So Automatic the parent company of WordPress is on the eve of a significant update from the previous 4.0 branch of the software. Although I’m confident that considerable testing has been done on the core software, and it should be 99.9% fine, your website won’t be. Now is not the time to update. I can’t emphasise this enough….
DO NOT UPDATE TO 5.0
So how do you know WordPress 5.0 won’t work for me?
We’re not 100% sure, but the risk is significant. Does your website rely on any plugins to function? The 5.0 branch of software comes with a significant rewrite of core functions of how WordPress works. Most plugins will not be tested enough if at all to ensure that they work 100%. Even if they have been tested their compatibility with other plugins may not work.
Now the big plugin companies who make large commercial plugins will more than likely release updates/bug fixes swiftly as its the core of how they generate revenue. But a lot of WordPress plugins are free to use under GPL license by hobbyist developers sharing code they’ve made for their own projects. There is no guarantee that some of these older plugins will ever work again.
Likewise with themes. Have you made any modifications to a base theme? Is the third party theme supported well enough by the developer? Will any customisations you made be lost?
Page Builders such as Elementor or Beaver Builder may also have compatibility issues with WordPress’s new Gutenberg block manager. Even if compatibility is ok, it does not guarantee that the website will display or function the same.
Releasing such a significant update on the run up to the Christmas break will undoubtedly cause a lot of upset by overly keen website owners keen to see the new benefits of v5.0 in action and all of its new features. As it will impact such a large amount of WordPress websites you can bet a huge amount of website developers will be snowed with similar problems, meaning fixing your website will be further down their list of priorities.
Turn off automatic updates. Don’t update to version 5.0 until some real-world users have taken the plunge and ironed out any of the initial problems with it. Take a full backup of your website including files and the database meaning you can revert to a v4.0 branch should an automatic update occur.
Duplicate your v4.0 website into a test environment where you can safely update to v5.0 and can manually test all features and functions thoroughly in the knowledge that your main/live website is unaffected.
If you’ve any difficulties with this process or need help or advice, feel free to contact us.