some friends of mine installed a WordPress instance at around 2013. Long story short:

  • nothing was updated in all the time
  • a short while ago the admin pages weren't available anymore (just blank screen, error 500)
  • the former administrator doesn't care about the site anymore and just send me an SQL dump and the files from the webserver directory

In the version.php file lists the versions wp 3.8.2, php 5.2.4, mysql 5.0

My goal is to get the site back up running with all of the content. The plan is to start the site locally, fix the admin pages, pull a backup through the admin panel and push it into a fresh install.

My attempts:

  • Installed latest wordpress in docker container, pushed the sql dump into the server -> WordPress error (wrong database format or something like this)

  • same as the first try, but with wordpress 3.9 (oldest image available) -> “Your PHP Installation Appears to Be Missing the MySQL Extension Which Is Required by WordPress”

  • mount the whole directory in the container of the previous attempt -> same error as above

  • to exclude a problem with docker i installed apache, php and mysql local on my machine -> same error

My next step will be to install all I thought, that it should work if i install php and mysql with the specific versions mentioned in the version.php. Unfortunatly, i can't find them or i don't know how to install them.

So. before i continue fooling around with my problem, i hope that someone did something similar and i don't have to "reinvent the wheel".

I think my biggest problem is the missing knowledge about wordpress, php, mysql and maybe linux to solve this. Also i think (or hope) that there is a easier way to solve my problem.

Thank's in advance

1 Answer 1


If you can get an older version to work with the database (set up the config file to point to your local version of the DB), then you can try exporting it (via Export tool), and importing into another instance of the latest WP install (install a base site with a new DB).

If only the content is important to you, you could extract just the posts table to get the post/page content via phpMyAdmin. Then import that into the new instance either manually or with some PHP programming (create a loop that goes through each of the post/page content of the old DB, then use WP functions to create a new post).

You should be able to find guidance on the above processes with a bit of searching.

  • I was able to connect the an docker container with wordpress 3.9.1 (one of the oldest available images) to the database. After that i was able to upgrade the container all the way up to the recent version. The biggest challange was to get the quite old wp docker image working with the new docker/docker-compose versions, hence the command "--link" is deprecated. That would have been easier, if i had more knowledge about docker, but is was the only way to get the old wordpress and php versions running. Thank you! Commented Feb 25, 2023 at 17:47

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