URL which will usually be the same thing.

This will automatically update any internal links within menus, locations of featured images etc, but you will still need to replace the url where it is used within inline images or other content areas

Step 4 – Search and Replace your database

This bit is destructive – proceed with caution!

  • Open the Search and Replace plugin page from the Tools menu
  • Search for your old URL and replace with your new URL
  • Select the tables to search. Start with wp_options, wp_posts and wp_postmeta
  • You may wish to test with a dry run initially, if so leave the Dry run box ticked

If you need assistance changing the URL of your WordPress website, you can submit a WordPress support request here

31 Jul 2017

Setup Subdomains in eXtend Control Panel

If you are using our standard eXtend hosting packages, you can easily setup a subdomain on your webhosting using the eXtend Control Panel. This will allow you to set up different website or webapps on teh same hosting account

For example:

  • www.wtddemo.co.uk – Your main website and accessible using the www.
  • intranet.wtddemo.co.uk – A custom web application accessible with a different subdomain.

Step 1 – Sign into your Watch the Dot Hosting Account

For instruction on how to do that, see this guide

Step 2 – Navigate to Web Tools

You can expand or collapse sections within your control panel using the +/- signs at the top of each section

Step 3 – Configure your subdomain

  1. Type in your subdomain
  2. Enter the directory where you want the additional website to reside. This will be beneath the public_html directory

You can sample our eXtend based web hosting on our hosting demo site at www.wtddemo.co.uk

26 Jul 2017

Password Protect a Directory on your website

If you are using our standard eXtend hosting packages, you can easily password protect a directory using the eXtend Control Panel to protect an area of your website from unauthorised access

Step 1 – Sign into your Watch the Dot Hosting Account

For instruction on how to do that, see this guide

Step 2 – Navigate to Web Tools

You can expand or collapse sections withinb your control panel using the +/- signs at the top of each section

Step 3 – Configure Password Protection

  • Select the Password protection icon
  • Enter the directory name
  • Enter a new username
  • Enter a new password
  • Select Add protection

You can sample our eXtend based web hosting on our hosting demo site at www.wtddemo.co.uk

16 Jul 2017

Manually Backup your WordPress Website

There’s lots of WordPress backup plugins available that will help you back up your WordPress installation, either on a one-off basis or to a set schedule, but sometimes I feel most secure knowing I’ve made a manual backup which I can archive off somewhere.

In this post, I’ll show you the process I use to backup my WordPress installations on our standard web hosting using the eXtend Control. The steps may vary from host to host but the concepts and steps are essentially the same.

With WordPress, any changes you make to the website files outside of a blank WordPress install will be made within the wp-content directory. As it’s always possible to download a fresh install of WordPress from wordpress.org, I generally only backup the wp-content directory. All of your content such as pages, posts, comments and products are stored in the WordPress database.

The general principle then is

  1. Backup wp-content directory
  2. Backup WordPress database

Step 1 – Login to your webhost control panel and navigate to your files

If using Watch the Dot hosting, details on how to login to your hosting account can be found here

Step 2 – Navigate into the public_html directory and compress wp-content

You can compress a directory by right clicking and selecting pack. Select the .zip file type.

Step 3 – Download your wp-content.zip file and archive

After a few moments you should have a file called wp-content.zip within your file structure. You can click on this to download and save offline<

Step 4 – Navigate to your database

Within your Watch the Dot control panel, navigate to “Web Tools” > “MySQL Databases” > “Manage”

Step 5 – Select your WordPress database

You should now be within the phpMyAdmin tool for managing your MySQL WordPress database. You will need to select your WordPress database. If you only have one WordPress install, this is likely to be the one that isn’t called INFORMATION SCHEMA. (note: If you have more than one install or a number of databases, you will need to look inside your wp-config.php file within the public_html directory to determine which database your WordPress install uses).

Step 6 – Export your database

Once you have selected your database, select the tab marked ‘Export’ along the top row. This will open the Export screen. You can select the defaults and hit Go. This will automatically download a file to your local PC.

You should now have two files – your wp-content.zip back up file and you database backup. You can now archive these away somewhere safe. Note that any changes made to your website after this backup has been made will not be saved in this backup!

If you need assistance backing up your WordPress install, you can submit a WordPress support request here

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