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WordPress 5.0: Update With Caution

Mike Schertenlieb

WordPress, the mostly widely used website platform around, has released a massive update to their editor… And it’s causing some trouble.

The new editor, generally referred to as Gutenberg (you know, like the printing press guy), is an effort to further simplify and streamline the user experience, and give people a better sense of what their posts and pages will look like upon publishing.

It’s got all sorts of handy features for embedding content, and allows for arranging page elements into a variety of blocks…

This is all great news, and will likely help folks of all skill levels make better, more engaging posts to their various WordPress sites… As long as it actually works.

See, the 5.0 update is one of the larger changes WordPress has made over their 15 year run, and during that decade and a half, millions of websites have been created with the mega-popular platform. Many, many of those sites, however, are using plugins and themes that haven’t been kept up to date by their respective developers – and that spells trouble for working with Gutenberg.

While plenty of plugins are being tested (there are over 60,000) by their authors, WordPress simply cannot test the editor updates with thousands of plugins that have been abandoned over the years. The same is true with themes.

So… What can you do about it?


To make sure you aren’t affected by these issues, you can take a variety of steps to be prepared for the inevitable update.

For each and every one of these, web developers, helpdesks, and various channels of support are your best friends. If it seems too technical, don’t hesitate to ask for help! The whole point is to keep your website functioning – and if start making changes without knowing what you’re doing… You might make it worse!

  • Set up a testing environment – This is essentially a second version of your website not accessible to the public. Here, you can test updates, whether that’s the 5.0 editor, plugins, or anything else, without taking down the public-facing version of your site.
  • Update PHP – Many, many websites are still using an old version of PHP, which can create conflicts with more modern plugins, themes, and so on – including WordPress 5.0. Contact your hosting company to check your PHP version!
  • Update your plugins and themes – As mentioned above, plenty of people are using out of date plugins and themes. Before you update WordPress, update all of your plugins and themes. If updates aren’t available, and haven’t been for some time, it might be time to find an alternative that’s more up to date!

Even after you take care of these things, it’s a good idea to test the update before you make it live!


You can also simply hold off on the update for a while…

If you aren’t ready to make a sweeping range of updates, are having trouble finding up-to-date alternatives for what you’re currently using, or have to wait for some support from your web team, you can just wait!

Eventually, you’ll want to be using the most current version of WordPress, but with all the trouble 5.0 is causing for some users, it might be the right move to give it a couple of months. New support is being rolled out all the time, with some predicted for mid-January 2019.

If you’re one of the people whose site was updated automatically (and subsequently broken), you can look into the Classic Editor Plugin to get things back to “normal.”

Not to sound like a broken record here… Test everything!

Go For It!

Last but not least, get the update!

If your PHP, themes, and plugins are all current, you’ve got backups in place, and an environment to test the update – have at it!

Despite the problems many people are experiencing, there are plenty of great new features that come with 5.0 – including the editor that’s causing all the trouble! Being able to create and manipulate blocks of content provides a whole new way to customize the look and feel of your site, and may inspire you to make further changes – and great new content!

Again, testing is key here, but if you think you’re good to go (and have talked to your web people about it), there’s no reason to wait.
Don’t let all the talk of trouble scare you away, just make sure you take the necessary steps to keep your website from breaking – and don’t hesitate to ask for help!

The team at LongerDays manages WordPress sites for clients every day – and we’d love to help you get up and running with 5.0. Give us a call to start building solutions!

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