Replace WordPress core with WP CLI

One of the main reasons we often have to replace the WordPress core files is if the site becomes compromised and the malware modifies the core files, causing the dashboard to become inaccessible. In these cases, replacing the core can restore access and help secure the site.

⚠️ Make sure to take a backup before the cleanup.


The first step will be to check if the core files are intact.

wp core verify-checksums

If core files are intact, the command will return a response Success: WordPress installation verifies against checksums.

Otherwise, we should re-install the core files.

wp core download --force --skip-content

If the installed WordPress version is 6.0 but the latest version is 6.1, The above command will replace the core files with the latest WordPress version. Also the --skip-content is used to avoid downloading default WP themes and plugins.

Though it’s recommended to use the latest WordPress version, sometimes you may not want to update the WordPress version to the latest for X reason. That’s when we need to specify the --version flag.

# get the currently installed version of WordPress

wp core version
# the output will be a number eg. 6.0
# to re-install the same version

wp core download --force --skip-content --version=6.0

# to do it in one line
wp core download --force --skip-content --version=$(wp core version)Code language: PHP (php)

💡 WP CLI can’t always clean up the leftover files. In such cases, check the core version first, delete the wp-admin and wp-includes folders and reinstall the core.