Will WordPress 5 break your site in 2019?

WordPress 5.0, aka Gutenberg, is one of the most fundamental changes to the CMS in years. Find out if these changes could damage or even break your website.

Post by Jonathan Savage

Digital Marketing

With each update of WordPress, new features and functionality are introduced. WordPress 5.0 aka Gutenberg. Gutenberg however is a complete redesign and re-imagination of the WordPress editor. It replaces completely the classic editor with a new block-based editor. With such as fundamental change, it is not surprising that many site owners are concerned that their website might “break” when they upgrade. Find out what are the key risks when upgrading to WordPress 5.0 and what you can do to address them.

Whats new in WordPress 5.0

The key new features of WordPress 5.0 are:

  • The Gutenberg editor which allows you to insert and rearrange multimedia blocks
  • WordPress Rest APIs have been improved to help developers create more feature-rich products.

Broadly speaking WordPress 5.0 is a move by the core development team to make site building with WordPress a more intuitive experience. If successful it could help to take market share from Website Builders, like Wix, which many non-technical people currently prefer. Gutenberg could also eventually become a replacement for popular Page Builder plugins.

How WordPress 5.0 could break your website

WordPress 5.0 introduces a lot of new changes that could change the way content management systems (CMS) are used today. This also means some of the old functionality and processes may function differently or may not work at all.

This could have a huge impact on the way users currently use WordPress for their personal or business use. Here are some examples of how the new update could potentially break your site:

Unstable plugins

With the new update, major plugin developers have prepared their plugins in advanced to be compatible with this recent update. Unfortunately, many plugin developers don’t update frequently, or update at all, after first release leaving their plugin in an “outdated” state. With this in mind, if your plugin isn’t compatible with the newest update, then it will break your site if you attempt to install the new update and use your outdated plugins.

Solution

To prevent yourself from being affected, look for an alternative plugin which achieves the same functionality and is compatible with Gutenberg’s interface. This will let you continue developing your site without having to worry about compatibility issues or using an outdated plugin. Your new plugin will likely differ compared to your previous plugin, but it’s better than staying on an outdated plugin that isn’t supported by WordPress 5.0.

New Interface

Having a new interface is like trying out a new laptop; it has unfamiliar buttons, all your files arranged in new places and new software packages you’ve never used before.

When you first boot up Gutenberg, don’t be surprised if you feel a little lost. Formatting controls, as well as your plugin and widget settings, have been completely re-arranged. This will definitely come as a learning curve for some users. This also means your current workflow for composing and publishing posts may change.

The consequence is that you may end breaking your own site, because as you are not familiar with where everything is in regards to tools and settings, There may be high priority tools you need that could affect the maintenance or monitoring of your website. If these tools aren’t located in time, then again your site could break.

Solution

The simplest way of avoiding this is to simply familiarise yourself with the new interface and pick up a guide to learn the new features introduced in this update. This video guide from WPCrafter is an excellent place to start:

Markdown support

One of the features missing from the new update of WordPress is the lack of markdown support. With this, the user could type plain text in the WordPress editor which would convert this into simple HTML. Markdown provides an alternative way to create rich text documents. This often makes it more suitable to use than the editor on WordPress.

With this no longer supported, there will be a small but noticeable impact on the way the site is developed. This ties back to users needing to get used to the new interface. If they can’t use the editor as they were before, the code applied could easily affect how the site operates or displays.

Solution

This can be avoided by using the new generic WordPress block editor currently in place (which has its own learning curve). There are plans that in the future Markdown will be fully supported.

WordPress 5.0 New Interface

Conclusion

Make no mistake – WordPress 5.0 is a major update with significant consequences. Websites will inevitably break when they update. The solutions above will help to address some of the issues that are created but not all. If you have a problem that falls into the second category, we are here to help.

We provide WordPress 5.0 consultation and fixes. We can diagnose any potential issues and then deliver the best approach to remedy them. Get in contact here.

Get chatty 😂!