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WordPress 5.0 And Gutenberg: Should You Update?

With two days of notice, WordPress is due to rolling out its biggest update, tomorrow on 6th December. It’s not just another update. The version 5.0 will come with a brand new writing interface, the Gutenberg Editor, which has made the WordPress community stand up and take notice of this release.

Much has been said about how this will affect your websites. The new Gutenberg editor uses Blocks as the core for editing, replacing the TinyMCE editor, which is what has been used so far since the inception of WordPress. While Blocks promise to allow you to experiment with page layouts, promising to make content editing more engaging (which they do very well!), it may also interfere with some plugins that rely heavily on the editor.

The WordPress community (including us) are not unanimously happy about the decision to release WordPress 5.0 with an advance notice of only 2 days. Several users feel that the upcoming WordCamp US (December 7, 8, 9) and the Christmas holidays will interrupt with their adoption of the new version. Gutenberg is going to change the editing experience in WordPress for good, but a release of this magnitude could be avoided at the time of the biggest WordCamp.

What you should do

The simple solution for you, whether you are an agency or a store owner is to wait till a version 5.0.1/2 is released, for things to stabilize and the initial bugs to be fixed. If your website uses only Tyche plugins, we have tested with WP 5.0 RC2 and RC3 and it has worked smoothly. But chances are that you use a combination of plugins for event the most basic of sites, and as store owners, you don’t want to risk a change of this scale during the peak season.

If, however, you still want to board the train, there is another option. Install the Classic Editor, which will be available as a plugin till December 2021 at the very least. This will, for a while, treat the 5.0 update as any other update and allow for the older editing experience to continue as is.

If you are using WooCommerce, it is important that you update to the latest version of WooCommerce (3.5.1) before updating to WordPress 5.0. You can learn more about it here.

If you have a developer who manages your website and online store, contact them. But if you have been winging it with WordPress, be it as a blog or CMS, you may want to take certain steps.

  1. Take a backup of all data before December 6, 2018
  2. Install the Classic Editor plugin, so that the new update will not cause the predicted changes
  3. If you are willing to wait before you update to the new version, make sure your WordPress site is not on auto-update. To disable automatic WordPress updates: add define( ‘AUTOMATIC_UPDATER_DISABLED’, true ); to your wp-config.php file. Read more about it here.

Change is coming, and for the large part, it looks like an interface that is much better & will open up a lot of opportunities for WordPress. However, we want to make sure we proceed with that change with minimal impact on your existing sites.

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Paul Foraker
Paul Foraker
2 years ago

According to the Codex https://codex.wordpress.org/Configuring_Automatic_Background_Updates major updates like this are not automatic.

DLH
DLH
2 years ago

Thank you for the email and this blog. I have done as you suggested and stopped the automatic updates thru wp-config and also installed classic editor. I really have to wonder about the timing of this. With so many ecommerce sites, who would want to make major updates to their store right in the middle of the height of the Christmas Shopping season. To make major changes, such as wordpress is doing, in December is ridiculous – as well as any plugin author making major updates at this time. January is the time to do such things – or October… Read more »

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