It’s been less than a week since WordPress 5 has been released. Anecdotal reports indicate there are many successful upgrades. But I am also aware of many sites that have experienced issues. After looking at these issues, I discovered six things that may help a smooth update.
- Make sure PHP is updated to latest version
- Update all plugins to latest version
- Decide whether to use Classic Editor or Gutenberg Editor
- Create a back up
- Decide whether to stage or not
- Cache and performance plugins may need a visit
- Be Prepared
1. Update PHP Version
PHP is the scripting language that powers WordPress and all the themes and plugins associated with WordPress. Using an outdated version could cause conflicts that result in a buggy experience.
Most plugins, themes and WordPress itself will run with a minimum of PHP 5.6 as they are backward compatible. But you can’t count on software to be backward compatible.
The best approach is to use the version of PHP that a software is designed to run best with. That way you can rule out a random bug related to using an old version of PHP.
Upgrading to the latest PHP will speed up your site.
It is also more secure. Security updates for PHP 5.6 are ending in December. That means PHP 5.6 will become a security liability.
2. Update Plugins
Updating plugins is always a good practice. However it is especially important now. Many WordPress plugin authors are currently releasing new versions that will be compatible with WordPress 5.
Updating your plugins first contributes to a more bug free update to WordPress 5.
3. Use the Classic WordPress Editor or Gutenberg?
If you like the way WordPress currently works, choose the Classic Editor. If you want to try the new and reportedly easier Gutenberg editing experience then go with that.
I’ve read reports here and there of random bugs when using the Gutenberg editor.
You can always revert back to the Classic Editor if the Gutenberg editor is misbehaving. Downloading the official WordPress Classic Editor plugin seems to have solved issues of the few bug reports I’ve seen related to Gutenberg.
4. Create a Back Up of Your WordPress Site
Creating a back up is always a good idea. Ideally, you should already be doing this. But if you’re not, then consider creating a back up of your site before upgrading to WordPress 5.0