If you’re reading this post, odds are you need to figure out how to downgrade your wordpress version to a previous version. Why? Probably because your website automatically updated or you pressed the update button and the website is now broken or loads a blank page.
If this is the case, don’t worry as I’m about to explain how to downgrade and get your website back up and running.
How To Downgrade WordPress Video Tutorial
The following video will show you exactly how I downgrade to a previous version of wordpress. In the video I downgrade from wordpress version 4.0.1 to version 3.9.2, but it doesn’t matter what version you’re currently using or want to restore as it’s the same process. I’m also going to cover how to turn off automatic wordpress updates.
Step By Step Instructions For Downgrading
I understand not everyone wants to watch a video tutorial, so I’ve added some brief step by step instructions below on how to downgrade. If something isn’t clear and you need help, feel free to post a comment and I’ll respond ASAP or refer to the video above for more details.
Step 1: Deleting WordPress Files & Folders
You need to connect to your hosting either via FTP or File Manager. Locate the root directory or your wordpress installation. For most of you, this is going to be the root directory of the domain.
Select and delete the following two folders. wp-admin and wp-includes
Step 2: Download A Previous Version Of WordPress
Head over to wordpress.org and locate the version of wordpress you’d like to downgrade to, this link should take you directly to the download archives https://wordpress.org/download/release-archive/ Locate and download the version of wordpress you wish to restore.
Locate the downloaded .zip file on your computer and then unzip/extract the file. (if you right click the .zip file, you want to look for the “Extract Here” option.)
Step 3: Uploading Files & Folders
Either via FTP or Filemanager you need to first upload the following two folder that have just been unzipped: wp-admin and wp-includes. Make sure you upload them in the correct location, this would be the root directory of your wordpress installation. Next you need to upload
Next you need to upload the 14 PHP files located directly inside the wordpress folder on your computer. If for any reason you see a file called wp-config.php PLEASE DO NOT upload this file. The file wp-config.php that resides on your hosting contains your database details and shouldn’t be overwritten.
These 14 PHP will be overwriting the current files, so you’ll need to click ok when asked if you’d like to overwrite or not.
Step 4: Updating The WordPress Database
Once all the files and folder have been uploaded, you can visit the login page to your site /wp-login.php . It should load a different page asking you to update your wordpress database. This is perfectly normal, just click update and then you’ll be able to login.
Step 5: Create A Complete Backup
Ok, so step 5 is totally optional, but I strongly recommend that you confirm everything is working fine then create a full backup. A great free plugin I use all the time to move wordpress from one location to another is called Wp Clone by Wp Academy. Install, create backup, download the zip file to hard drive.
How To Stop WordPress From Updating Automatically
It’s possible that the theme you’re using isn’t compatible with the latest versions of wordpress, so until the author of the theme comes out with a fix, you may want to disable automatic wordpress updates. Same may apply if you have a few plugins that aren’t compatible, disabling auto updates could be a temporary fix.
Please note that I do NOT recommend running old version of wordpress and would suggest looking into resolving the problem ASAP. WordPress releases new version for two main reasons, add new features and improvements, and then to fix security holes and vulnerability.
Either way, disabling auto updates with wordpress is very easy. Via FTP or File manager, you need to locate and edit the file called wp-config.php. Once opened in notepad or another editor (I use notepad++) you need to add one additional line/command.
Here is the line of code to add:
define( 'WP_AUTO_UPDATE_CORE', false );
Here is a screenshot of the location I would insert this line of code, after it been inserted, save the file and re-upload/overwrite, this will stop wordpress from completing any auto updates.
Please remember that if you can’t figure this and you need help, feel free to post a comment below or contact me via my contact page. Alternatively your own hosting support should be able to offer some kind of support, special if it’s just downgrading wordpress or restoring a working backup.