If you can’t access your WordPress dashboard because of an error (or just prefer to work over FTP), you can perform a similar process via FTP. You’ll basically be manually duplicating what WordPress would otherwise do for you in the section above.

Here’s the process in a nutshell:

  • Download the latest version of WordPress
  • Extract the ZIP file
  • Upload everything except the /wp-content/ folder

When you start uploading the files, your FTP program should prompt you with a message saying something similar to Target file already exists. When that happens, make sure to select the Overwrite option and continue: 

Because you already deleted the wp-content folder, this will overwrite all of the core WordPress files without affecting any of your themes or plugins. Once the upload finishes, you should have a freshly installed copy of the WordPress core files and things are hopefully running smoothly.