How to downgrade WordPress to an older version

Davor Veselinović 01/10/2020 116

If for some reason you need to revert or downgrade your WordPress website to an older version, this is the right guide for you.

In this article, we cover all the steps needed to revert back to the older version.


The first thing worth mentioning here is the fact that you should not be doing this unless you have some specific reason. WordPress platform should be updated to the latest version and you should also update your themes and plugin to the latest version.

This will surely make your website more secure and compatible in the long-term run.

Downgrading WordPress step by step guide


Make a full backup of your WordPress website database or the entire website as a precaution measure if something goes wrong.


Download the version of WordPress you wish to use instead of the one already installed. You can browse through the WordPress versions inside WordPress Download Repository.

Once you download the desired version in .zip archive, extract the content onto your computer and save it for later use.


Now, access the plugin page on WordPress admin -> Plugins -> All Plugins and disable all installed plugins. See this image:

Now, just Log out of your WordPress website.


Access your website files using FTP or some File Manager like the one inside the cPanel.

If you have a cPanel access, you can easily create a new FTP username under the FTP accounts setting page.

Then download the FileZilla FTP client that you can use to connect to your website using FTP. It’s free, secure and highly recommended.

Then just make the new FTP connection inside the FileZilla and enter your credentials.

Once you connect, navigate to the root directory of your website, public_html or www, depending on the server type.

Then remove the folders/directories wp-admin and wp-includes. See this image:


Now, head back to the downloaded zip package from STEP 2 and navigate to the extracted content.

You should see the folder “wordpress” when you extract its content. Use the content of this folder to overwrite all files and folder in your WordPress installation. See here:

Once you have overwritten the WordPress files with the files from the older version, proceed to the wp-admin or login page.

You will be prompted to perform the database update, just click on the button “Update WordPress Database” and wait for a couple of seconds. It’s done, the database is now also reverted to the older version. That’s it. 🙂


You may now access the admin area and activate the plugins and continue working on the website.


It’s relatively easy to revert or downgrade WordPress to an older version. However, bear in mind that this method will not work in all cases, for example, you will most likely stumble upon the issue with reverting back a version from a couple of years back or much older.

This guide is intended to be used to revert back to previous versions, in a case like the problems with the installed plugins after the update and such things.

If you have anything to add or ask, feel free to use the comments section below.

Davor Veselinović

I'm Davor, founder of Worda Themes. Working as a Full Stack Developer with more than a decade of experience with WordPress. I build themes and plugins and enjoy writing useful blog posts and share my ideas with others.

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