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Rollback WordPress Plugin to a Previous Version

This simple guide will teach you how to rollback to a previous version of a plugin by using the WordPress plugin repository page. An alternative version will also be supplied for those that prefer plugins. In this example we will be using the new (still in beta phase) Gutenberg plugin. As you all know, despite its quirks and glitches, I am a huge fan as I do all my work in mobile and add the finishing touches once in the Desktop.

Gutenberg version 3.8.0 added a fatal flaw (in my opinion) to those using it for constant editing and publishing.  The dreaded white screen of death. This was still an issue in the previous version but it was a random, isolated occurrence. In version 3.8.0, you are greeted with the white screen of death and there is no way to fix it as it goes away on its own and attacks at random. The duration of the white screen can last a few hours to a day. Fortunately, I can confirm (after much hair pulling and frustration from fighting with ver. 3.8.0) that rolling back to a previous version did the trick!

Out with the Old!

The first step is to deactivate and remove the faulty plugin. Navigate to Dashboard > Plugins

Search for Gutenberg and deactivate it and (optional but recommended) delete it. Also Optional: Purge cache if you can. All taken care of? Continue with the next step.

Advanced View

Navigate to the WordPress plugin repository and search for Gutenberg. You should see bits of information such as this beside the plugin:

Version:3.8.0
Last updated:3 days ago
Active installations:300,000+
WordPress Version:4.9.8 or higher
Tested up to:4.9.8

We need to click on Advanced View.

Wordpress plugins - advanced view location
WordPress plugin – Advanced view location

Previous Versions 

You’ll be taken to the Advanced View screen. Scroll to the very bottom and you should see something similar to this:

PREVIOUS VERSIONS
Previous versions of this plugin may not be secure or stable and are available for testing purposes only.

This warning may look daunting to a web master at first glance but this is exactly where the version we need is located. Using the drop-down menu, select version 3.7.0 and click Download

Wordpress plugin - previous version location
WordPress plugin – previous version

For those that find it a hassle to do it the manual way, there is an excellent plugin that gets the job done.

WP Rollback

Install the plugin (linked above) and activate it. You will not find any new menus added to your settings.

Note: It is not necessary to delete the old (or faulty) plugin when using the WP Rollback.

Navigate to Plugins.

You will notice that there is an additional option besides Deactivate, called Rollback. Click on Rollback and you’ll be taken to the ‘ WP Rollback ‘ screen.

Wp rollback plugin screen
WP rollback Screen

You’ll be presented with all the versions of the plugin (including the most recent ones.) Select the version of the plugin that you want (you might have to scroll to the bottom if it’s very old). Notice that there are two options presented to us. This guide does not cover how to set up the ‘ test rollback on a staging site ‘ feature, however. 

Click on Rollback and you’ll be presented with a warning screen.

Notice: We strongly recommend you perform a test rollback on a staging site and create a complete backup of your WordPress files and database prior to performing a rollback. We are not responsible for any misuse, deletions, white screens, fatal errors, or any other issue arising from using this plugin.

While it is recommended that you always back up your data, I did not follow any of the recommendations. Click on Rollback and the process begins! It should take a few seconds to unpack and replace the new plugin with the old (or vice versa). This is an optional step but if you are able to ‘purge cache’. 

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