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How to install an old version of a WordPress plugin (and why you would want it)

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Upgrading your WordPress plugins and themes is important if you want to keep the site running smoothly and high security. However, sometimes you will find that an updated version of a specific plugin is not compatible with another plugin or theme. In this case, you may come across a broken site or a "white screen" which is hampering accessibility and experience for your users.

Sometimes downgrading WordPress plugins to older, more stable versions can help avoid bugs and compatibility issues. While this should be handled with care, downgrading a plugin to an earlier version is actually surprisingly easy. There are even more than one way to get the job done, which means you can choose a method that is the most convenient for you.

In this article, we'll explain why older versions of plugins are sometimes needed and demonstrate three methods you can use to downgrade a plugin. Let's get started!

Why downgrading a plugin can be a useful solution

Developers often offer regular updates for their plugins. Generally, this is a good thing. An update can fix bugs, fix issues, or add new features that were not available in the original version of the plugin.

However, sometimes these updates are incompatible with the existing themes or plugins that you use on your site. Additionally, a particular update may have its own issues. There is a wide range of issues that WordPress plugin updates can create, including:

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When you find yourself in a situation where your site is broken due to a plugin update, you need a quick fix, especially if it is going to take the developers a while to iron out the bug fixes. After all, you want your site to keep performing well. Fortunately, this problem can be temporarily fixed by reverting the plugin to an older version.

Downgrading WordPress plugins is often a faster and more efficient alternative to restoring your entire site from a backup. The latter approach can result in data loss unless the backup is very recent, and is usually not necessary if you are able to attribute your site's issues to a single plugin.

Using an older version of this plugin helps ensure site compatibility and accessibility, while giving you time to notify the developer that a patch or patch is needed. Additionally, restoring the plugin helps protect the security of your site if bugs in the updated version make it vulnerable.

How to install an old version of a WordPress plugin (3 methods)

Once you've made the decision to downgrade a WordPress plugin, there are a few ways you can do it. Let's take a look at your three main options, one by one.

1. Navigate to the WordPress plugins directory

The first option to restore a WordPress plugin to an older version is to do it manually through the WordPress plugin directory. To get started, you'll want to head to the directory and use the search bar to navigate to the plugin you want to downgrade.

For this example, we'll demote the Jetpack plugin:

Once you have located the plugin page, click on the Advanced view link in the right sidebar:
The advanced view of the Jetpack plugin.
From the next page, scroll down until you see the drop-down menu under Previous versions. Select the version you want to downgrade to, and then click Download. A .Zip *: French The restored plugin file will then be downloaded to your computer:
Downloading an old version of a plugin.
Then go to your WordPress dashboard and navigate to the Plugins tongue. To select Add new, so what Download the plugin. Choose the .Zip *: French file from the old version on your computer, and then tap install now. This will automatically decompress the file for you:
Downloading a new WordPress plugin.
Finally, come back to the main Plugins and activate the old version to make it live on your site. It should be noted that you can also download the .Zip *: French file via File Transfer Protocol (FTP), which will be needed if the plugin is not in the WordPress directory (for example, if it is a premium plugin).

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2. Install a dedicated plugin

If you don't want to manually downgrade your WordPress plugin, you can also choose a dedicated tool to simplify the process. There are a few options, but our top pick is the WP Rollback plugin. This free tool allows you to roll back a plugin to a previous version, without having to go through all the manual steps. It works the same as an automatic plugin updater, but in reverse.

To use this method, first go to the Plugins page in your WordPress dashboard, select Add newand search for the WP Rollback plugin. Click on install now, then select Enable:
Download the WP Rollback plugin.
The plugin automatically adds a Go back link next to each plugin installed on your WordPress site:
An example of the WP Rollback plugin link.
By clicking on this link, you will be taken to another screen where you can choose from a menu of versions of the plugin in question. It should be noted that the WP Rollback plugin will not work with premium plugins or themes, however; it was created for use with publicly available plugins from the WordPress directory:
Old versions of the Jetpack plugin.
Select the plugin version you want, then select the Go back button at the bottom of the page. A pop-up screen will appear asking if you are sure you want to revert to an older version of the WordPress plugin. You can simply select the Go back again, or test the downshift at a preparation site first:
A plugin restore confirmation.
Either way, once you confirm the restore, you will automatically be taken to a page that will let you know if the old version has been downloaded and installed successfully. Then click on the Activate the plugin link, and you're good to go.

3. Use the ManageWP Safe Updates function

Finally, if you are a ManageWP user, you have an additional option to downgrade your plugins. Once you understand the importance and usefulness of restoring WordPress plugins, it's easy to see why automating this process can be essential. Our platform makes it easy to restore updates automatically and securely, without the need for additional tools.

This is possible thanks to the Safe Updates feature, which creates restore points before updates. This way you will have peace of mind knowing that you can quickly revert to previous versions:
Managing plugins with the ManageWP dashboard.
As a ManageWP user, you can access this feature by purchasing the premium backup add-on for as little as $ 2 per month. After that, you will be able to update the plugins with just a few mouse clicks. Safe Updates feature process:

  • Automatically creates a restore point, so the previous version can be restored if something goes wrong with the update
  • Checks your site for errors that may occur in the update, stops it if necessary, and restores your site to the original version
  • Includes a "before" and "after screenshot" comparison, so you can see if the update has had any unexpected effects on your site

The ManageWP Backup Dashboard.
This allows you to safely update plugins in bulk, without losing access to old versions or risking data loss. It is also an ideal option for those who manage multiple websites, as it greatly simplifies the upgrade and downgrade processes.

Conclusion

Keeping your WordPress site up to date is crucial. But there are some cases where new versions of plugins can cause compatibility issues and make your site inaccessible. In such cases, using an older version of a plugin may become necessary. Fortunately, going back to older versions of a plugin is easier than you might expect.

In this article, we have introduced three methods that you can use, including:

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  1. Manually downgrade a plugin, by downloading an older version from the WordPress plugin directory.
  2. Download the free WP Rollback plugin, which you can install and activate in a few easy steps.
  3. Using our Secure Updates feature to securely and automatically create restore points before updates, and restore them if necessary.

Do you have questions on how to install an old version of a WordPress plugin? Let us know in the comments section below!

Image credit: Unsplash.

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