WordPress 5.0 is here – what’s next?

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Thursday December 6th sees the much anticipated launch of WordPress 5.0, bringing with it Gutenberg, the single biggest update to using WordPress in as long as we can remember. We’re expecting this release to be an impactful event for thousands of our clients and as such have been planning for its release for quite some time. While today’s release was announced with just 48 hours warning, we’re still ready and excited to proceed. Depending on what platform you use to host your WordPress website with us, exactly how might differ.

WordPress Hosting

On our WordPress platform, we manage all of our client WordPress installations very carefully. Given the potential disruption to client sites and workflow, we’re taking a very careful approach to the deployment of WordPress 5.0. First and foremost, all sites on our WordPress Hosting will automatically be updated to WordPress 5.0 on Monday, December 10th.

Why the four day delay you might ask? Realistically we’re not comfortable with deploying a major release just before the weekend, especially so close to the holidays, when our staffing levels are slightly lessened. You should find your WordPress Hosting sites are automatically updated to the latest 5.x release as of early on Monday morning. Our team of WordPress experts will be on hand over email and the phone to answer any questions you might have.

As for Gutenberg, if you have the editor already installed, we will leave your hosting account as is. If you haven’t already installed and activated the Gutenberg plugin we will install and activate the Classic Editor plugin. This means that your current content writing and editing process will be preserved for the time being. You’re free to switch over to Gutenberg at any time of course, but we strongly encourage you to do so on your free staging area of the account first, to see how it impacts your website.

Existing Professional, Reseller, Business and Universal Hosting

We don’t proactively manage any software on these platforms. That means the move to WordPress 5.0 will be your choice. WordPress itself doesn’t auto update for major releases, so you’ll need to press the update button manually in your WordPress dashboard.

Again, we expect Gutenberg to be a significant update. The new editor is not quite complete and represents a significant change in terms of usability. If you’re not ready to make the switch to the new editor, we recommend that before you update to WordPress 5.0 you first install the Classic Editor plugin. This means that your site won’t be impacted by Gutenberg until you choose to make the leap. To install the WordPress Classic Editor plugin:

1) Login to your WordPress account at DOMAIN/wp-admin
2) Select Plugins from the left hand menu
3) Select “Add New” from the top of the screen
4) In the top right search field enter ‘classic editor’ and hit search
5) The plugin should appear first and looks like this:

6) Select Install Now followed by Activate

After that, you’re all set to upgrade your site to WordPress 5.0 and your post and page editing experience will remain as is.

All NEW installations of WordPress

After the WordPress 5.0 release on December 6th, any new WordPress installation you activate will be the vanilla installation of WordPress. That means whether you’re on Professional or WordPress Hosting, you will see the Gutenberg editor as standard. If you’re not ready to start with Gutenberg, you can of course install the Classic Editor as described in the steps above.

Gutenberg – what’s next?

At release we expect Gutenberg to work fine for most websites, and cause few if any actual errors. A huge amount of time from the WordPress core team has been poured into making the project a success. It does however still represent a massive departure from the existing approach to creating content, and there is an undeniable learning curve in making the transition. Again, given the timing, we are advising caution where possible.

Regardless of the hosting plan you use for your WordPress website, it’s worth keeping a very keen eye on the Gutenberg project in general. We will of course be paying close attention to its development and keep you posted via our blog on all major changes. We expect this to be the dominant way to interact with WordPress over time. As the weeks and months march on, it’s likely we will see many themes and plugins become Gutenberg only during 2019. Again, if you have our WordPress plan you can use the staging area to start testing Gutenberg now and get a handle on how Gutenberg works. If you’re not hosted on this platform, drop us a line and we will happily credit you three free months and handle your migration to the platform to get started!

Indeed, the ultimate plan for Gutenberg is for it to become an all-encompassing way to design your WordPress website from the ground up. The WordPress team envisage a future where the ‘block building’ methodology of Gutenberg is used as something of a drag and drop website builder. It’s a very interesting and exciting future to be sure!

All that said, the Classic Editor is expected to be actively maintained for a little while longer so there’s no immediate requirement to make the leap to Gutenberg. Again, if you have any major concerns, we do recommend using the Classic Editor for the interim, especially with the holiday period pending. If you have any questions at all, don’t hesitate to contact our team via support@34sp.com.

Tim Nash

Tim is a well known member of the WordPress community and a regular attendee of our local Manchester WordPress User Group as well as being a co-organiser of the WordPress Leeds user group (the oldest in the country). He is also an established speaker at WordCamps and tech conferences both in the UK and abroad.

2 Responses

    • Hi Fiona, We do daily backups of the site and database during the same maintenance period as the automatic updates, that said we always encourage clients to take their own backups as well.

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