Although having latest WordPress is good idea, but sometime you may wish to back to earlier version of WordPress after upgrading your WordPress. This can happen when your plugins or theme do not work with new version of WordPress and your site is depend to that plugins or theme.
Good news is downgrading from latest version of WordPress to a older version of WordPress is very easy task. It is same as upgrading a WordPress to newer version but in reverse way!.
Here I going to share my experience with you, how you can install older WordPress on newest version of WordPress. Let say you want to downgrade WordPress 4.1 to WordPress 3.2.1 l without losing current WordPress settings and data. Save your time and avoid headache and enjoy reading this most wanted WordPress tip! [ Updated at May 2015]
- First make full back up of your site. Including your WordPress folders and database. You are reading this because you missed to backup your WordPress before upgrade. Its good practice to backup your WordPress before upgrade or downgrade. You need to have access to your site control panel. Using a ftp program such as Filezilla you can make a copy of all files to your computer. By using a ftp program such as PhpMyAdmin you can backup your WordPress database. Please note most control panel have a function that let you to backup everything just by one click.
- Deactivate all active plugins. Login to WordPress admin area and go to plugins section. Select active plugins and deactivate them. Pretty easy. I remember I was afraid to lose my plugins or WordPress settings if I downgrade my WordPress . That time I manually wrote all settings of my plugins into a notepad text!. It took me almost 2 hours. Good news is you can skip this part! don’t worry you have a full backup. right? ( I hope so!). then you have a option to restore your site to previews status if thing goes wrong. I just wanted add it is safe to deactivate your plugin before downgrade. but it can be just fine if you do not do.
- Delete wp-admin and wp-includes folder. ( make sure no plugin use this folders to save something).
( update: I know its little scary to delete these folders. but you can always get these folders from your backup or you can get a copy of it be extracting latest WordPress zip file. If still you are afraid of deleting those folder, you can simply rename them to some thing else. ( such as wp-admin-bad and wp-includes-bad ) . As another option, some Ftp software such as filezilla allow you to drag and drop folder to another location. Simply create a folder with name _oldWP and select wp-admin and wp-includes and drag it to _oldWP folder. This is much faster than deleting these folders and same time it allow you to have them at _oldWP folder)
- Download older version of WordPress that you want to downgrade to, from wordpress.org release-archive
at the writing time of this post, most people like to downgrade from wordpress Version 3.2.1 to wordpress Version 3.1.0! that is because most famous plugin such as light box!are not ready to get power of latest WordPress yet. ( let me update this section once again, latest WP is 4.2.2 but because of theme issue, some want to downgrade to wp 4.1.5 )
- Unzip your desired version of WordPress and overwrite all files to your website by using ftp program. ( This will copy wp-admin and wp-includes to your ftp as well)
- Go to your site admin area. This time you won’t see WordPress admin login page. Instead you will notice a message that say WordPress need to upgrade current WordPress database to new one!!. do not worry. It just shy to say it is actually downgrading your WordPress = )
- Login into admin area again (and activate needed plugins). Note, you can activate needed plugin at once by visiting recent active plugin menu.
- Recent WordPress automatically upgrade itself. make sure to disable WP auto upgrade feature so your WordPress can stay at downgraded version. You use Disable WWordPresss updates plugin.
Everything will be fine and you can enjoy old WordPress installation over latest WordPress just like you never did a upgrade.I tried to write as much as details I could so you can feel comfortable to do it your self. Please share this post, If you found it useful.
I originally wrote this post at 2010, because I was at same situation that you are now! Some asked me to add a paid service for who prefer a professional downgrade their WordPress. You are at right place. Save time and enjoy faster solution.
Question) I am not comfortable to downgrade my WordPress myself. Can you do it for me?
Answer) Sure!. I will be happy to help. I can downgrade your WordPress for you. Please note this service is not free it cost you 50 USD.
You have two options to proceed next:
Option A) Pay in advance, send me login details and enjoy fix as fast as possible.
- Please make 50 USD paypal payment by clicking here.
- Contact me here . You need to let me know what is your WordPress admin login detail ( login URL, username and password) , and the WordPress version that you want to downgrade, plus your site ftp login details. OR If you are not sure about ftp login details, you can send me control panel login details. Please test all login info to ensure they work. ( for ftp, please make sure ftp point to WP installation path)
- I will then downgrade your WordPress as soon as possible. ( from few hours to max one business day)
Option B) Pay after I downgraded your WordPress.
- Simply contact me here and send me your WordPress admin username and password , I also need ftp OR control panel login details. Then let me know the wordpress version that you want to downgrade.
- I downgrade your WordPress for you. ( from few hours to max one business day ).
- You can send me 50 USD payment using paypal after task is done and you are happy with result.
Optional) In case you are interested, you can ask me to to take video screenshot of how I downgrade your WordPress. So you can do it yourself next time if needed =)
Question) What is difference between Option A and B?, they both look same!
Answer) Nothing really. both are same for me, I just feel happy by being helpful the way you prefer. Important is having valid login details so I can start downgrading your WordPress right away!
Happy WordPress downgrading!