It’s often the case that after setting up your WordPress site, you’ll never have to modify your installation. However, in some cases you may find that you need to reset or reinstall your site, but have no idea where to start.

Fortunately, this task isn’t quite as difficult as it may seem at first. There are a few ways to go about reinstalling WordPress, including manually and by using a plugin. You’re free to choose whichever method best suits your needs.

In this post, we’ll talk about why you might want to reset WordPress, and then show you two ways to go about it. Let’s jump right in!

Why Would You Reset WordPress?

Resetting WordPress means restoring all of its files and databases back to their original state. In other words, you’re effectively taking an existing WordPress website and re-installing it from scratch, using what’s already there as your foundation. You can either wipe the site clean and start over again from a blank slate, or restore it from a backup.

There are three main reasons to reset WordPress. These include:

  • Rebuilding or repurposing the website
  • Restoring the site from a backup, in the event of a mistake, hack, or error
  • Cleaning out a test installation so you can reuse it

You may also want to perform a partial reset. It’s important to periodically clear out your database to remove files that accumulate over time, such as old cached data that slows down your site. Partial resets enable you to do that, without affecting other key parts of your site.

How to Reset WordPress Without a Plugin

As we mentioned earlier, there are two primary ways to reinstall your WordPress site. In this section, we’ll explain how to perform a manual WordPress reset using Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP).

Step 1: Delete Your Old Database

First, you’ll want to log into your WP Engine portal and navigate to phpMyAdmin. Then, look for your site’s current MySQL database. It’s a good idea to make a copy of it for safekeeping at this point, and name it something like “backup WP [date].”

Then, delete your current database using the menu options in your dashboard. Before you delete it, note the database’s exact name – you’ll be naming your new database to match it in the next step.

Alternatively, instead of deleting your database entirely, you can clear it out by following our database optimization guide. This can speed up your current database by removing any files you aren’t using anymore, such as orphaned data that was left behind by deleted plugins.

Step 2: Create a New Database and Reinstall WordPress

Still using phpMyAdmin, the next thing you’ll want to do is create a new database with the same name as your old one. You’ll also need to set up a username and a password at this point. Make sure that you write these credentials down somewhere safe – you’ll need them to access the site later on.

Once you have a new database in place, you can run the WordPress installation script. This will start WordPress’ famous five minute installation process. You can simply follow the wizard to automatically install WordPress.

Step 3: Restore Your Site from a Backup (Optional)

As we noted earlier, you can also choose to restore your site from a backup instead of completely reinstalling it. If you’ve set up automatic backups, you can use your WP Engine portal to restore your site.

The software will clean out your current database, and replace it with the backed-up copy. Then, you can return to using your site as normal.

How to Reset WordPress With a Plugin

What if you want to simplify the process of resetting WordPress? To do that, you’ll need the right tool. Let’s look at how you can reinstall your site using the handy Advanced WordPress Reset plugin:

First, you’ll need to install and activate the plugin. Then, you’re ready to use the plugin to reset your WordPress database.

Under the Tools menu in your dashboard’s sidebar, click on Advanced WP Reset. Then, select Reset database:

You’ll need to manually type the word “reset” into the confirmation box as shown above, to confirm that you want to reset your database. This will automatically delete your old installation and set up a new one (so make sure you have a backup in place first).

That’s it! Refresh your site to see your fresh installation of WordPress ready to go.

Having Trouble With WordPress? WP Engine Is Here to Help!

Reinstalling WordPress can be a little tricky for beginners. If you’re having any trouble, don’t hesitate to contact us for support.

At WP Engine, we’re here to help you run an effective WordPress site and provide the best digital experience possible. We also offer plenty of handy developer resources, as well as some top-notch plans for WordPress users!