Urgent Need to Update Your WordPress Website before the
Release of WordPress 5.0 – Here’s the Reason Why!
If you haven’t heard already, big changes are coming to the world of WordPress, your website’s Content Management System (CMS).
WordPress 5.0, the next major update, brings significant changes to the back-end editor (Gutenberg) of your website. Gutenberg, will significantly change the way website content (text, titles, photos, videos, etc.) are organized, formatted, and managed in the editor.
A few weeks ago, WordPress announced the Gutenberg editor is to be included in WordPress version 5.0 – due to be released by the end of the Summer.
How does this affect your website?
As with any new software update, there is the potential for incompatibility issues. Think Windows XP to Windows 7. With the release of version 5.0 there is the potential for incompatibility with the content editor in your current version of WordPress, the theme used, and plugins.
Our recommended strategy is to take some important steps now to minimize the possibility of the new editor interfering with your website's functionality.
To prepare your website today, WordPress needs to be brought up-to-date to the most recent version. This will allow the installation of Disable Gutenberg, a plugin designed to prevent the new editor from interfering with your current website's content editor.
What should you do to prepare?
First, don’t panic. Taking a few precautions prior to the release of 5.0 will help ensure your website continues to operate uninterrupted today, and better prepare it for an eventual upgrade to version 5.0.
1. If you have a Managed WordPress site with auto update for WordPress enabled, this feature should be turned off immediately. To disable auto update, contact your website hosting provider.
a. In some cases, the Managed WordPress server may not allow the auto-update to be disabled. Therefore, updating to latest version will allow the installation of the Disable Gutenberg plugin and create a local backup so there will be a way to restore the site and disable the new Gutenberg editor – should this be required.
b. The host companies are well aware of the challenge, and we assume they have a plan, but better to be safe than sorry.
2. Update your WordPress website and create a backup before the end of the Summer. Install and activate the Disable Gutenberg plug-in.
Unrelated to the release of version 5.0, there are two additional changes happening in the world of websites that require action:
- In May, the European Union announced a new privacy regulation dubbed, General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). If your website has a form on it which can potentially be filled out by a European resident, then you must comply, even if you don’t do business in Europe. There are new features in the most recent version of WordPress that help with GDPR compliance.
- Google recently announced that any website that does not have an SSL Certificate installed, will post a This Website is Not Secure message in the Chrome browser (or a similar message in other browsers), which will give any visitor pause before accessing your website.
Both of these realities provide additional reasons to invest in website maintenance now.
How can The Marketing Department help?
Because the change in the WordPress CMS is so significant, we are strongly encouraging all clients to update their websites to the most recent version as well as the theme and all plugins.
The maintenance update incorporates:
- Update WordPress to the most recent version (currently 4.9.7)
- Update all plugins to most recent releases
- Update theme to most recent release
- Add “I am Not a Robot” check box to all forms, to minimize SPAM
- Add “I am an EU Resident” check box to the bottom of the form for GDPR compliance
- Install the Disable Gutenberg plugin
- Create a local backup of the website once all components are up-to-date
Terms and Conditions
- Maintenance update described above can take up to 5 hours to perform. Websites with custom applications, large number of plugins, e-Commerce sites, or those that have not been brought up-to-date in many years could take longer.
- Prior to starting work on the website, we will review the current status and provide you with an estimate of the time required to upgrade the website.
- The strategies presented in this blog are based on the most up-to-date information on the pending release of WordPress version 5 and the anticipated impact of the new Gutenberg editor. Implementing this upgrade will not, in and of itself, guarantee your website will not in some way be impacted by the new Gutenberg editor or WordPress 5.0.
Risks of Not Taking Action Now
When you keep your theme, plugins and WordPress CMS up-to-date, they work in concert, ensuring your website looks and functions as it was intended. When any of these components is out-of-date, your website is at risk for design and functionality issues which could impact your business.
Should you choose to do nothing, your website and/or components of your website may experience serious complications due to Gutenberg, the new CMS editor. If your business relies on eCommerce or any custom integrations, your site may be at an even greater risk.
1.Higher costs of transitioning to version 5.0 because updating older versions will be more complex once version 5.0 is default version.
2. If you’re not paying attention to the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that took effect on May 25, 2018, you’re exposing your business to potentially significant non-compliance penalties. WordPress 4.9.6 and later include important privacy features that help with compliance.
3. With every major software release, website hosting companies update their servers to support the new versions, and eventually no longer support older versions of software. If your WordPress CMS version is very old, at some point it may no longer be supported by the host server.
Call today to schedule your website update before the new version goes into effect.