What to Know before Updating to WordPress 5.0

WordPress 5.0 is here. Here’s a few things you need to know before Updating

WordPress has released its updated version which includes a new editor as of December 6th, 2018. The new editor and effectively the face of the update, is called Gutenburg. While this is by no means the first update of WordPress the initial default editor was launched back in 2005 and there are understandably some issues revolving Gutenburg. Before updating your current version of WordPress it is best to understand what that means for your web page.

There are some fundamental changes, and the dilemma between updating to 5.0 and staying with the current version comes with few factors to consider. The good news is that there are ways to update to the new version of WordPress and ensure the integrity of the content remains despite the fact that many core updates typically take some time to iron out the wrinkles.

What’s New About the Gutenburg Editor?

Gutenburg has shifted towards a style that utilizes block content, which allows site owners to easily manipulate multi-media content. The default editor currently necessitates a couple of different approaches when embedding content. With the new editor it will be much easier to completely customize your page. The goal or purpose of the new editor is to minimize the distractions from the content and remove the clutter from the website.

For any of you interested in the more technical bits, the real difference is that the old editor is a text-based one that requires coding experience and knowledge of HTML script in order to fully customize the page and create content.

Gutenburg will not only utilize HTML but also Java and React. Which makes it easier for website owners without coding experience to create more dynamic content while not risking the integrity of the website itself.

If you want to check out the new editor before you update your WordPress site, visit the Gutenburg page on WordPress’ site.

Should I go ahead and update now?

This seems to be the main concern with most WordPress owners. Any big update is going to come with bugs or continuing fixes. Similar to when a new gaming console is launched, there are going to be issues after the initial launch. For example, when Microsoft’s Xbox One X was released, many of the current Xbox games were already optimized for the previous console. Newer games used a lot of internal storage which limits the number of games you can download.

The Gutenburg launch will in all likelihood operate the same way. Most plugins and themes are ready for the update, but with a huge variety of content there are bound to be some that are not quite there yet.

Below you will find a few steps to help you decide if your website is ready for the Gutenburg editor and the new version of WordPress. You will want to be fairly certain that your site is ready to update because using plugins/themes that are not optimized could potentially break pages and lose content.

Are my Themes Compatible Already?

At the outset some WordPress themes still needed fine tuning, but as of now Gutenburg is now “fully integrated” and is the new default editor. This may not be the case for all the plugins though, as most plugins prepared their update for 5.0 before the launch.

WordPress 5 Update

Using WordPress for a Business?

In addition to personal websites if you are using WordPress to operate a business and are concerned about updating? There are a few options at your disposal that can help with the transition.

• Wait until the New Year. Sounds simple enough, but as with any major update (remember it has been over a decade since the default editor came out) there going to be bugs and other issues to fix. The last thing you want for your business is to update now and complicate everything during the holidays. Waiting until the New Year also gives developers a little more time to fix any bugs or update any plugins that you may need.

• Update to the WordPress 5.0 but keep the classic editor. The classic editor exists as a plugin, so if you want to use a new theme but keep the classic editor just view how to use the classic editor and still update your site.

• There are also options to use Gutenburg on parts of your website but not all of them. Plugins like the Gutenburg Ramp allow you to select which sections of your website use the new editor and which use the classic editor.

Don’t Forget to Back Up Before Updating

Of course, if you have a web developer or someone who runs your web page, it’s best to let them run the update process. It’s usually a good idea to regularly back up your digital content, especially if you are using WordPress to operate a business. Adopting a daily backup process will at least allow you to restore your web page to whatever content you had before the update in the event of any incompatibility issues. Having a web developer oversee the update process will also make it easier to fix any plugin/theme issues related to the new editor.

Some of you may be thinking “I’ll just wait to install the new editor and WordPress 5.0”. Be aware that if this is your course of action, WordPress 5.0 also comes with security updates and fixes. Given that there were over a million vandalized WordPress pages in 2017 it would be a good idea to make sure your website is not only secure but also operating at high performance.

Test Your Website Before You Update

Keep in mind that there are ways to “test” your website to see if your current themes/plugins are already optimized for version 5.0. Website owners can test the update in a staging area.

Lastly, the new Gutenburg editor is by no means the end goal of the project. By adopting a block structure, WordPress is positioning itself to become the premier platform for digital content creation.

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