How to apply an old plugin when the new one is ahead of its time

Roll back a wordpress plugin (Image by Brave New Films)Every now and then, a new version of a WordPress plugin is released that is a little ahead of its time and confuses your website.

In the past week, I had that experience on one site with NextGen Gallery, which started interrupting my Google Analytics display in my dashboard.

Such occurrences are thankfully quite rare and it is ALWAYS advised to apply updates as they become available, to WordPress itself, to plugins and to your themes.

The reason applying updates is so important is not for the new bells and whistles that might be included but rather for the continual improvements in security and efficiency.

I’d like to return this parrot; it’s dead

After trawling the official plugin forum, I decided it was better for me to TEMPORARILY roll back my version for a few weeks, until the Photocratic people who produce NextGen Gallery get through their current round of feedback gathering and release an update.

But how do you do this?

The WRONG way is to simply deactivate a plugin, delete it and then upload an older version.

The dilemma here is that you are likely, especially in the case of NextGen Gallery, to be deleting galleries and other structures.

Two steps forward, one step back; safely

There are a few steps in moving back to an older plugin version, and here they are:

  1. Locate the most recent past version of the plugin (the closest the old version is to the current version, the greater the degree of safety). You can usually find old versions by finding the plugin’s official page and clicking on the Developer’s tab
  2. Download the zip file of the older version and extract that zip file on your computer. Note where it is so you can find it later
  3. In your website, deactivate the troublesome plugin by finding it in the list of Plugins
  4. Backup your website
  5. In an FTP program like Filezilla, open your local computer in the left hand side of the screen Filezilla creates, on your right hand side, navigate through your website to find your plugin folders, usually in public_html>wp-content>plugins>plugin name
  6. Select and drag all the folders and files inside the unzipped plugin across to the opened plugin folder.
  7. Filezilla will ask you if you want to overwrite any files, say yes.
  8. When that transfer has completed, go back to your website’s admin screen and Activate your old/new plugin (it should be showing the older version number)

There are some illustrated steps for rolling back NextGen Gallery here.

If that does not work, try a different version or seek some professional webmaster help.

As I mentioned earlier, this is a rare occurrence and most likely brought about this time because the recent upgrade to WordPress 3.6 was quite revolutionary under the bonnet.



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