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How to Uninstall and Reinstall WordPress

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Recently, one of our users asked us how they can uninstall and reintsall WordPress? Reinstalling WordPress can solve issues when all other troubleshootings tips fail. In this article, we will show you how to safely uninstall and reinstall WordPress without losing your data or SEO.

How to uninstall and reinstall WordPress

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.

Download WordPress export file

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.

Download wp-content folder

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.

MySQL Databases

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.

Create a new database

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.

Add New MySQL user

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.

Add user to database

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 website.

Download WordPress

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.

Upload WordPress files

After uploading the WordPress files, go ahead and visit your website. WordPress will now ask you to enter your database information.

Add database info

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.

Run WordPress installation

In the next step, WordPress will ask you to provide your site information like site title, description, admin email address and password.

Site information

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.

Upload the uploads folder

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.

Install WordPress importer

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.

Importing WordPress XML file

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.

Import settings

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.

We hope this article helped you learn how to uninstall and reinstall WordPress. You may also want to see our ultimate step by step WordPress security guide.

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Editorial Staff

Editorial Staff at WPBeginner is a team of WordPress experts led by Syed Balkhi with over 16 years of experience in WordPress, Web Hosting, eCommerce, SEO, and Marketing. Started in 2009, WPBeginner is now the largest free WordPress resource site in the industry and is often referred to as the Wikipedia for WordPress.

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Reader Interactions

12 CommentsLeave a Reply

  1. Syed Balkhi says

    Hey WPBeginner readers,
    Did you know you can win exciting prizes by commenting on WPBeginner?
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  2. Tim Allen says

    I cannot access my wp-admin dashboard to export content. But I can get into cPanel. Is there a method to uninstall/reinstall from cPanel?

  3. Maarten says

    “Then you need to delete all WordPress files.”,… would be handy to explain with one are WordPress files… is that everything, including htaccess?

  4. Guillaume says

    I just wanted to thank you for your awesome tutorial. I am interested in the Uninstall/Re-installation of WordPress. I get stuck on a 503 error as I wanted to go on my website.

  5. Vandna Namdeo says

    Sir my wordpress back end Very Slow its taking too much time to do anything in admin area.
    How can I fix it.
    I tried all plugin uninstall and agian install but still facing same problem.
    Please help me

  6. Talha Anwar says

    After doing all these steps, i have lost my featured images, none of image is being shown in media folder, but post images can be seen.

  7. Rabson says

    hello , how can I set premium account and the customer buy it .

    I want automatic process it means if customer buy premium account ,

    WordPress change normal account to premium account .


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