How to Remove and Reinstall WordPress


Because the content that appears on your WordPress website actually "lives" on your domain server as a MySQL database file---and not as a physical part of your website design---you can easily remove and reinstall the basic WordPress program module without losing any valuable content. You must remember one principle, though: Your MySQL database must have a clear "map" to find its way back to your website once you reinstall WordPress. Provide that map through careful management of your WordPress "config.php" and other "pointer" commands.

  • Open your customary direct connection to your domain server through your regular FTP software application. Navigate to your WordPress folder on the server.

  • Copy any non-WordPress "core" files that have been stored inside your WordPress site folder on your server, such as pictures and other graphic files. These items are not a part of the WordPress module, nor your MySQL database. These are image files that you have added to your WordPress "world" over time. Manually copy and save these important elements in another file somewhere. But note the file folders where these files were originally stored; you'll need to put these items back where they came from.

  • Highlight the WordPress file entry as a whole or the three main modules of WordPress (wp-includes, wp-admin, wp-content) and press "Delete" on your keyboard or click on your FTP "Delete" icon. Confirm that you indeed want to delete the entire installation by clicking "Yes." As soon as the file folder is empty, your WordPress core is gone. If you check your domain address now, you will receive a "404" error message: "Website not found."

  • Locate your preferred version of WordPress. You can either reload from a file already on your computer or download a newer version from Extract the compressed WordPress file on your hard drive and then move all the WordPress files over to your domain server to the proper, or main, directory.

  • Right-click the "config-sample.php" file that exists on your hard drive inside your WordPress folder as soon as the WordPress core has deployed. Choose "Edit."

  • Edit the data inside this "config" file so it points back to your MySQL database again. Most domain servers and MySQL setups will ask for an account name or number, a user name or number, a pre-established database password, and a server address name or number. Enter these items into the "config" file carefully. Save the file, changing the name of the file from "config-sample.php" to "config.php."

  • Load the new "config.php" file to your WordPress server file. Load any new or familiar "theme" files to the WordPress folder "wp-content/themes." Reload your images and other graphic elements or other documents to their original WordPress file folders.

  • Navigate to your WordPress website with this address: This will activate the WordPress Install module. Fill out the setup form, remembering to "point" your WordPress install back to the correct server location for your MySQL database. The install module will then go to work reestablishing those former connections to your data. When this process is complete, exit the program.

  • Log in to your administrative account---usually with the user name "admin" and a new password that emails to you.

  • Open your WordPress Dashboard and navigate to the "Appearance/Themes" section. Highlight your old theme or a new theme entry. Click "Activate." This will turn on the theme elements throughout your WordPress site. Your old data should magically appear again, in the same location if you use the same theme or in new locations and forms if you are changing theme templates.

  • Troubleshoot and tweak your fresh installation. If elements such as pictures or graphics are missing, it's usually because the programming is "looking" for the item in a certain location (such as an "Images" folder) and you have copied the images to a different location by accident. Restore all those elements to their proper mapped locations or reload the images to WordPress through the WordPress Uploader program.

Related Searches


  • "Smashing WordPress: Beyond the Blog"; Thord Hedengren; 2010
  • "WordPress for Dummies"; Lisa Sabin-Wilson; 2010
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