How to Roll Back To An Older Version of A WordPress Plugin

As with most software, it is generally known that keeping WordPress up-to-date is a wise idea, a best practice. With each release, the platform performs better, gets more secure, introduces new features – put simply, it gets more awesome (scientific term). But, in this quest for awesome, one must be cautious. Updating WordPress, or even its plugins, may have unintended side-effects. If you’re a hobbyist, running a small site, it’s probably not a huge deal. If you’re using WordPress for your business practices, a hiccup can prevent people from doing their jobs properly, and that’s bad for all involved.

Today, as part of my regular tasks with one of my clients, I started updating plugins. One of the ones I updated was Events Manager, which was updated from 5.6.1 to 5.6.2. Soon after the update, a co-worker noticed a side-effect. Though not critical, the update somehow conflicted with another plugin that was related. Wanting to avoid this side-effect, I immediately sought to roll back to the previous version. Before actually retrieving a backup, it occurred to me… surely, there must be a way to get the old version online. So I went to Event Manager’s page in WordPress’ plugin repository.

The Events Manager page, with a big, orange button that contains the text Download Version 5.6.2

 

There’s a big button that lets me download the latest version, 5.6.2, but what about previous versions? I checked the “Changelog” section, which I knew would feature references to prior versions, but, as I seemed to recall, there was no link available.

Solution

I quickly took my search to Google, where I found an article that suggested a clever solution:

All you have to do is copy the download url to your clipboard. Then modify that url to have the version number you want.

What? Could it be that easy? In my browser, Google Chrome, I right-clicked the big orange download button, and clicked “Copy link address”:

download link

Then, I pasted the link in a Notepad, so I could see and potentially change it. If you’re doing this right now, reading this article, the solution may differ depending what you get after pasting the link address. Simply refer to the scenario below that better reflects what you see:

A) The version number is visible in the link address.

If you can see the version number in the filename, you’re set.

https://downloads.wordpress.org/plugin/events-manager.5.6.2.zip

All you have to do is change the version to whichever you want. In my case, I just had to change the “2” to a “1”:

https://downloads.wordpress.org/plugin/events-manager.5.6.1.zip

Then, copy that new link into your browser, press enter, and bam, old version downloaded. Upload via FTP, and you’ve successfully time traveled (kind of).

B) The version number is NOT visible in the link address.

If the link looks something like this:

https://downloads.wordpress.org/plugin/events-manager.zip

That means it’s pointing to the latest version, which, in my case, was 5.6.2. To download the version I wanted, I had to specify which, like this:

https://downloads.wordpress.org/plugin/events-manager.5.6.1.zip

(Notice the “.” right before the version number, it’s important.)

After writing in the version number, all you have to do is paste the link in browser, press enter, and there you have it, the old version downloaded. Yet again, upload via FTP, and you’re set.

Considering how easy this was to do, I wonder why WordPress’s plugin site didn’t natively support us downloading whichever we wanted. I’m not sure if this is their way of discouraging rollbacks, or whether they just never took the time to add the functionality. Either way, many thanks to the author of the article!

See Also

Downloading Older Versions of WordPress Plugins