A Step By Step Guide On How To Reinstall WordPress

Reinstall WordPress

Sometimes reinstalling WordPress may be the only option left after all other troubleshooting methods have failed. But how do you reinstall WordPress without losing your content, plugins, themes, and SEO?

In this WordPress tutorial, we will quickly show you how to reinstall WordPress. If you prefer to stay out of anything technical, our team of WP experts can help you out.

We offer affordable WordPress support and maintenance packages. Alternatively, if you don’t mind doing it yourself, roll up your sleeves and let’s get to work.


  1. Why reinstall WordPress
  2. How to Reinstall WordPress

Why Reinstall WordPress

There are a few reasons why you may need to reinstall WordPress. However, note that the uninstallation and reinstallation of an existing WordPress site aren’t always necessary.

In fact, most common WordPress errors have very simple fixes. To clarify, we will go through some of these errors and how to fix them.

Syntax Error

This is one of those frustrating coding error messages we all get in our programming adventure once in a while. Syntax is a group of rules you need to comply with in order to get the code working.

For this reason, even the smallest mistake like a bracket or comma can “break” the code. To fix it, see where the problem arose (the error displays code line location of the problem), find it, and manually correct it.

Learn more about fixing syntax errors in WordPress.

A Plugin Is Acting Weird

Face it, some themes and plugins don’t behave well together. If there is a conflict, you will have to use a different plugin compatible with the ones you have installed.

To check which ones are making all the fuss, disable each plugin separately.

Internal Server Error

This one is a little tricky. It tells us there is a problem but that the server is not sure what and where is it. To fix it, you’ll need to check a couple of things: htaccess, PHP memory limit, and plugins.

Plugins are the easiest things to troubleshoot. In essence, you need to disable each one and see if the problem is fixed.

Next, you can try increasing the PHP memory limit inside the wpconfig.php file. If this doesn’t solve the problem, find htaccess, and make a WordPress backup. Go to Settings > Permalinks and save permalink changes. This should do the trick.

Learn more about fixing internal server error in WordPress.

Misplaced Sidebar

This is not always a cause for concern. In truth, it doesn’t even have to be a problem with your WordPress theme. There is a chance you have too many div tags in your code. Learn how to fix sidebar below content issue in WordPress.

404 Errors

If 404 error happens: Go to Settings > Permalinks and save changes. This will then overwrite htaccess and in most cases, fix the problem.

Can’t Log Into WordPress Dashboard

If you somehow lost the password, you can edit your database using PhpMyAdmin. Learn more about fixing WordPress login issues.

We haven’t gone into so much detail since this guide is only focused on how to uninstall and reinstall WordPress. We already have a guide on how To fix common WP errors, problems & issues. Please check it out.

And if you are still not confident enough to tackle these problems, by all means, seek help from professionals. Besides, nobody is judging!

How To Reinstall WordPress

So, you tried everything, but the problem is still there. Now, you must completely reinstall WordPress. Don’t worry, there are a couple of simple methods you can use to get this done. We will show you 3 of them.

The method you choose depends on these two factors:

  • Do you want a completely fresh installation?
  • Or a quick reinstall without losing content.

Note: Before using any of these methods, please backup your website. Although you are not likely to lose content using any of the first two methods, we recommend you do a backup still. You can use any of our best backup plugins to get the job done.

1. Reinstall WordPress via the Dashboard

This is the simplest solution. Not only is it simple; you won’t lose any of your site’s content using this method. To reinstall WordPress via the dashboard, follow the steps below.

Open your Dashboard and click “Re-install Now”.

Reinstall wordpress through wp-admin dashboard

The installation should begin immediately.

Reinstall Screen

Finally, you will see “Welcome to WordPress” and the version you just installed.

Welcome Screen after install/update

The job is therefore done!

2. Reinstall WordPress Through FTP

Sometimes, as we mentioned before, you can lose access to your WordPress dashboard. So what would be the solution here? To do the same thing we did in the example above, but without the admin panel access. we will use an FTP client (Filezilla is a great choice) instead.

Installing FTP Client

First, go to the FileZilla website and download the latest version of FileZilla Client. After it’s downloaded, install it on your computer.

Download Filezilla

Open the FTP program, fill all the information you are asked to (Host, Username, Password, and Port), and click “Quickconnect“.

Using Quickconnect

If everything is in the right order, the following text will be displayed. (some of the information will differ a little in your case).

Filezilla Connection Log

On the left side, you should see your local files and on the right, your remote files.

FileZilla file system

*Don’t close the FileZilla because we will need it in the next part.

Using FileZilla To Reinstall WordPress

Now that we have an FTP client, we need to download the latest version of WordPress. To do so, go to the WordPress site and download it. (It’s free of course!)

Download WordPress

Extract your WordPress content from the .zip archive. The list should look like this:

Extract WordPress files from zip

We do not need the wp-content folder, so delete it. Go back to FileZilla, on your left-hand side where your local files, open and highlight all the extracted WordPress files.

Next, drag the files to the Public_html folder (or anywhere WordPress was originally installed). You’ll see this folder in the remote site section (right-hand side of your screen).

A warning will appear asking if you are sure about overwriting the files. Check “Always use this action” and click OK.

Upload WordPress Files

Wait for it to finish uploading and that’s all. The text we previously showed should now look similar to this.

Reinstall successful

You now have a manually reinstalled core WordPress via FTP.

3. The “Nuclear” Option

Maybe you heard the term “nuke it”? Well, as the name implies, it destroys everything. In contrast to the real world, we at least have an efficient virtual shelter (a back-up). This option is for the bravest or the ones that just know how to do it properly. In a couple of minutes, you will be one of the latter.

For this, we will also use FileZilla.

Backing Up

To export your data (posts, pages, etc.), do the following:

Go to the “Tools” section and click on “Export”.

The 'Export' tool

This will open the “Export” section, where you can choose what to download. Just leave it on “All content”.

Export all content

The browser will then download the .xml file to your computer.

XML export file

Finally, copy the “wp-content” folder from FileZilla from WordPress hosting to your computer.

Content is secured!

Nuking The Files

Now for the fun (and a little scary) part. Open FileZilla and login to your WordPress hosting  (like we showed you before). Go to the “Remote site” section and locate your public_html folder (or anywhere WordPress was installed). Open it, select all the existing WordPress files, right-click and click “Delete”.

Delete WordPress files

Wait for it to finish, and now all the files are gone.

Empty Directory Listing

To complete the uninstallation, we need to delete all existing databases as well. Depending on the control panel of your host, this part could be visually different accordingly.

In your control panel, you should find an icon called “MySQL Databases“. Click on it.

Access Database in cPanel

There, you can choose the database you want to delete and click on “Remove Database“.

Delete WordPress database

At last, you’ve destroyed every trace of your site. Now we need to bring your files back!

Reinstall WordPress from a fresh copy

There are various ways you can do this. The user-friendly approach is an automatic installation from your host’s control panel (all WordPress hosts have this).

The other method is something we already did previously so it should take no effort.

Before that, let us create the database. Go to your control panel, and open “MySQL Databases“. (the same location as before)

Pick a name and click “Create Database“.

Create the database

Your database is now established. We will need this information soon.

Database credentials

Automatic Installation

As an example, here, we have the “Softaculous Apps Installer“. It offers several programs to be installed directly from the host.

Installing WordPress with Softaculous

After you open it and find WordPress software, click “Install Now“.

Automatic WordPress installation screen

If you don’t want to configure anything yet, scroll down the next page, and hit “Install“.

Skip the configuration

Wait for the installation to complete.

Installation Progress Bar

After all that, you now have freshly installed WordPress!

The Manual Way

We already looked at how to use FileZilla to uninstall and reinstall WordPress. For this purpose, all you need to do is to drag the files and folders into the now-empty public_html folder (or where WordPress was previously installed). After that, go to your website.

The installation will ask you to choose a language. (However, don’t worry, you can change this later)

Choose Language Screen

Then, you will be presented with information about the installation process. Click on “Let’s go!” to continue.

WordPress setup start

Fill data for your database and submit.

Database Credentials Setup

Click the “Run the installation” button.

Run the installation button

Write your details and click on “Install WordPress“.

Site title and user credentials

That’s it.

Log in after installation

As a result, you can now log into your fully working copy of WordPress.

Login page

Bringing Data Back

To bring back your data overwrite the “wp-content” folder in FileZilla with the one from your computer.

Next, to get posts and pages go to the “Tools” section and click on “Import“.

The 'Import' tool

We first need to activate the importer. Find the “Install Now” button beneath the word “WordPress”.

Install the WordPress importer

After the installation run the importer.

Running the importer

Choose your .xml file and click on “Upload file and import“.

Importing the XML file

Bonus Tip

We recommend that you configure “robots.txt” before nuking your site or doing some longer maintenance. In other words, make sure Google bots won’t crawl and index your site while in that state.

More Resources:

 This post was written by Mesheal Fegor

Mesheal Fegor is a Web/WordPress Developer and technical writer. His WordPress help articles have been featured on Kinsta and other sites. Mesheal holds a master's degree in computer science. His writing focuses on technical WordPress issues, ranging from core WordPress problems, to issues with WooCommerce, and more.

Last edited by: FixRunner Team