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How To Reinstall WordPress: Step-by-Step Guides For 4 Methods

Last Updated on September 17th, 2019

Published on July 26th, 2018

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Trying to figure out how to reinstall WordPress on your site? There are several different methods that you can use to reinstall WordPress depending on how much of a “blank slate” you want.

For example, if you just want to reinstall the core WordPress software while keeping all of your existing content, plugins, and themes intact, there are two easy ways to do that.

But if you’re looking to completely blow up your existing WordPress install and start fresh (i.e. no more content, themes, or plugins), you also have options there!

In this post, I’m going to cover methods for both needs. You’ll learn how to:

  • Reinstall WordPress without affecting any existing content or functionality (I’ll share three methods)
  • Completely reinstall WordPress to replace your existing site with a 100% blank install

Let’s get started!

Method 1: The Easiest Way To Reinstall WordPress

This method only reinstalls the core WordPress software. It will not affect your content, plugins, or themes.

It’s also super simple – but not many people know about.

So here goes – the easiest way to reinstall WordPress…

In your site’s WordPress dashboard, just go to Dashboard → Updates.

Then, you should see something like “You have the latest version of WordPress. Future security updates will be applied automatically”.

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To reinstall WordPress, just click the Re-install Now button under that headline:

how to reinstall wordpress from dashboard

Wait for a few seconds while WordPress does its work and…voila! You should see the welcome screen for that version:

fresh version

All of your existing content will be exactly the same. But you’ll have a fresh copy of the WordPress core files for the latest version of WordPress.

Method 2: WP Reset Plugin

Sometimes, you won’t have to reinstall the entire site if there’s really no need for that. Instead of going for a completely clean slate (which may be time-consuming), you can just quickly reset your WordPress site to its original state so you can quickly continue working on it. Just by clicking a button, the free WP Reset plugin will revert the database to a previous state and actually get you back a previous version of the site to work on. This is usually a perfect solution when developing themes & plugins, and as well as when you’re testing stuff on your local site before going live with it. By having this plugin at your disposal, you can relax knowing that every mess you do on the site can be quickly fixed and started over.

Resetting will delete all the content, and both default & custom database tables. At the same time, it won’t delete your media, files or site title & address.

The plugin also allows you to decide what happens after the reset (for example, you can automatically reinstall currently installed plugins so you don’t have to get them back one by one). You can save database snapshots which can be further used for restoring a site to a specific stage, and you can even compare current installations to a snapshot you created earlier (everything’s color-coded). Again, a perfect feature for a developer or someone who wants to thoroughly test their site.

The developer keeps on improving the plugin so you can expect things like Plugins & Themes Collections and Nuclear Reset. You can even expect full WPMU support as well as the ability to switch version of WordPress that will be restored.

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Go To WP Reset

Method 3: How To Reinstall WordPress Via FTP

Like the previous method, this approach only reinstalls the core WordPress software. It will not affect any of your existing content, themes, or plugins.

Sometimes you won’t have access to your WordPress dashboard to run the easy reinstall process above.

This is common when your site is experiencing an issue and you’re reinstalling the core WordPress files to try and diagnose the issue.

No worries if you can’t access your dashboard – it’s also pretty simple to reinstall WordPress using FTP.

Here’s the step-by-step…

Step 1: Download The Latest Copy Of WordPress

To get started, head to WordPress.org and download the latest copy of the WordPress software:

download wordpress

Once you download the ZIP file, extract it on your desktop. Then, delete the wp-content folder from the extracted folder:

delete wp-content folder

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Step 2: Upload Remaining WordPress Files Via FTP

Next, you need to connect to your WordPress site via FTP.

If you’re not sure how to do this, you should be able to find instructions for your specific host in your host’s support documentation. Try Googling something like “[HOST_NAME] upload files via FTP”. For example, here’s SiteGround’s tutorial.

Once you’re connected to your site via your FTP program, you’ll need to upload all the remaining files from the fresh copy of WordPress that you just download.

Upload them to the same folder where your WordPress site is installed – usually, this is called public or public_html.

When you start uploading the files, your FTP program should prompt you with something about duplicate files. Choose the option to Overwrite all files (don’t worry – you won’t lose any of your existing content):

upload and overwrite

Once the upload finishes, you’ve successfully reinstalled the WordPress software on your existing site.

Method 4: How To Completely Reinstall WordPress

This method will completely obliterate your existing WordPress site and replace it with a brand new blank install. Do not use this method if you want to keep any part of your existing site. I’m serious.

If you think there’s any chance you’ll want your existing site back in the future, I highly recommend that you take a backup of your site before you complete this process.

Ok – you definitely read that warning above, right?

If you’re still ready to proceed with this method, here’s how to do it…

Step 1: Delete Existing WordPress Files Via FTP

To get started, you need to connect to your WordPress site via FTP.

Again, if you’re not sure how to do this I recommend consulting your host’s support documentation for host-specific instructions.

Once you’re connected, select all of the WordPress files and Delete them. This is the point of no return:

delete wordpress

If you want to be thorough, you can optionally also delete your site’s database. This isn’t really necessary, though, as you can just use a new database in the next section unless your host limits the number of databases that you can have.

Most users don’t need to do anything after deleting the files via FTP, though.

Step 2: Install A Fresh Copy Of WordPress

Now, time for the easy part. All you need to do is install a brand new copy of WordPress using your favorite method.

At most hosts, you can just use your site’s autoinstaller. You should see an Autoinstallers section in your cPanel dashboard that lets you install a new copy of WordPress (some hosts may use different terminology – but it’s usually pretty obvious):


But for an alternative approach, you can also use the classic 5-minute WordPress install.

Once you install a fresh copy of WordPress, you can start working on your brand new WordPress install.

It’s that easy!

Bonus Option For Developers: Use WP-CLI

If you’re tech-savvy and familiar with WP-CLI, you can reinstall WordPress from the command line using a simple command. Specifically, you’ll want the wp core download command.

Make sure to use these options:

  • –skip-content – only downloads the core files, without the default themes and plugins
  • –force – overwrites the existing files

For example:

wp core download --skip-content --force

If you have no idea what WP-CLI is, no worries – just ignore this section. It’s an advanced tool that helps developers and power users work with WordPress more easily.

Final Thoughts On How To Reinstall WordPress

If you just want to reinstall the core WordPress software as a troubleshooting step while trying to diagnose an issue on your WordPress site, the first two methods are what you want.

If you can still access your WordPress dashboard, you can reinstall WordPress right from there by clicking a button. If not, you’ll need to connect to your site via FTP and upload a fresh copy of the WordPress core software.

And if you want to completely reinstall a blank copy of WordPress, it’s as simple as deleting your existing files and then creating a fresh install using the normal WordPress install process.

Have any other questions about reinstalling WordPress? Leave a comment and we’ll try to help out!

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Colin Newcomer is a freelance writer and long-time Internet marketer. He specializes in digital marketing, WordPress and B2B writing. He lives a life of danger, riding a scooter through the chaos of Hanoi. You can also follow his travel blog.