The long awaited WordPress 5.0 “Bebo” also known as the Gutenberg update is finally here! No, we are not taking about the German guy who invented the printing press in the 1400s. Unlike all the previous WordPress updates where there were security patches and minor feature updates applied, this update provides users with a block-based editor and the introduction of the Twenty Nineteen theme tailored for Gutenberg for a more intuitive site building experience. It also allows WordPress to better compete with website builders like Wix and Squarespace.
It’s been a few weeks and now that bugs have been reported, patched and tested, WordPress 5.0.2 is available. It is crucial to test all plugins as they may not be immediately compatible. Some plugins will inevitably become obsolete from not being maintained so testing this update is definitely not optional. When the time comes, we recommend backing up your WordPress files and database and testing the updates on a staging server or subdomain before deploying it. This is the biggest update since custom post types so this is definitely not an update where you want to hold your breath and click “update”.
The Twenty Nineteen theme is a no-frills theme designed to work with the Gutenberg editor. There is nothing special about this theme and likely you will still want to use some kind of website builder or custom theme to create and maintain your website.
Eventually, WordPress 4.9x will no longer be maintained so you will be forced to update to keep your WordPress website secure. Once you do, you will no longer have access to the classic editor. If you still want to use the Classic editor, you can install the Classic Editor plugin which allows you to toggle between the Classic and block-based editor. If you are using Divi, you will have to update it as well and “enable the classic editor” to continue using the Divi editor. If you are using another WordPress website builder, you should check first that it will play nice with Gutenberg. If not, you definitely want to hold off or you may need to rebuild your website altogether.
We have updated about ten WordPress sites so far and none of them were without their issues. Most of them were solved by reinstalling or disabling incompatible plugins or installing the Classic editor because the Gutenberg editor would not play nice with old themes rendering those websites uneditable. Be sure to reinstall plugins like Contact Form 7 and Google recaptcha because older versions won’t work. Also, you will need to regenerate new keys for your recaptcha to work.
If you continue to have trouble with WordPress, please reach out to our San Francisco web development team. Yes, it will cost you money, but your results may be a lot better than trying to patch together a solution yourself. Your WordPress website is like your iPhone. If you continually ignore OS and app updates, your phone will eventually crap out.