As of 2018, its estimated that between 30-50% of websites live on the net use WordPress as a foundation. This should not be terribly surprising given the functionality, practicality and flexibility of the WordPress platform. The Shop develops the majority of our clients’ online presence through WordPress as we find the ability to create and collaborate to be the best of all CMS options.
WordPress has also been fairly good at communicating its upgrades through the years. However, late 2018 came as a shock. The phones started ringing from hosts…the new 5.0 was pressed into service on December 6, 2018. Featuring a new WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) “Gutenberg” editor and a slew of totally re-faced features, 5.0 was released quicker than independent developers expected. This caused a slew of immediate issues. Major plugins like page editors, contact forms and other usual “standbys” were now behind, and causing updated sites to crash outright. As of this writing, 5.0.3 has been released, and there’s been time for some to catch up, however, there are some things we want to pass along.
Should I update my WordPress site to 5.0.3?
Simply put, no. From personal experience, we have upgraded four clients to the 5.0 platform since December of last year. Of the four, only one was seamless update. The other three had issues that required plugins be turned off, and in a more severe case, some PHP re-written to comply with the new framework. You should not update your WordPress website to 5.0 unless first moving a backup to a development server to test, or contacting a professional service such as The Shop to take a look at what you’ll be faced with.
Can I just keep it on my current version and not worry?
Unfortunately, no. At some point soon, WordPress will force a mandatory update to 5.0 across the board. Don’t be left high and dry with the “white screen of death” because you didn’t tackle this issue head on.
I’m loosing confidence in the WordPress platform…
You shouldn’t! In truth, this is a very unique situation. The Shop spoke at length with one of our major hosting partners in December regarding this issue. Simply put: older versions of WordPress faced a major security breach that caused the company to rollout 5.0 in a rush. According to this partner, it was a fairly unique situation, but it had to be dealt with quickly. And on the total upside, version 5.0 is FAR superior to previous versions of WordPress. Whether or not you currently use an in-platform editor like WPBakery, having the Gutenberg editor gives you some major increase in functionality and layout editing. Further, revisions since the first launch have further stabilized the platform.
I’m afraid to even try an upgrade, regardless of having a dev server to work on!
Not to worry, we’re here to help! Every situation is unique. Some upgrades are clean and quick. Others require plugins be updated, or in some cases modified for the new framework. In more complex cases, particularly with sites featuring customization to the PHP functions or the stylesheet, the updates can be more lengthy and costly. Either way, its not worth the risk attempting a go on your own. If 5.0 has a bad install, once the site is crashed, you will not be able to log back in through the admin panel.
We hope this gives you some insight and cuts through some of the clutter surrounding WordPress 5.0! As always, if you have any questions or would like a consultation for your website, give us a shout!