Having a hard time fixing issues with WordPress? Don’t think replacing a few lines of code can fix it?
Most WordPress errors are easy to fix but there are some that might require you to reinstall it. This can also be due to hacks and attacks or if you can’t figure out the problem with your website.
A common misconception is that reinstalling will wipe out all the hard work. That’s not the case, as there are methods to reinstall WordPress without losing anything. This includes your files, themes, plugins, and such.
We’ve outlined the best ways to uninstall and reinstall WordPress below. Whether you want your files intact or you want to start with a new website, follow the steps below.
Before you do any of the methods below, make sure to create a backup of all your files. If reinstalling WordPress goes without a hitch, you wouldn’t need this backup. Otherwise, you’d appreciate having a backup of all your content and files in good working order.
A backups plugin of your choice can do this for you, as well as most hosting providers. Make sure to have a secure location for your backup. It can either be on your local storage or on a cloud service provider, like Dropbox or Google Drive.
There’s also a way to do a manual backup of your WordPress site, but it’s more complicated than clicking a single button. Contact your host provider and/or your website manager to help you with making a backup.
You’ll also need to export your content, too, by creating an export file. This file will contain your posts, comments, pages, categories, and so on. If you restore your WordPress using this file, you’ll leave out the data created by plugins.
To create an export file, go to your admin area and look for the Tools tab. Within it is the Export page, where you can select which type of content to download. For creating a backup of your whole WordPress page, choose “All Content” and select the Download Export File button.
For your plugins, themes, images, uploads, and such, you’ll need to access your wp-content folder. You’ll have to use an FTP client or the File Manager in cPanel to do so.
Once you’ve connected to your WordPress site, find the wp-content folder. Right click on it and choose Download.
It’s also wise to keep a note of all your plugins and settings for if you have to redownload them later on.
By doing these things, you protect all your files and plugins from errors and such during the process. There are ways to reinstall it without affecting your files, though, which we outlined below.
There are three major ways to reinstall the core software without touching your files. Any of these can be useful for if you have encountered errors you can’t fix. Each of the three methods below will not touch your Database, wp-content folder, and wp-config.php file.
This may be the most straightforward way of reinstalling WP as you can do this right on your Dashboard. First, log into your account, go to your Dashboard, and click the Updates tab. There, you’ll see an option that will let you reinstall the latest version of the platform.
When you click it, WordPress will then download the latest version and then install it on its own. It’s the same process as when you do a manual update on your Dashboard. As such, you keep all your files, plugins, themes, and more.
It will only take a few seconds for WordPress to reinstall the latest software. Once it’s done, you can see if this managed to fix the problem you’ve been having.
It should not do anything different on your pages, content, and such. If something goes wrong, though, you have your backup to get everything back to normal.
There are some WordPress errors that will prevent you from accessing your Dashboard. This means you won’t be able to reinstall a fresh copy of WordPress using the method above. That’s fine since you can also do it using an FTP client of your choice.
In the method above, WordPress will do these processes for you, but in this method, you’ll do it manually. First, you’ll have to download the latest software from the WordPress website. Once it’s done downloading, extract the ZIP file on your computer.
Now, this step is important – make sure to delete the wp-content folder in the extracted files. Not doing so might cause it to overwrite your WordPress data. This means you’ll lose your themes and plugins.
If you’re not familiar with WP-CLI, this is a command line tool that will make installing, maintaining, or configuring your WordPress account easier. You’ll need to have access to it; check if your hosting provider has already provided it with your plan.
If you already have it, you’ll only need to type in the following command, sans the quotation marks:
“wp core download –skip-content –force”
This will then download and install the WordPress core software. It will not affect the content, themes, and plugins.
There’s also another way to use an FTP client to reinstall a fresh copy of your WordPress site, but this is lengthier.
First, you’ll have to uninstall the software by deleting all your files. You can do this via the FTP client or the File Manager in cPanel.
You can leave the Database intact as you can create another one if your hosting company allows it. If you want to add a new Database, log into your cPanel account and look for the MySQL Databases option.
Here, you can enter the name of your new Database and create it by clicking the “Create Database” button. You can also add a new MySQL user here, by entering a username and a password. Make sure to click the “Create User” button afterwards.
Don’t forget to add this user to the Database you created earlier by scrolling further down. Select the new User and the new Database then click “Add.”
You’ll need to download the latest version of WordPress, as well, and then unzip it. Using your FTP client, open the unzipped file and open the WordPress folder inside it. It will contain a bunch of files, all of which you’ll need to upload to your website using your FTP client.
Afterwards, go to your website; WordPress will then ask for your Database information. Enter its name, your username, and password. You’ll also need the name of the Database Host from your host provider. Click the “Submit” button after you’ve filled all the blanks, then WP will attempt to connect you to your Database.
If successful, it will show you a success message with a “Run Install” button. You’ll have to fill up a form again in the next page, which will ask for the Site Title, email, username, and password. It will also give you a choice whether to allow search engines to index this site or not.
Click the “Install WordPress” button to continue. This will then prompt the platform to finish the installation.
After which, you can log into your account, then delete the “Hello World” post. Delete the default comment on the Comments section, as well. You’ll also need to delete the sample page in the Pages section.
After deleting the default content, you can now restore your own content using the files you exported and the wp-content folder you downloaded during the backup process above.
Look for the wp-content folder on your FTP client and select it. Then, find the wp-content folder on your computer, find the uploads folder within it, and upload it to your website. You can then upload the themes folder in the same location as the uploads folder if you made changes on your WordPress theme.
Next, go to your Dashboard and go to the Tools tab. Select the Imports page, find the WordPress section and click the “Install Now” button. This will download and install the importer, after which you can click the “Run Importer” link.
This will take you to another page where you can import the extended RSS file you downloaded earlier. Click the “Choose File” button and then find the .xml file. To continue, click the “Upload file and Import” button.
After this, WordPress will again ask for a few details. You can create new Authors on this page and assign which posts they authored. You can also assign them to your new user account, but if you do nothing here, WP will import the authors instead.
To continue, select the “Download and import file attachments” box and click the “Submit” button. Once WordPress has finished importing the .xml file, you’ll see all your original content on your website.
The last step is to install your plugins, but you have to do this one by one. You may have to make a note of which plugins you have before uninstalling WordPress. Install it like normal, which means you’ll have to visit their pages and activate them one by one.
If you have made changes to their settings before, you’ll have to do it again now. While you’re at it, you may now change the settings in your WordPress account to make it the way it was before.
Note that this method will delete all your files, allowing you to start anew. Make sure you’re ready to part with your content forever, though. This is permanent and you can’t undo it once you’ve deleted everything.
You can delete the files using a file manager or use your FTP client. Follow the instructions on how to uninstall and delete the files under method #3.
You may or may not delete your Database, but if you want to delete it, you can navigate to the MySQL Databases section. Another way is to use phpMyAdmin to wipe out your Database.
After you do these steps, your WordPress site will disappear without a trace, and so you can now download a fresh copy of WordPress and install like you would when first installing it. There are tools that allow you to install WordPress in seconds with 1 click. Ask your host company if it provides such a tool.
Doing it yourself will only take a few minutes, though, and it’s pretty easy as WordPress will guide you anyway. Take note that you’ll have to create a Database on your web server again and a MySQL user. We outlined these steps also under method #3.
After you’ve unzipped the file, choose where you want to install these files using an FTP client. Make sure you’ve disabled the settings to convert the file names to lower case if it’s enabled.
You may want to upload it to your root domain. If so, upload all the contents of the unzipped folder to the root directory of your root server.
If you want it in a subdirectory, you’ll have to create a directory on your web server first. Then, upload all the contents of the unzipped folder to that directory.
The last step is to run the installation script, which means you have to visit the URL where you uploaded the files. If you uploaded it to the root directory, visit your website (e.g. www.host.ie). If you uploaded it in a subdirectory, visit that URL (e.g. www.host..ie/blog).
If you ask, your hosting company should be able to help you uninstall and reinstall WordPress. It can also help you with other matters, such as fixing errors that are forcing you to reinstall it in the first place. Make sure to choose a good and reliable company to help you in these circumstances.
Not sure your hosting company is up to par? We can help! To learn more about our plans and how it can benefit you and your site, contact us today.