Urgent WordPress 5.0 Gutenberg Update Warning

UPDATE: Release Date is December 6th

If you have a website based on WordPress, please consider this a MUST-READ.

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What is Gutenberg in WordPress 5.0?

Gutenberg in WP 5 is the new post/page editor. This is a visual editor that replaces the traditional post/page editing experience, and it’s going to completely change the way you use WordPress (for better or worse).

Other changes are coming in WP 5.0 as well, such as the new Twenty Nineteen theme and a variety of other bug fixes. However, for anyone that runs a website using WordPress, the important part that you need to know about is the new Gutenberg editor.

WordPress has released a handbook for the new Gutenberg editor that you can read here: WordPress 5.0 Gutenberg Handbook

Why is it a big deal if my site automatically updates to WP 5.0?

If your site is not prepared for the 5.0 update and it automatically upgrades on its own (which most hosting accounts are configured to do), it can potentially cause irreversible damages to your site. The reason why is that version 5 and specifically the Gutenberg editor is going to break a lot of existing themes and plugins that you currently use on your websites.

Once that update happens, if you use a theme or plugins that are not compatible, it can potentially cause all kinds of issues with your site. Once WordPress updates to the Gutenberg editor, you will not be able to undo those changes either, which is why it is critical to take action before this update happens to ensure your sites are safe.

In addition to that, there are new features with Gutenberg that will likely add content to your live website without you doing anything. Nobody likes waking up to see that their live websites have changed on their own, but that is exactly what is going to happen to all WordPress site owners if they do not take action immediately.

Website Hosting matters with WordPress 5.0 Coming

Unfortunately, a lot of website hosts are not preparing their customers for WP 5.0 and Gutenberg release impacts. They’re also not telling you that this update can cause irreversible changes and potential damage to all WordPress sites if they are not properly prepared.

You need to check with your hosting company to determine that you are 100% prepared for the upcoming Gutenberg update:

  • All automatic major version updates for WordPress are disabled.
  • All accounts should be automatically backed up on NOW to be safe. In the event that anything goes wrong on your sites, you should be able to restore to the pre-Gutenberg state.

What to do TODAY.

You need to make a decision for each of your WordPress sites and take action immediately. The release was due today, November 27th but is always subject to change. You need to decide if you want to allow your sites to update to version 5.0 or not. You also need to decide if you want to use Gutenberg if you’re going to update to version 5.0.

Ultimately, if you have used a theme or ANY plugins that make changes to the WordPress editor and/or your live page content, you should NOT use WordPress 5.0 to be safe and if you do use it, do NOT use Gutenberg.

In all cases, you should make a backup of all of your websites on or before November 27th to be safe. This is the ONLY way to revert WordPress 5.0 upgrade changes after they happen, so this is the ONLY 100% guaranteed way to protect your sites.

If You Do NOT Want WordPress 5.0

  1. Never manually update WordPress (Dashboard -> Updates).
  2. Ensure automatic major version updates are disabled on your hosting account for all WordPress installations. The exact instructions vary from one hosting company to the other.

If You Want WordPress 5.0 without Gutenberg:

  1. In WordPress, go to Plugins -> Add New. Search for the ‘Classic Editor’ plugin and install and activate it. This disables Gutenberg when your site updates to version 5.0. However, this adds a setting to the Settings -> Writing page in WordPress for the classic editor – if this setting gets changed to enable the ‘Block editor’, the Gutenberg will get enabled anyways (just leave the setting alone).
  2. After that plugin is installed, you can manually update to WordPress 5.0 or allow the automatic update to occur.

If You Want WordPress 5.0 with Gutenberg:

  1. You have to ensure that the theme and all plugins you are using on the site are updated to a new version that is stated to be compatible with WordPress 5.0. If any of your site software isn’t compatible, you should avoid this update (you could make a backup of your sites and attempt it anyways to see what happens, since you roll back the site with the backup).
  2. Starting on or about November 27, 2018, you can manually update to 5.0 or allow the automatic update to happen if it is enabled on your hosting account.

UPDATE
The final changeover date is still fluid, but it is imminent. Do not ignore this or get to it when you have the time this weekend. Make this a priority now, or you could be caught in a big mess with your website

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

BLUEHOST (my recommended host) webinar recording about Gutenberg

iThemes Guide to Gutenberg

Many of my private clients have decided to take advantage of my services to get their site backed-up and the Classic Editor installed. I am constantly monitoring and testing plugins, themes and integrations with other services to understand the impact. If you need some help, call me or email me soon.