How to Manually Downgrade WordPress (and When)

Have you ever updated to the newest version of WordPress only to have things start acting crazy? No fear! Typically, this issue occurs with a compatibility issue with a theme or plugin and the newest version of WordPress. Rarely, it’s a matter of the WordPress update. If you find yourself in this situation, you can manually degrade WordPress to the previous, bug-free version.

How to Manually Downgrade WordPress and When!

Is It a Plugin or Theme?

Before you determine if a theme or plugin cause your issue, try the following:

  1. Activate a different theme. If the problem persists, go back to your old theme.
  2. Deactivate all plugins, and activate them one at a time. Test the site to see if deactivating fixed the bugs. If it’s fixed due to the plugin being deactivated, hold off on activating the plugin until a new update comes out. If the plugin has not been updated in a while, look to switching to an alternative that is updated regularly.
  3. Or, if you cannot deactivate the plugin, then consider manually downgrading your version of WordPress.

Blogger Importer Extended

The only time I manually degrade WordPress is when I conduct Blogger to WordPress transfers with Blogger Importer Extended. I prefer this plugin to do all of my Blogger to WordPress transfers. Unfortunately, it works correctly with WordPress Version 4.6. When I do a transfer and install, I manually degrade WordPress for the transfer; then, I remove the plugin and update WordPress to the latest versions.

Manually Degrade WordPress

Before you make any changes to your site, make sure you have a backup! There are tons of backup plugins available, but my favorite is Vaultpress!

  1. Download a previous version of WordPress. You can find all the versions of WordPress here. Select the version that was working before you updated.
  2. Deactivate all your plugins by going to PLUGINS < ALL PLUGINS. Select All Plugins, and go to DEACTIVATE.
    Deactivate Plugins
  3. Log out of your site dashboard.
  4. Log in to your site via FTP and locate your site’s WordPress Files.
  5. Transfer files from the previous WordPress version to your site’s FTP. You will copy all files except wp-content. It can take a few minutes for the files to upload to the server.
    WordPress Files to Transfer
  6. Once the files are uploaded, login to your WordPress Dashboard. A screen will popup that says “Update WordPress Database.” Press that button and continue.
    Upgrade WordPress Database
  7. Once you log in, you should see the older version that you degraded. Reactivate your plugins. Your site should be fixed!

Remember, using old versions of WordPress should be a temporary solution and not a long-term one. WordPress updates usually include security patches that help protect your site.

Avoiding Compatibility Issues

When I select a plugin to use with my clients or my site, I avoid plugins that do not get updated regularly. With my rebrand, I’m expanding my support section to include more detailed change-log of theme updates.

You Might Also Like: How to Transfer WordPress Hosts & How to Choose the Best WordPress Hosting

I hope you found this guide helpful, and hopefully, it will be saved in your virtual toolbox in case you run into the situation in the future!

  • Meet Lindsay Humes

    Hi! I’m the designer and owner behind White Oak Creative. I partner with creative entrepreneurs, lifestyle publishers and content creators to design the best brand identity to grow their audience and brand. My blog is full of resources on Branding, WordPress, SEO, and more!

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