If you are a complete beginner or a total expert on WordPress, there are times that you’re encountering issues with your WordPress website like errors. These errors can be solved easily but there are instances that you’re stuck with it and troubleshooting tips don’t help you anymore. Or maybe you’re trying to recover your website that was damaged by the hacker.
As a matter of fact, we don’t really recommend reinstalling your WordPress website unless there’s no other choice left or you just want to get a new, fresh start. Whatever’s the case, the need to reinstall your WordPress website might be the solution to your problems. In order to achieve that, we’ve prepared different methods on how you can reinstall your WordPress website without losing content, when you should reinstall WordPress and what are the things you can do before reinstalling WordPress.
When Should You Reinstall WordPress?
Reinstalling your WordPress website should not be on your top priority list except when you have tried every troubleshooting guide for the issues and errors you’ve encountered and unfortunately, you’re still stuck with it. Second, a hacker messed up your website and you can’t do anything about it. If you’re an expert and cleaning the website damaged by the hacker still doesn’t do a thing, then that’s the only time you consider reinstalling your WordPress website. To put it simply, you should reinstall your WordPress website when things are getting out of hand or this option is your last resort.
Things to do Before Reinstalling WordPress
Before we get into the different reinstallation methods, let’s first secure our website by backing up our files. By doing so, you can have a copy of your files just in case something might go wrong in the process of reinstalling WordPress. It may not be necessary once you reinstall WordPress, but it’s a good thing we have a failsafe on your desktops or cloud. We have here two methods on how you can backup your WordPress. First is by manually backing up the files using FTP and phpMyAdmin and second, with the help of a plugin.
Backup site files using FTP
FTP or File Transfer Protocol is a program used for transferring files from your website to your computer. This program is ideal for creating backups and in that way, you can prevent cyber hacking and save you time and space without sacrificing security in the process. Take note that you’re only backing up your website directory. Examples of these are themes and plugins. Depending on the size of your website and the speed of your internet, transferring files might take you a lot of time. Free software for FTP that you can use is FileZilla.
By using FileZilla, you can copy your website and save it on your computer. Now, connect your chosen FTP program to the remote server, access the file directory that can be found at the right panel. Find the folder with the name public_html. Right-click the file then select Download to start.
After downloading the file, create a ZIP Archive then keep them on your desktop or cloud.
Backup database files using phpMyAdmin
Now that you have backed up your website files, let’s now proceed with backing up your database files. Database files are the core of your website. You won’t be able to have content such as pages and posts, including accounts without the database. In order to complete the whole website backup, you can use phpMyAdmin for this, which is yet again, a free software tool.
Start with logging in to your website host account and go to the cPanel then find Database. After that, proceed to phpMyAdmin and find your database.
Select the database that you want to save to your desktop. After selecting the database or tables, click on the Export button to start downloading. Databases are displayed from the left side while the tables inside the database will appear on the right side.
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After downloading the database, proceed with creating a template. Save the template then, from the Existing Templates, select the template you’ve just created. After that, select the file format that you want (or MySQL in general) Now, click on the Go button to download then save it afterward on your desktop or cloud.
And that’s it. You have now completed backing up your site files and core files for your WordPress website.
Backup using plugins
If you’re not confident about using the software tools for backup, we still have plugins that are very simple and easy to use. But you have to take into consideration that using a plugin is having only a basic file backup system. Don’t expect too much or rely on this especially if you want to take more control over the backup process. Also, expect backups via plugins may result in your website having a slower loading time. If you really insist on using plugins, then we can recommend using BackWPup.
Install BackWPup to your WordPress website. After installing and activating the plugin, go to BackWPup which can be found on the left side of the dashboard.
After that, create your backup by adding a new job in the Job Name section.
Job tasks have a lot of backup options. Choose Database Backup and File Backup.
On the Backup File Creation, change the Archive name and select the default settings. After that, you can choose where you want to save your backup files on the Job Destination. Select the Backup to Folder option.
Now that you’ve chosen where to save your files, click Save Changes. The successful message “Changes have been saved” will show on the screen. You can now start backup your WordPress site by clicking on the Run now button
Now that we know when we should reinstall WordPress, and what are the things we must do before reinstalling your WordPress website, we can now proceed to the different reinstallation processes.
How to Reinstall WordPress From Your Dashboard
The reinstallation process for this one is first on our list as we can reinstall your WordPress straight from your WordPress admin dashboard. This method is very simple and straightforward if you want to reinstall only the core files or database without affecting the themes, plugins, designs, and content inside your website. Reinstalling WordPress from your dashboard is also beginner-friendly and keeps off the hassle of doing complicated things within the process.
To begin the reinstallation process, from the WordPress dashboard, click on the Dashboard then select Updates. After that, you’ll see the Re-Install Now button. Click on that button to start.
Wait for a few seconds as WordPress reinstall it automatically. After a few seconds of waiting, it will display the welcome page on your screen.
And that’s it. Very simple and easy to follow the procedure of reinstalling WordPress without losing content. If somehow you cannot access your WordPress admin dashboard, don’t worry as we cater to other methods besides this one.
How to Reinstall WordPress via FTP
If somehow you want to reinstall your WordPress through the admin dashboard, but you can’t get through because of some errors along the way, or worst-case scenario, it was hacked, then this next method will help you reinstall WordPress without losing content.
This method will be different from the first one and can be a bit complicated for beginners as we’ll be using FTP programs. First things first, you need to back up your files before performing this method. Then, we can now proceed to the step-by-step procedure.
Go to WordPress.org and download the latest version of WordPress software
Go to the file and extract everything from the ZIP file to your desktop.
From the extracted file, delete the wp-content folder.
Log back in to your website
Now that the wp-content folder has been deleted, proceed to connect your host via FTP by logging in to your website. After that, upload the remaining files from the WordPress folder to your site.
You can actually see it from your root folder with the name public or public_html.
When you upload the files, the FTP program will flash a box with a message that informs you that you’re going to overwrite files. Select Yes, then continue the upload process until it is finished.
The wp-content folder that you deleted contains all of the contents you don’t want to lose like plugins, themes, photos and videos, and posts. However, by deleting the wp-content folder, you don’t have to overwrite the core files without losing any of the themes, plugins, or any of your content. And you’re done reinstalling your WordPress.
How to Reinstall WordPress using a Plugin
If the previous method doesn’t fit you or you’re not comfortable using those, don’t worry as we cater you with another method that is very simple and easy to use. There are times that you don’t need to reinstall the entire site. It only needs a quick reset to its original state. If you’re here and looking for that kind of solution, we can recommend using this plugin. If you’re already familiar with how to use the plugins, then achieving that solution will be very easy for you.
WP Reset is one of the well-known plugins when it comes to resetting your WordPress website in just a few, easy steps. By using this plugin, you don’t have to worry about the mess you might do to your site and it will allow you to fix the issue quickly or simply start over again. WP Reset comes up with a free version that you can easily download or install directly from your WordPress dashboard.
Setting Up WP Reset Plugin
Go to your WordPress dashboard and activate WP Reset Plugin
Now, proceed to the Tools then select WP Reset. Click on the Reset tab to read important notices before proceeding.
After reading that, scroll down until you see the Site Reset section. On the Site Reset section there are additional options and check on the selected option then type reset on the box below to confirm. After that, you can now click the Reset Site
Confirm before resetting
A popup message will flash on your screen asking you again to confirm before resetting your site completely. Click on Reset WordPress to proceed.
After the reset, it will redirect you to the WordPress dashboard and it will display a message that you successfully reset your WordPress. Don’t worry as per default, this plugin only deactivates the WordPress theme and plugin files. Then, you just completely reset your WordPress site without losing any content.
This plugin has a free version that you can download here but the free version offers limited features and some options on reset tools need to upgrade to the pro version.
- Personal – $39 per year which includes 1 site license, 1 WPR Cloud Site License, with over 25 tools, WP Reset Dashboard
- Team – $79 per year, which includes 5 sites licenses, 5 WPR Cloud Site Licenses, with over 25 tools, WP Reset Dashboard, all features included, and license manager
- Agency – $149 per year, which includes 100 sites license, 20 WPR Cloud Site Licenses, with over 25 tools, WP Reset Dashboard, all features included, license manager, and white-label option
Advanced WordPress Reset
Another plugin that we can recommend is Advanced WP Reset. This plugin completely resets your entire website. In the simplest form, it deletes all of the core files like posts, pages, portfolio, and users (except admin) on your site while the site files such as plugins and themes are deactivated. We can now proceed to the installation process and how you can use it.
Setting Up Advanced WordPress Reset
Go to your WordPress dashboard, then click on the Plugins. Look for the Advanced WordPress Reset on the search bar then, click on the Install Now button. After installing, you can now activate the plugin.
Reset your WordPress website
Upon activation, go to the Tools which can be seen on the left side of the dashboard, and look for the Advanced WP Reset option. It will flash a warning message informing you that any data in your database will be lost and this option is not ideal if you want to keep your content. With that, insert the word reset on the box field to confirm then click on the Reset Database button.
Advanced WordPress Reset Successful
Once you click on the Reset Database button, it will show a message at the top showing that the database has been reset successfully. If you go to the Posts on your WordPress dashboard, you’ll notice that the website is back to the original WordPress “Hello World” default post. However, if you click on the Plugins, you’ll see that all of the plugins are still there, deactivated.
As you go through your website, you’ll see that it’s like a brand new installation. And there you have it. You can finally start anew with your WordPress website. You don’t have to go through the struggle of manually installing every theme and plugin you have.
- You can use Advanced WP Reset completely for free.
How to Reinstall WordPress via WP-CLI
For a more advanced option and solution, you can use WP-CLI. WP-CLI or also known as WordPress Command Line Interface is a command tool that you can use to your WordPress site. It is a free, open-source tool that developers and experts use to configure different aspects of WordPress such as adding/removing users, inserting test data, posts, categories, or replacing the database. This method can be used to reinstall WordPress without losing content.
Via SSH, log in to your website
Then through the website directory, change the username to your shell user
[server]$ cd /home/username/example.com
After you replace the username, insert the following command-line
[server]$ wp core download --skip-content --force
-skip-content : downloads the core files only, default themes and plugins are not included.
-force : it overwrites existing files
The above command line simply downloads and reinstalls WordPress without losing data, not affecting the themes and plugins.
Errors and issues on your website are always there especially when you have a website. And for the worst-case scenario, you might end up having your website messed up by the hackers. Some issues and errors are easily resolved by some troubleshooting tips and guides. But unfortunately, there are some that cannot resolve the issue and we end up getting stuck to that error.
In order to prevent that from happening, we always recommend backing up your files whenever you create or starting a website. Therefore, when all things fail, you don’t have to deal with the trouble and pain of restarting your WordPress website completely. As we go through, we completely prepare different methods of reinstalling WordPress without losing content in easy steps.
If you want to reinstall your WordPress website, we have the simple approach by simply going to the WordPress dashboard by clicking on the Re-Install Now button.
However, if you can’t access your WordPress dashboard, you can use FTP programs to help you with the reinstallation process. If this method is not for you, there’s a plugin that will help you do that. And lastly, for a more dynamic approach, you can completely reinstall your website by using the WP-CLI. Typically, all of the methods are beginner-expert level. It still depends on your needs and preferences.
Every problem has a solution and we’ll be glad if you’ve found this article helpful. :)