We’re halfway through 2019. And we still have WordPress users sticking on to their older versions of WordPress just because they are concerned that the update will bring unnecessary changes or bugs into their websites.
As the world’s best-in-class CMS provider, WordPress updates itself frequently to keep up with time and options.
WordPress 5.0 was released on 6th December 2019. They call it Bebo. A majority of users have already updated to WordPress 5.0. If you’re waiting for reasons, let’s talk.
What’s New in WordPress 5.0?
WordPress 5.0 is one of the latest updated versions of WordPress. It arrived with a handful of new features like an inbuilt Gutenberg editor and a Twenty Nineteen Theme as default. Gutenberg is the new WordPress block editor which comes with a completely user-friendly pick-and-add functionality.
The new block editor lets you customize every block in your post without changing the sections of entire web pages. You can add multiple styles and designs using the blocks. This stepped-up editor will be of more use for developers and programmers.
Though WordPress 5.0 has defaulted the Gutenberg editor, the majority of its users aren’t prepared to work with it. So users feel it is difficult to use. In such a case, you can continue using the classic editor by installing it extra from the plugin repo.
Following are certain facts you need to know before the crucial update to WordPress 5.0.
1. Update Plugins to Their Latest Version
Plugins are a crucial part of the WordPress site. Plugin developers make updates and bug fixes in their plugins when WordPress is updating to a new version. That helps them to fix any internal errors or bugs that can arise with updating the CMS.
With the arrival of WordPress 5.0, a good percent of WordPress plugins have released major updates that are compatible with the latest version. Updating these plugins before updating your WordPress can help you avoid bugs and errors to a great extent.
2. Update Your PHP Version
WordPress is powered by PHP. All the themes and plugins connected with WordPress comes under the wings of PHP. An old version of PHP for your WordPress assures that there occur conflicts and will result in a buggy experience.
A minimum of PHP 5.6 is required to run WordPress and most of its themes and plugins. As they are backward compatible, PHP 5.6 will run fine. Still, never count-on on any software to be backward compatible.
Always use the version of PHP which suits the version of the software. That will help you avoid bugs which can pop-up due to an older PHP version.
An upgrade to the latest PHP version will also speed up your site’s performance. It also provides more security. The security updates for PHP 5.6 have ended last December. Therefore, PHP 5.6 will always be a security liability for you.
3. Classic or Gutenberg: The Obvious Question
Many WordPress users like the way WordPress worked with the old Classic Editor. You will have easier editing experience with the new Gutenberg editor.
Still, there have been reports from random users of bugs and errors while using the Gutenberg editor.
Switching back to the Classic Editor is always easy in case the Gutenberg editor is misbehaving.
Download the official WordPress Classic Editor plugin from the WordPress plugin repo. That will reportedly solve any issues or bugs related to Gutenberg.
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4. Decide Whether to Stage the Site
Staging is copying your site elsewhere and making the changes in the copy as a test. You can do this with plugins, or services to host your staged site on their servers.
With these methods, you can keep the changes separated from your original website. You can also stage your website on your desktop.
Stage on a Test Server
You can stage your site on anyone else’s server, which is a fitting solution. The changes you make on the copy won’t affect your original website.
A staged website will be kept hidden from the eyes of the public and the search engines. You can confidently make changes as they won’t disturb the real website.
WP Stagecoach is a popular service for staging and redesigning the entire WordPress website. It is easy to use with an intuitive user interface.
WP Stagecoach is a paid service. But the reasonable service charge is worth it for testing an upgrade.
Stage with a Plugin
WP Staging is a free plugin that allows you to stage your site.
The plugin creates a hidden folder on your host to stage the duplicate site. The site cannot be viewed by anyone other than you. All changes made are separated from the original website.
When ready to upgrade, you can press a button, and move the entire website to the real site from the staged site.
Stage a Site on Your Desktop
You can stage your website on your desktop using a local staging environment.
The most popular and recommended local staging environments are Laravel and Laragon. Laragon is also free software.
5. Backup Your WordPress Site
Backing up a website is always the ideal choice. You might already have a backup. If not, create a back up of your site soon before updating to WordPress 5.0.
UpDraftPlus is a popular and best-rated plugin for backing up WordPress websites. It comes as a fully functional free plugin available in WordPress.org and also a premium version that has more options.
6. Caching Plugins
Emptying your cache and minifying your scripts is recommended each time you update a plugin, theme or WordPress itself.
If you are using WordPress for a long time, updates may not seem a deal for you. But if you are a recent user, you might find this a bit scary.
e-Commerce store owners are also reluctant in updating WordPress, especially during the shopping season.
Being prepared with the knowledge of common bugs and how to fall back to the classic WordPress editor can help smooth your path. And moreover, staging the website is also a smart consideration before moving to update.
All these means, instead of being afraid, be the owner of your things and approach the project with steady preparation to ensure the best conceivable result.