As with any program or software, it’s important to use the latest version of WordPress so that you can keep your site secure.
It’s also an essential component if you’re installing plugins or a new theme.
So, if you ever asked yourself “what version of WordPress do I have?”, you're not alone and there are many ways of finding it out.
Here are my top five methods to check WordPress version:
- Find out from your WordPress admin area
- Check in the website’s HTML meta tag (if you can't access admin area)
- Look in version.php file (more complex method)
- Look at the readme.html file to check WordPress version (quickest way)
- Check the site’s RSS feed (if you can't find readme.html file)
1. Find out from your WordPress admin area
If you want to know how to find out your WordPress version, heading over to your administrative dashboard is the easiest and quickest way.
To use this method, start by logging into your WordPress account. Then, click on “Dashboard” on the top left-hand corner of your screen.
Once you click on “Dashboard”, you’ll see an option called “Updates”.
Select it to find out which version of WordPress you’re running. With this method, you’ll also be able to re-install the latest version if necessary. If you’re not running the latest version, make sure to back up your entire site before upgrading.
Another way of checking which version you’re using is to scroll down any of the pages in your admin area.
The footer will include a note saying “Thank you for creating with WordPress” at the bottom left side of each page. Parallel to this, on the right-hand side of the page, you’ll see the version of your website builder.
2. Check in the website’s HTML meta tag
If for any reason, you can’t access your administrative dashboard, you won’t be able to use the method above to find out which version you’re running.
Luckily, there are other ways to find out. For example, if you create a site with WordPress it should have an HTML meta tag with the information regarding which version the site uses.
While this should work in most cases, it’s not as reliable as the first option above. Despite the meta tag being a default feature of all WordPress sites, any administrative member can disable it. However, this method is still worth trying out if the one above isn’t a viable option.
To check the WordPress version through the HTML meta tag, open the website in your browser and right click on the site.
Then, choose “View Page Source” to open a separate tab with the HTML code for the site.
Lastly, tap Command+F or CTRL+F depending on the device you’re using and search for “WordPress”. As long as no one has disabled it, you should be able to find it easily.
3. Look in version.php file
If you can’t use either of the two methods above, or they don’t yield the intended results, there is another option that you can try. This method is more complex and involves digging through the source files of your website.
To use this method, you’ll need to be able to connect to the hosting account using FTP client or file manager.
Once you’ve logged into your hosting account, go to the WordPress installation directory and open the wp-includes folder.
In this folder, there should be a file called version.php.
When the file is open, scroll down to line seven. This will tell you which version of WordPress your website uses.
4. Look at the readme.html file to check WordPress version
The easiest way to check which version of WordPress a site is using is to look at its readme.html file.
To access this file, type https://www.yourdomainname.com/readme.html into your browser. (obviously, replace the example domain with the domain that you have!)
This file is automatically installed into each WordPress site. That said, it’s worth mentioning that this method doesn’t work with more security-conscious website owners who block their file so you can’t see it.
5. Check the site’s RSS feed
If you can’t find out which version of WordPress a site is using via the readme.html file, you can look at the site’s RSS feed.
The process is similar to method four. However, this time, you need to type https://www.yourdomainname.com/feed/ into your web browser.
Once you access the RSS feed, use CTRL+F or Command+F depending on the device you’re using. Then, search for “WordPress”. Scroll down to the first result to find out which version of WordPress the site is using.
Additional steps for checking the version of your WordPress website (make it safer!)
It’s important for you to know that displaying the version of your WordPress website for anyone to see isn’t safe at all.
By publishing this information regarding your website, you’re giving hackers the information they need to do their dirty work. With this in mind, if you’re able to find which version of WordPress your site uses with the second method on this list, it’s important you take the steps to disable this tag in the future.
Here’s a step-by-step to help you achieve this:
- Go to your WordPress Dashboard
- Click on “Appearance”
- Select “Editor”
- Click on the theme you’re using and click on the “functions.php” file to edit it
- Copy and paste the following message at the end of the file (this should be the last piece of text in the file otherwise the process won’t work): remove_action('wp_head', 'wp_generator')
- Click on “Update File” to save the changes you’ve made
In the meantime, if you’d like to tell me how you check your WordPress version on your sites, let me in the comment box below.