How to Downgrade WordPress: Effective Methods for Reverting WordPress to an Older Version

How to Downgrade WordPress: Effective Methods for Reverting WordPress to an Older Version

Using the most recent WordPress version is regarded as one of the best security practices for safeguarding your website. Each update includes new features and security patches to ensure your WordPress website meets the most recent security standards and performs optimally.

However, older WordPress core, plugin, and theme versions may be better suited to your needs. Because WordPress upgrades are not permanent, you can revert to older versions if necessary.

Continue reading as we go over various methods for reverting the WordPress core, plugins, and themes to their previous versions.

Download All in One WordPress Cheat Sheet

Why Downgrade to a Previous Version

Downgrading WordPress is one of the ways to solve some technical issues. Let’s look at the most common cases that call for a WordPress downgrade.

Your WordPress Website Is Using an Old PHP Version

As of writing this article, the latest PHP version supported by WordPress is 8.0. Meanwhile, the oldest PHP version that WordPress recommends is 7.4.

If you can’t upgrade your PHP to at least version 7.4, reverting to the previous WordPress version can temporarily solve the compatibility issue until you find a better solution.

Compatibility Issues With Your Theme or Plugins

Major changes implemented by the latest WordPress update might cause compatibility issues with your plugin or theme. Check the plugin or theme’s official page to see if it supports your current WordPress version.

How to check a WordPress plugin's minimum PHP and WordPress version requirement to work properly.

Downgrading to a specified WordPress release that your plugin or theme supports can keep it functional. Once the developers update their software’s code, you can re-upgrade your WordPress core.

Your WordPress Website Is Using Outdated Themes or Plugins

Some developers abandon their plugins and themes, meaning their code isn’t updated to work with the latest version of WordPress.

For plugins and themes listed on the WordPress official directory, the last updated date can be seen on their official page. A warning message usually appears above the banner if the plugin or theme hasn’t been updated for a long time.

An example of an outdated WordPress plugin

If the problematic plugin or theme is essential to your site, you can downgrade the WordPress core to meet its compatibility standards.

Pro Tip

We recommend looking for alternative software with frequent updates, as outdated plugins and themes tend to have many security vulnerabilities.

How to Downgrade WordPress

After learning why you might want to downgrade WordPress to a previous version, let’s go over all the methods for doing so.

How to Downgrade WordPress Version Manually

Downgrading WordPress manually is the best solution if you can’t access your WordPress dashboard.

However, this method requires setting up an FTP client like FileZilla and the basic WordPress file structure knowledge.

Important! Backup your WordPress site before making any major changes. This way, you don’t lose important data if you encounter website-breaking errors during the downgrade process.

Here’s how to downgrade WordPress to its previous version manually:

1. Go to the WordPress Release Archive and download the ZIP file of the WordPress version that fits your needs.
2. Connect to your server via an FTP client and access your root directory (public_html).
3. Unzip the compressed file of the previous WordPress version you downloaded earlier and upload all the files except for the wp-content directory and wp-config.php file. Agree to overwrite files when asked.
4. You should now be able to access your WordPress dashboard. Check if the WordPress site is running on your chosen version.

The Dashboard view on the WordPress admin dashboard. The current version is highlighted
  1. Change the names of the plugins and themes directories to their original version via FTP. It doesn’t automatically re-activate all your plugins and themes, so you need to activate them one by one in WordPress.
  2. Disable automatic WordPress updates by editing the wp-config file, so your WordPress core doesn’t revert to the new version.

How to Downgrade Your WordPress Version Using a Plugin

To learn how to downgrade WordPress versions using a plugin, choose the plugin.

Here’s how to roll back WordPress to a specific core version using the WP Downgrade plugin:

  1. Install and activate the WordPress Downgrade plugin.
WP Downgrade plugin banner on the WordPress plugin directory.
  1. Go to Settings WP Downgrade and enter the version of WordPress you want to use into the WordPress Target Version textbox.
  2. Click Save Changes.
  3. Here’s what you see if the plugin recognizes the WP version you entered earlier. In this example, we’ll revert WordPress to the 5.6.9 version.
The interface of WP Downgrade after being activated and recognizing the WordPress version entered in the previous step
  1. Navigate to Dashboard Updates. WordPress should now list the 5.6.9 version as the target version for the core update. Select the Update now button to begin the downgrade process.
WordPress recognizing the older version as the target version for core update thanks to WP Downgrade.
  1. If the process is successful, you will see the welcome message from your chosen version of WordPress.

How to Downgrade WordPress Version by Restoring a Site Backup

Restoring your backup is another way of reverting WordPress to the previous version. The only catch is that you need the backup file from when your website was running on your desired version of WordPress.

If you haven’t installed a backup system yet, check if your hosting provider can generate automatic backups for you.

Hostinger includes a backup service at different intervals, depending on the hosting plan. Here are the steps to restore your backup via hPanel:

  1. Go to Files Backups from your hPanel dashboard.
  2. Click Select under the Generate new backup section to create a backup of your live site. This way, you don’t lose important WordPress files added after the last backup was created. The backup process may take up to an hour to complete.
The Generate a new backup button on the Backups section in hPanel
  1. Pick a date from the dropdown menu and click Next Step.
The process of restoring files backups on hPanel
  1. Check the box next to the files that belong to your domain, then click Restore files.
Restoring files from the chosen backup point
  1. Access your WordPress dashboard. Click Update WordPress Database if you see a popup page asking for your permission.
WordPress requires a database update after restoring a backup
  1. Go to the Updates page to check if your site runs on an older version of WordPress.

How to Downgrade WordPress Plugins or Themes

If you want to install an older plugin or a theme version instead of downgrading the WordPress core, you can use WP Rollback to do the job. This method is ideal for reverting an individual plugin or theme to solve compatibility issues.

Here’s how to use the WP Rollback plugin for downgrading plugins or themes:

  1. Install and activate the WP Rollback plugin.
The WP Rollback plugin banner in the WordPress plugin directory
  1. If you go to Plugins Installed Plugins, you’ll notice that a Rollback button now exists under each plugin. Click on the one under the plugin you want to downgrade. For this tutorial, we’ll be downgrading the WooCommerce plugin.
The list of installed plugins have a rollback button under each plugin
  1. Pick the desired target version and click Rollback.
Choosing the target version of the chosen plugin you want to downgrade using WP Rollback
  1. To downgrade a specific WordPress theme, go to Appearance Themes and hover over the target plugin. Then, select Theme Details and choose the version you want to downgrade to.
The rollback button appears in the theme details section, allowing you to revert a specific theme to an earlier version

Keep in mind that WP Rollback only works with themes and plugins listed on the WordPress official directory. For this reason, you might not see a rollback button next to premium plugins and themes.


Downgrading WordPress might not be a recommended practice due to security reasons. However, if the latest core update broke your site or one of your plugins or themes encounters compatibility issues, you can revert WordPress to an earlier version.

Let’s recap the downgrade methods we’ve gone through in this article:

  • Manually downgrade WordPress using an FTP client.
  • Install WP Downgrade to revert WordPress to the previous version.
  • Restore a site backup.
  • Install WP Rollback to downgrade specific themes and plugins.

If you still have questions about downgrading WordPress, leave us a comment below. Good luck!

Downgrade WordPress FAQs

Learn more about downgrading WordPress from the following frequently asked questions.

What Are the Risks of Downgrading WordPress?

The risks of downgrading WordPress include compatibility issues with themes and plugins, security vulnerabilities due to outdated software, data loss, and potential downtime or errors on the website. It is recommended to back up your website before attempting to downgrade, and only do so if absolutely necessary and with caution.

How Can I Avoid Errors When Downgrading WordPress?

Back up your website, deactivate all plugins, and use a compatible version of the theme to avoid errors when downgrading WordPress. Before making any changes, test the downgrade on a staging site first. Additionally, follow the downgrade instructions carefully or consider using professional assistance.

What Is the Best Way to Downgrade WordPress?

The best way to downgrade WordPress is to backup your website, deactivate all plugins, download the previous version of WordPress, and manually replace the core files. Alternatively, you can use a plugin like WP Downgrade to automate the process.

The author

Jordana Alexandrea

Jordana is a Senior Content Writer with over 5 years of experience in digital marketing and web development. When she’s not busy with work, she dabbles in creative writing and movie reviewing. Follow her on LinkedIn.