Upgrading to WordPress v5.0

How to upgrade to WordPress 5.0 without breaking your site

WordPress 5.0 has arrived, some dread it while others welcome it. This article teaches you how to update your WordPress website to the latest version without breaking it.

For many fully managed WordPress host, your WordPress website is usually automatically updated to the latest version within weeks of release. However, as this is a super major update, you might want to check with your host to see how they are planning to update your site for you.

For example, for most major WordPress updates, Flywheel will usually start updating your site automatically to the latest WordPress version within 2 weeks of a release. Due to the scale of this update, Flywheel has pushed back the automatic update to late January. The same also applies if your website is hosted on Flywheel through us.

There is a very big change to the WordPress editor in this version and we want to ensure that you and your website are prepared for the upgrade.

The question now is, are you handling your website maintenance yourself or is an agency doing that for you? Note that there’s a difference between hosting and website maintenance. If you are paying for hosting or hosting maintenance, it doesn’t mean that website maintenance is covered.

For example, we offer Flywheel hosting through us but we also offer hosting and website maintenance in the form of WordPress Care Packages. Hosting is just the house that your website lives in and you can either care for the house and website yourself or hire someone else to do it.

Question: Are you handling your WordPress maintenance yourself or is an agency doing that for you?

If you are handling the website maintenance yourself, ...

The below might seem like a lot at first, but if you frequently update your theme and plugins, this would not be a chore at all.

If you have not updated your theme and plugins for quite some time (within one month), there is a high chance that your themes and plugins are not compatible with the new Gutenberg editor in WordPress 5.0.

The following steps are necessary to ensure that your website continues to work well for your business.

  1. Backup your website. If you are using a managed WordPress host, your website most probably has automatic backup performed periodically. For Flywheel, your website is backed up daily.
  2. Make sure you have not made any change to your website since the backup.
    Create New Backup Button on Flywheel's Dashboard

    Flywheel’s Button to Create a New Backup

    If you have posted a new article or product etc., perform the backup again. For managed WordPress hosting, you can perform the backup with the click of a button.

  3. Update your theme to the latest version, if you have not done so.
  4. Update your plugins to the latest version, if you have not done so. Please do not update the plugins blindly. The general rule of thumb when updating a plugin is to view its changelog and support forum while taking note of the following.
    • Beware of any plugin that has not been updated within the last one year. It is time to find a new alternative for security reason.
    • Beware when a plugin introduces a new feature. If two weeks have already past since the introduction, it should be safe since any bug is usually fixed as soon as possible.
    • If other users feedback on their websites breaking after updating a plugin, it might be wise to hold on the update and wait for a fix.
WooCommerce Changelog Tab

Changelog tab in the popup from clicking on “View version x.x.x details”

WooCommerce Support Tab

Support tab on the plugin’s WordPress.org Plugin Page

After you have completed the above, your website is ready for the update to WordPress 5.0!

When your managed WordPress host has upgraded your website to that latest WordPress version, check that your website is functioning as expected.

If you want to switch back to the classic editor of WordPress due to the theme or plugins’ incompatibility with Gutenberg editor, you can follow the steps here at “How to switch to the Classic Editor?“.

If an agency is handling the website maintenance for you, ...

If someone is handling your website maintenance for you, it will be a breeze. You just need to check with them that they will be testing and preparing your website for WordPress 5.0 update.

Then once your managed WordPress host upgraded your website, you just need to check that everything is working as expected and smooth out any issue that arises with your agency or freelancer.

Good Luck!

Ong Jie Ying (Jane)

Jane is the co-founder of OOPIX Web Design. She has more than five years of experience in designing and developing WordPress websites.

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