In this knowledgebase article, we’ll show you how you can use Version Control options to access the beta features of Rank Math or to rollback to previous versions of Rank Math.
1 Native Rollback Feature in Rank Math
The first major update to Rank Math is the inclusion of a native version roll-back feature. Before this update, if you needed to rollback to an earlier version of Rank Math for any reason, you had to use an external plugin to do so. But now, that functionality is built right inside Rank Math.
Here is how to use it:
1.1 How To Rollback Rank Math to a Previous Version
The Rollback functionality is placed in Rank Math > Status and Tools > Version Control. If you’re unable to find the Version Control tab in Rank Math Status & Tools, then make sure you’ve switched to the Advanced mode in Rank Math.
Under the Version Control tab, you should see the currently installed version of Rank Math, the latest version available, and a Rollback option.
If you click the drop-down in the Rollback version option, you will be presented with a list of the last 10 previous versions of Rank Math that you can rollback to.
To rollback, all you have to do is to select the version you want to rollback to and click the Install Version button.
Rank Math will ask for confirmation before proceeding. So, click the OK button to start the rollback process.
The process will begin instantly, and Rank Math will download your desired version, remove the previously installed version, and install the version that you chose to rollback to. Once the process is complete, the screen should look similar to this.
We hope that you never need to use this feature, but, as you know the art of creating software isn’t perfect yet. Even after extensive testing, some bugs still make their way to the final product. Fortunately, if you do face any issues with a new version, you can now instantly rollback to a previous, more stable version.
1.2 Important Things to Know About Rolling Back Rank Math
There are a few things that you need to know before you decide to rollback Rank Math to a previous version. Nothing critical is changed when you rollback, but a few things do change that you should be aware of.
If you didn’t know already, you should know that Rank Math offers automatic updates. The feature can be enabled from the same page Rank Math > Status & Tools > Version Control. With automatic updates enabled, Rank Math automatically updates to the latest version, without you having to touch a thing.
Having the latest version of Rank Math means more useful features at your disposal, more stability, and fewer bugs. Overall, a better Rank Math. That is why we highly recommend that you keep Auto Updates On for Rank Math.
Automatic updates are safe as well. Whenever Rank Math is updated automatically, we send you an email, so that you can be on the same page. Moreover, WordPress 5.2 and above also send users an email if any issues arise while auto-updating any plugin, not just Rank Math. That means you don’t have to worry about auto-updates breaking your website, and definitely should keep auto-updates on.
But, if you rollback to a previous version of Rank Math, automatic updates are disabled.
To re-enable automatic updates, you will have to update Rank Math manually once. Don’t worry, manually updating here does not refer to messing with zip files or FTP, it simply means that you have to head over to your installed plugins page inside the WordPress admin, and update the plugin from there.
Once you update Rank Math manually, then automatic updates will be updated again, and then you can choose to disable them if you prefer.
The last thing you should always remember before rolling back Rank Math or making any important change to your website is that always take backups. You might never know when something falls apart, and you need the latest backup to restore everything.
Update Notification Email
In the Auto-Update section, you will see an option to receive an email notification when an update is available. This option comes in handy when you do not wish to enable auto-update but want to be notified when an update is available.
When you enable this option, an update notification email will be sent to the email ID mentioned at WordPress Dashboard > Settings > General.
2 Enable Beta-Updates for Rank Math
If you like to live life on the bleeding edge and want your plugins to be there too, then you can sign up for beta-updates of Rank Math. It is a great way to become an insider and test out new features before they go live. This way, you can help make Rank Math better for everyone.
If you’re interested, then you can turn on beta-updates from Rank Math settings. Head over to Rank Math > Status and Tools > Version Control. The second option on the page will have a toggle switch to enable beta-updates.
Simply turn the toggle switch on and save your settings to enable beta-updates. Once you do, you will see beta updates in the WordPress plugin updates, similar to the image below.
The update will only be visible to you if you’ve opted in for beta updates. And, as you can see, the update is clearly marked as a beta update, so that you can avoid accidental update if you did not intend to do so.
Another important thing to know about beta updates is that they will never be installed automatically, even if you have auto-updates turned on, for obvious reasons.
Remember, beta-updates are not meant to be installed on live/production sites as they can break. We highly recommend that you install beta updates only on a testing or staging environment, and never on your live sites.
And when you’re ready, you can click the Update Now option to install the available beta-update on your website. If you’re a Rank Math PRO user, the beta-update for Rank Math PRO will be visible only after updating the Free version to the recent update.
3 Final Words
And, that’s it! If you’ve any questions, you can always get in touch with our support staff on the Rank Math Forum. Apart from that, if you have some feedback, feature requests, or you just want to get in touch, you can open a ticket on the forum as well.
If you’re enjoying using Rank Math, don’t forget to leave us a review on the WordPress repository.
4 Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Can I keep beta-updates enabled on my live websites?
A: You can, but we won’t recommend it. Beta versions, by definition, are not polished and tend to break. They are designed to take feedback from the community and fix bugs that might not have appeared in the testing phase.
If you install the beta version on your live website, then you might run into issues which won’t be easy to deal with. That is why we recommend that you wait for the official release of the plugin to use on your live websites.
Meanwhile, you can install the beta version on a local setup, or a staging/testing environment to test it out.
Q: If I turn on auto-updates and beta-updates, will beta-updates be installed automatically?
A: No. Beta updates are never installed automatically, even with auto-update turned on.
Q: Is the process of rolling back Rank Math reversible?
A: Yes. If you rollback and wish to go back to the version you were using earlier, you can use the roll-back utility to choose another version to switch to. Alternatively, if you’re looking to update to the latest version, then you can use the WordPress plugins page to update Rank Math. Remember, once you rollback, Rank Math will not auto-update to the latest version, even if auto-update is turned on.
Q: If I rollback Rank Math, do I need to upload the plugin zip-files manually to my site to update?
A: No. Once you rollback Rank Math, auto-updates are turned off. To update Rank Math then you’d have to go into the WordPress plugins page, and click the update link manually. The process is the same as with any other plugin that does not offer automatic updates. Once you update Rank Math manually, the auto-update feature will turn back on as well.
Q: Are auto-updates mandatory to use Rank Math?
A: No. Auto-updates are not mandatory, but they are highly recommended. SEO is a changing field, and we provide consistent updates to keep Rank Math up to date with the latest SEO information out there. The newer version also consists of newer features, and we also fix a lot of bugs with every release. That is why, we suggest that you always keep Rank Math up to date, and auto-updates are an easy way to achieve that.
Q: Will beta-updates break my site?
A: No, but they might. Beta-updates, by definition, are not meant for live websites, and they do have the potential to break your website, even if it is not guaranteed that they won’t. Therefore, we don’t recommend that you install beta-updates on a website whose rankings or traffic you care about.