Attention all WordPress users: You may be used to habitually clicking that "update" button. But WordPress 5.0 is a complete change in how WordPress works, and will most likely break your website.

What's Different About WordPress 5.0?

The major change in WordPress 5 is the editor. The current editor provides somewhat of a stripped down MS Word experience. But the new editor, dubbed "Gutenberg", is completely different, providing more of a visual block-based way of editing and adding content. In most cases, the new Gutenberg editor IS NOT compatible with existing content that has been populated through a variety of custom plugins and themes.

New Gutenberg editor compared to the previous/current editor

New Gutenberg editor compared to the previous/current editor.

How to Safely Upgrade

For our clients using WordPress, we will be taking the following approach to upgrading:

  1. Clone the current live site into the staging environment
  2. Audit the plugins and themes to identify if they support WordPress 5, or are planning support in the future.
  3. Test the WordPress 5 upgrade in the staging environment and either:
    • Make the necessary changes to support the new Gutenberg editor
    • Or disable Gutenberg and install a compatibility plugin for the old editor (Note that the compatibility plugin will only be supported until 2021)

This process is critical to ensure stability and continued support of your website. Jumping the gun on WordPress 5 could result in a huge amount of scrambling and extra work. But ignoring it forever would result in major security holes down the road. The best option is to make a controlled, planned upgrade.

Is There a Reason Not to Upgrade?

If you are currently unhappy with your website, or think it is due for a refresh, this would be an opportune time to budget for and plan a rebuild. Don't waste time and effort (and frustration) on the upgrade if a rebuild would provide more value. We can assist with rebuilding your site natively in WordPress 5, or help you explore more worry-free options (such as our new platform, CodeRed CMS).