When Do You Need to Reinstall WordPress?
Reinstalling WordPress should never be the first option. Most common WordPress errors are easily fixable, and this will save you from the hassle of reinstalling WordPress.
If you cannot figure out the cause of an issue, then follow the instructions in our WordPress troubleshooting guide. It will help you pin-point the issue and find a solution.
In case of a hacked WordPress site, you can try the tips in our guide on how to clean a hacked WordPress site.
If all else fails, then uninstalling and reinstalling a fresh copy of WordPress can be used as the last resort.
Step 0. Create an Emergency Backup
Before you do anything, you should first create a complete backup of your existing WordPress site. You can use a WordPress backup plugin to do this. Make sure that you store your backup files on your computer or a cloud storage service like Google Drive or Dropbox.
We will not be using this backup to reinstall WordPress, but it’s good to have in case something goes wrong.
Step 1. Export Your WordPress Content
First thing you need to do is export your WordPress content by creating a WordPress export file. This file will contain all your posts, pages, categories, tags, and comments.
Restoring a WordPress site using this export file allows you to leave out data created by WordPress plugins.
Here is how you would create a WordPress export file.
First, sign in to your WordPress admin area and then go to Tools » Export page. Select all content and then click on ‘Download Export File’ button.
If you have a lot of registered users on your website, then you may want to export them too. See our guide on how to easily import/export users in WordPress.
Step 2. Download wp-content Folder
All your WordPress themes, plugins, images, and uploads are stored in the /wp-content/ folder on your website.
Let’s download this content to your computer, so that you can use it later to reinstall WordPress.
Connect to your WordPress site using an FTP client or File Manager in cPanel. Once connected, select the wp-content folder and download it to your computer.
After downloading the wp-content folder, you are ready to uninstall WordPress.
Step 3. Properly Uninstall WordPress
To uninstall WordPress, you need to connect to your WordPress site using a FTP client or File Manager in cPanel. Then you need to delete all WordPress files.
You don’t really need to delete your WordPress database. Most WordPress hosting companies allow you to create as many databases and usernames as you need.
Instead of deleting the existing database, you can create a new one with a new username and password.
To create new database, you need to login to your cPanel account and click on MySQL Databases icon.
This will bring you to the add new database page.
First, you need to enter a name for your new database and click on create database button.
After that, scroll down to add ‘MySQL Users’ section and add a new user. You will need to enter a username and password, and then click on ‘Create User’ button.
Now you need to add the user to the database you created earlier. Scroll down to ‘Add user to database’ section and then select the username and database you created earlier.
Click on the ‘Add’ button to continue.
Your new database is ready to be used when you reinstall WordPress.
Now that you have successfully uninstalled WordPress, let’s see how to reinstall it and restore your website.
Step 4. Fresh Install WordPress
You need to download a fresh copy of WordPress from WordPress.org website.
After downloading WordPress, you need to unzip the download file.
You will find a WordPress folder inside it. Open the WordPress folder, and you will see all the WordPress files.
Now, you need to upload these files to your website using an FTP client.
After uploading the WordPress files, go ahead and visit your website. WordPress will now ask you to enter your database information.
You need to enter the name of database, username, and password you created earlier. Your host information will most likely be localhost.
Once you are done filling out the information, click on the submit button to continue.
WordPress will now attempt to connect to your database. Upon successful connection, it will show you a success message. You can now click on the ‘Run Install’ button to continue.
In the next step, WordPress will ask you to provide your site information like site title, description, admin email address and password.
After filling out the information, click on ‘Install WordPress’ button to continue.
WordPress will now finish the installation. Go ahead and log into the WordPress admin area using the username and password you entered earlier.
Once you are logged into WordPress, you need to delete the default content.
Head over to Posts and delete the ‘Hello World’ post. Visit the ‘Comments’ section and delete the default comment. Lastly, go to Pages and delete the sample page.
You have successfully reinstalled a fresh copy of WordPress.
Now let’s move on to restoring your content.
Step 5. Restore Uploads, Images, and Theme
First, you will need to restore your uploads, images, and theme located inside the wp-content folder you downloaded earlier.
To do that, you need to connect to your website using an FTP client and go to /wp-content/ folder.
Next, you need to select the /wp-content/uploads/ folder from your computer and upload it to your website.
If you have made changes to your WordPress theme or child theme files, then you can upload them now. Your theme folders are located in the /wp-content/themes/ folder.
Step 6. Import Content
Now let’s import your posts, pages, categories, tags, and other content.
First, you need to go to Tools » Import page and then click on ‘Install Now’ link under WordPress.
WordPress will now download and install the WordPress importer. After that you need to click on the ‘Run Importer’ link.
This will bring you to WordPress importer page where you need to click on the ‘Choose File’ button and then select the XML file you downloaded during our step 1.
Click on ‘Upload file and import’ button to continue.
WordPress will ask you if you want to create new authors and assign the posts to them or if you would like to assign all posts to your current user account.
If it is a single author WordPress site, then you can assign all posts to yourself. Otherwise, do nothing and WordPress will import the authors.
You also need to make sure that you check the box under ‘Import Attachments’. This will allow WordPress to properly import the images in your /wp-content/uploads/ folder to the WordPress media library.
Go ahead and click on the Submit button to continue.
WordPress will now start importing content from the XML file to your fresh WordPress install.
Once finished, you will be able to see your content by visiting your website.
Step 7. Install WordPress Plugins (One by One)
After successfully importing content to your reinstalled WordPress site, you can move on to installing plugins.
You will need to install all plugins one by one and then activate them. You may need to manually setup plugins to adjust their settings.
That’s all, you have successfully uninstalled and reinstalled WordPress. You can now review your website and setup things as they were before like your navigation menus, sidebar widgets, contact form, and more.