What to Know About the Major WordPress 5.0 Update

December 6, 2018

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A major WordPress update (WordPress Version 5.0) is now in effect, and we want to make sure you know about it. The release of Version 5.0 includes a new content editor, the “Gutenberg Editor”, in the backend of your WordPress site.

This update brings some exciting changes and capabilities in the long run, but Version 5.0 could cause your site issues, too. The new version of WordPress might create problems with some of your current website features, integrations and plugins in the short term.

Keep in mind the following 5 things as you decide whether or not you should upgrade.

1) Ensure Your Website Is Backed Up Properly

In order to avoid losing any website content and in some cases, website overall functionality, back up your site the right way. Backing up both your site files and your database prior to any update is key (especially for an upgrade this big).

If not properly backed up, updating to WordPress 5.0 is irreversible, and if you don’t have proper backups, you won’t be able to restore your site to its current condition.

2) Be Prepared: Certain Themes and Plugins Can Cause Major Problems

Outdated or abandoned plugins and themes (or even just using a page builder like Visual Composer or Divi) can be problematic once you switch to Version 5.0. It’s important to talk to your web developers before transitioning to the Gutenberg Editor.

If your website’s WordPress theme and/or plugins have not been properly maintained, you could experience the following on your site:

– Inability to access your edit screen
– Server 500 errors or white screens
– Other bugs or glitches throughout your site.

To avoid compatibility problems with WordPress 5.0, you can keep your current WordPress editor by installing the WordPress Classic Editor Plugin. This is a smart move so that you don’t rush into the update and risk breaking parts of your website.

3) Understand the Security Implications For Your Website

Be ready to receive security warnings from the WordPress security plugin Wordfence until you do decide to make the transition to Version 5.0 WordPress is open source software, so it’s important to keep it updated in a timely fashion.

However, rushing into an update that you’re not prepared for only causes more complications (and possibly even security risks). So, if you’re not entirely ready for WordPress 5.0, staying on the current version while you get ready is not the end of the world.

4) Be Aware of Potential Auto-Updates from your Hosting Provider

Don’t be alarmed if your hosting provider automatically updated WordPress for you: contact them immediately. For example, WordPress offers managed hosting that automatically updates to the latest version.

It can’t hurt to check in with the appropriate parties about these auto-updates and confirm what backups and customer support are/aren’t provided. You don’t want to be surprised by an update of this magnitude. Whenever possible, it’s best for you to stay in control of when you hit the update button so you can verify that you’re ready for it.

5) Don’t Rush into Using the New Gutenberg Content Editor

WordPress 5.0 includes a new content editor, the Gutenberg Editor. The new editor will make using the default WordPress install easier to use out of the box and includes many other improved features. WordPress 5.0 hasn’t been tested with all current visual builders, and there’s a chance this can cause problems across your site.

As we mentioned earlier, WordPress conveniently made a useful plugin so users can update content in the backend of their sites the same way as before, and it’s called the WordPress Classic Editor Plugin. However, this doesn’t ensure that your website editing will work properly after the update if you haven’t checked all of your code (or if you don’t have backups in place as a failsafe).

To Wrap It Up…

Since this is such a major change to your content management system, it’s recommended that you wait to update WordPress if you’re not 100% ready for the new editor yet.

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