How To,Wordpress Tips  

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]

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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)
  4. Download older version of WordPress that you want to downgrade to, from 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 )
  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)
  6. 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 = )
  7. Login into admin area again (and activate needed plugins).  Note, you can activate needed plugin at once by visiting recent active plugin menu.
  8. 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.

Update 2015:

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.

  1.  Please make  50 USD paypal payment by clicking here.
  2. 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)
  3. 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.

  1. 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.
  2. I downgrade your WordPress for you. ( from few hours to  max one business day ).
  3. 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!

Do you need farther help on this topic? Contact me
Do you need Professional coder? Hire me
Looking for different WordPress plugin? Try Wishlist member

Andy is one of core WordPress WishList Member Developer. He is in love with WordPress and fun of turning new ideas to WordPress plugin or theme.

Add your comment

  1. Radislav
    February 16, 2011
    9:56 pm

    This is what I was looking for. Thx

  2. chrissabbatini
    March 22, 2011
    12:30 pm

    Man, this is the SECOND time your post has saved my ass. THANK YOU.

    WordPress 3.1 is incompatible especially with some Facebook integrating plugins, and completely screwed some of my websites.

    Following these instructions, however, I went back to 3.0.5 without any issues and now everything works again.

    Now, to figure out exactly what’s incompatible and get RID OF THAT S*!%.

    Thanks again!

  3. Steve
    April 26, 2011
    11:40 pm

    Thanks, worked a treat. :)

  4. JJ
    April 27, 2011
    2:51 am


    How to install a wordpress older version the very first time to a new domain name. No data yet.


  5. Hamza Younas
    April 30, 2011
    7:58 pm

    great tutorial i was looking for this

  6. Lena
    August 3, 2011
    8:57 pm

    ok i deleted the wp-includes and the wp-admin folders, now when i open the old version of wordpress are those the only 2 folders that I replace on the ftp?

    Im downgrading because wp 3.2.1 made my lightbox stop working. im scared todo this because i dont want to ruin the whole site :-(

  7. Andy
    August 3, 2011
    9:39 pm

    @Lenea ,
    First make sure you have a backup or copy of your wp-config file which is at root of your wp installation folder. You should not delete wp-config.php file and wp-content folder. Then You need to extract and copy old version of wp-admin and wp-includes folders plus all other files except wp-content folder to your ftp at same place.that’s all

  8. Gregor
    August 9, 2011
    2:42 pm

    This has saved me lots of frustration. I had numerous issues with WP 3.2.1 and have just downgraded to 3.1.4. I referred to this page many times over the past few days.

    Many Thanks.

  9. cahir
    September 19, 2011
    3:05 am

    Thanks man, it saved me a lot of time.

  10. Muse
    December 16, 2011
    5:27 pm

    Great it worked for Me . Awesome ! since the new word-press version 3.3 disabled my edition on posts View . It left me with HTML only.
    I needed to go back 2.2.1

  11. Josh
    January 4, 2012
    1:31 am

    You saved me! I have my final meeting with my first client ever. I didn’t see anything affecting what I had in the changes documentation, so as a noob, I didn’t back the site up.

    My site ended up breaking horribly in internet explorer, and you just saved my ass!

  12. Antoine van DInter
    January 4, 2012
    9:05 am

    You have saved my blog and about 4 years of work! Thanx to your detailed description I have everything back and it’s up and running again! Great post, many thanx! I first had a blank page, but renaming the plugins folder to plugins-old and uploading the plugins folder from WP did the trick.

  13. Brian
    January 16, 2012
    2:22 am

    It worked. A few things to point out..

    Using FTP:

    Delete: wp-admin and wp-includes folders.
    Do NOT delete: wp-config.php file and wp-content folder (I almost did)

    After you do that, then just drag over all the files and you’re set. Also remember to delete wp-config-sample.php (in the wordpress package) as you don’t need it.

    Thank you! :)

  14. Brian
    January 16, 2012
    2:23 am

    Also this is great! If you use one-click install, but your hosting company doesn’t have older versions.. Do the 1 click install for version 3.3 or newer, then downgrade using this method, I used 3.2x.. :) Super easy took 3-5 min, most of the time was spending transferring files.

  15. Noel
    January 18, 2012
    6:06 pm

    Hi, thanks for the tutorial. I successfully completed the instructions, but I have had the update required warning for about 15 hours on my wp-admin page. It seems like I have to click the button and upgrade to get into my admin. Is 15 hours a normal wait time? Thanks for your feedback.

    ——-wp-admin message—————–

    Database Update Required

    WordPress has been updated! Before we send you on your way, we have to update your database to the newest version.

    The update process may take a little while, so please be patient.

  16. Shawn
    January 21, 2012
    11:58 am

    Much luv for the post!! I am putting up a back link on my site to this page. Very helpful!

    P.S. $50 to do this work is way too cheap man. You are worth way more than that. Don’t short change yourself.

    Thanks again,

    CompSE Web Designs

  17. Simon
    March 19, 2012
    12:34 pm

    Thanks for GREAT GREAT POST. You saved me a lot of time and headache! Thanks so much!!!

  18. Audrey Cordery
    September 19, 2012
    10:44 pm

    This is HUGE timesaver -And the second time I have used this-with no problems.

  19. ChrisDav
    August 4, 2014
    6:38 am

    Great post – thanks.
    HAd to d/grade WP after an idiot of a client upgraded to latest version.
    Doh! Clients

  20. Laurie Frick
    May 12, 2015
    1:09 pm

    Hi, are you still doing the downgrade wordpress offer for $50?

    wp 4.2.2 broke my theme (which doesn’t have an update). I’ve got the disable wordpress plugin, have backed up my site and deactivated all the plugins.

    I can’t figure out how to upload the whole folder or multiple files in cpanel filemanager for bluehost. Will happily pay, to save more time on this end.

  21. Andy
    May 12, 2015
    3:44 pm


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