Although there were various plans to release WordPress 5.0 for whole last year, the first official release date was 19th November 2018. Thankfully it was already pushed to 27th November 2018, and many across WP community hope it will be pushed to secondary planned date in January 2019. Update: release date is set to 6th December 2018
Whenever release will happen don’t rush to update, if you really care about your site being fully available.
What comes with WordPress 5.0
The main focus of the new version is to add a new default Editor instead of the current one. If you have spent most of the time playing with visual page builders, like Elementor for example, then you might not even be aware of how it looks. See the screenshot below.
Since WordPress 5.0 there will be a new editor that will try to make creating websites even easier, as it aims to be more of a page builder then just simple editor for paragraphs, headings, and images.
That should improve the usability of WordPress for users that don’t intend to use Page builder plugins.
Another thing that new WordPress should bring is compatibility with upcoming PHP 7.3 which is great.
Why you shouldn’t rush with an update to WordPress 5.0?
Although new editor is being in development for over 2 years now, many people from WordPress community thinks that it is still not ready for the general public of WordPress and that its release is rushed. People are reporting experiencing accessibility issues, problems with typical workflows that they were used to with old editor or even content losses.
What is more, this update changes a lot under the hood of WordPress to make new editing experience available. Although WordPress developers are doing what is in their powers to keep backward compatibility just working, changes are just too broad to be sure everything will be alright with your website after an update.
Big players, like Yoast, Elementor or WooCommerce have dedicated developers that are in charge of keeping their product up to date with every new version of new Gutenberg editor(and by this with WordPress 5.0). However, there are much more single-developer plugins/themes out there then big players, and many of those could be abandoned for a long time, or their developers just don’t have time/skill/ another resource to update their product. There is a huge chance that you could be using such plugin/theme.
What is more, current API of Gutenberg editor is changing so often, that many developers wait till WordPress 5.0 will be released in its final form, to not waste their time with trying to catch up with latest changes.
To say it clearly – updating to WordPress 5.0 is not the typical update that you may be used to. It could be breaking change in some aspects.
How to do it safely?
As I have already said, developers of WordPress 5.0 are aware of all possible issues and that transition to new WordPress can be problematic for many. That is why there is a callout to install Classic Editor plugin if you are not sure if you are site will work, or you just wish to keep the old way of editing your posts/pages.
Although this plugin will solve some of the possible issues, there is still a chance that it issues and conflicts can happen.
Because of that you should check all you are active plugins changelogs and look there for entries about Gutenberg compatibility or WordPress 5.0 readiness. Same for your theme.
However, highest risk plugins/theme are those that modify current WordPress Editor.
Another good idea is to test the newest update on the staging server if your hosting company is providing one. There you can use a current copy of your website, update it to newest WordPress and check if the site is acting correctly. This is a great tool for every big or small change that you try to do to your making-money website. If you are looking for any of such hosting you can check our review of Kinsta.
How to find plugins themes changelogs?
Usually, you can find changelogs of plugins in plugins menu in your WordPress. There use View details link and switch to Changelog tab. There should be listed most recent changes. Full changelog should be available in plugins files in a file named like changelog.txt.
As for themes, there is currently no function to display it in the admin area, so the best way is to Google phrase “Your-theme-name WordPress theme changelog”.
Who shouldn’t update
If you are stuck with any plugin or theme that you didn’t update for a long time, or you just can’t update it, you should probably stay at WordPress 4.9.8. There is a chance that there will be new versions of WordPress 4.9.X branch if there will be any security fixes, so you should stay safe.
However, if possible, you should plan to change your “blocker” plugin/theme to a similar product that is actively maintained. Because even if WordPress will be fixed for safety, not updated 3rd party plugins or theme may have their own loopholes.
Update: How everything looks after 5.0 release?
It seems awareness of possible problems with WordPress 5.0 is getting strong among users, as many of you look up such topics. With the release of WordPress 5.0 users that switched to a new block, editor reported huge performance issues, which lead to WordPress 5.0 being slower than 4.9.8, which was confirmed in Kinsta benchmarks for new PHP 7.3. Cite from the linked article:
However, the most interesting result is that WordPress 4.9.8 is faster than WordPress 5.0. This doesn’t surprise us too much as the entire WordPress 5.0 project has been rushed.
After verison 5.0 we were promised small updates in 2 weeks, however, version 5.0.1 was released just 1 week after 5.0 to solve some security issues. These issues were not connected to new Block editor, so same fixes were introduced in version 4.9.9 for branch 4.9 of WordPress. Because of this security updates, everything that was planned for 5.0.1 was shifted to 5.0.2.
On December 19th, 2018 WordPress 5.0.2 was released and it tried to address performance issues. WordPress core developers reported huge speed gain for websites using the new block editor, however in Kinsta repeated tests for version 5.0.2 and PHP 7.3 it seems that the new version is slower then 5.0!
What is more, the new version also brings breaking changes, that forced 2 very popular plugins, WooCoommerce and NextGEN Gallery, to release hot fixes. If such huge plugins sufferes from this update, it is very likekly other plugins will have smaller & bigger issues as well.
Unfortuntely those that pay the highest price are users that try to stay up to date and developers that invested a lot of time to be compatible with new block editor, yet still with each new versions of block editor they get new breaking changes.
All of this right before Christmas, when WordPress community usually rest and accumulate strength for next year.
What about Apollo13Themes?
All Themes build on Apollo13 Framework will work fine with WordPress 5.0. These are:
- Rife Free
- Rife Pro
- Starter by Apollo13Themes(there are many themes named Starter).
- Agency by Apollo13Themes(there are many themes named Agency).
As for Apollo13 Framework Extensions plugin, that is companion plugin for above listed themes, it is ready for WordPress 5.0.
Same for our Rife Elementor Extensions & Templates – it works fine with the upcoming WordPress update.
We have some themes that were released in the past on ThemeForest that are long time discontinued and no longer maintained. For any user of such theme, we advise to move to Rife Free Theme, or any other actively maintained theme.
This whole article is just a warning for you to not be “test subject” in the newest update. My advice to you is to wait a few weeks after WordPress 5.0 is released before doing any move.
If you are using page builder for creating content on your website, then you will still be able to use it with next WordPress version – don’t worry about it.
I hope that transition will be smooth for everyone, and we will only benefit from upcoming version when it is fully ready.