WordPress 5.0 is a major change for the CMS, therefore, upgrading to WordPress 5.0 should be done with the utmost caution.
WordPress 5.0, known as Gutenberg, is scheduled to be released on December 6, 2018. Gutenberg is a block editor with the vision to improve the WordPress editing experience. Automattic, the creators of WordPress, decided to make the new editor part of WordPress’ core instead of a plug-in. The current editor, now called the classic editor, will become a plug-in for WordPress 5.0.
Follow these steps when upgrading to WordPress 5.0
- Make a full back-up of your website. This back-up must include all of your files and your database. Download the backup so you can readily access it to restore your website if needed.
- If your hosting solution has a staging area, push your live website to the staging area. If your hosting plan does not have a staging area, this is a perfect time to move to a hosting solution that does have a staging area. Otherwise, it is strongly advised to set-up a testing area for your website.
The next steps should be performed in a staging or testing area:
- Install the classic editor plug-in.
- Upgrade to WordPress 5.0.
- Upgrade ALL plug-ins. WordFence is a security plug-in that should be installed on your website to keep your website secure. Wordfence includes the functionality to scan all of your installed plug-ins and flag any plug-ins that appear to be abandoned, which means they have not been updated within the last 6 months. You should strongly consider replacing plug-ins that are no longer supported both for security and functionality reasons.
- Thoroughly test all WordPress, theme and plug-in functionality. I recommend developing a test plan and making sure that you test and record the outcome of each test aspect. If you chose to move forward with plug-ins that have been flagged as abandoned, you will need to pay special attention to these plug-ins during your testing to make sure that they are not causing issues.
- Once your testing has proved favorable, push the staging site to the live site, assuming that your live site did not have any changes made to it during your testing period. Or, you can repeat all steps on the live website.
When Should you Upgrade to WordPress 5.0
Normally I recommend keeping WordPress upgraded to the latest release, however, in the case of WordPress 5.0, I recommend that you wait 3 to 6 months after the official release date before upgrading. This will allow time for issues to be discovered and resolved and for plug-in and theme vendors to be fully compatible with WordPress 5.0. WordPress will release security updates to 4.9.x, so there is no reason to rush to WordPress 5.0.
However, managed WordPress hosting services may auto-upgrade to WordPress 5.0. Therefore, if your website is on a managed WordPress hosting service I recommend that you immediately make a full back-up of your live website and complete the upgrade steps outline above. Otherwise your website may become inoperable.
If you need assistance in upgrading to WordPress 5.0 contact Web Image Designs and we will be happy to assist you.