I have been using the beta version of WordPress 5.0 on my testing server to gain some experience with the new editor (Gutenberg). WordPress 5.0 was officially released on 06 December. What follows is my first impressions of WordPress 5.0.

Knowing that upgrading the websites that we manage to WordPress 5.0 was a foregone conclusion, we decided to use our own website as the test bench. We followed the recommendations of Elegant Themes to update the DIVI theme and page builder before installing WordPress 5.0. In addition to DIVI, we updated all the other plugins as well. With everything updated, we created a backup of the website (just in case).

With the backup created and stored offsite, we hit the Upgrade button. The WordPress 5.0 installation went smoothly. One thing we noticed was a recommendation to update the database. The database update recommendation was a little confusing. All it does is check for the Gutenberg plugin and remove it. The reasoning for this check is that Gutenberg is now part of the core software.

WordPress 5.0 updated OK


We were now running onWordPress 5.0.

The front end still worked as before and displayed properly.

A quick look around the backend revealed a few surprises. There were some issues with the Divi page builder. For example, on several occasions, the page builder failed to load. This caused a little panic because we needed the page builder to edit our posts and pages. There were also some issues with the Advanced Custom Fields (ACF) plugin. Some ACF fields didn’t display properly. Finally, we also had an issue with our caching plugin (W3 Total Cache). We removed W3 Total Cache and installed WP Super Cache instead.

Minor Updates Needed

Elegant Themes quickly released updates to their DIVI theme and plugin that fixed the earlier problems. The authors of ACF and W3 Total Cache are still working on making their plugins compatible with WordPress 5.0.

Shortly after the official release of WordPress 5.0, rumblings started concerning security issues with the new version. These rumblings quickly led to the release of version 5.0.1. This latest update fixed the seven security issues discovered.

As things settled and we worked with the latest versions of WordPress and Divi, we felt we were ready to update some of our less complex websites. These updates all went well. We even updated some of our wooCommerce backed websites. They also worked. We did not update our more complex websites because we want to conduct more testing.

Our Recommendations

Upgrading a WordPress website to version 5.0 requires some planning. Test upgrading your website on a testing server before launching the update on your live server. First, update all your themes and plugins. Then, make a backup of your website and store it offsite. With WordPress 5.0 installed on your testing server, run an extensive check of your website for functionality. Fix any issues found. The fixes may require waiting for your theme and plugin authors to release WordPress 5.0 compatible versions. You may have to change your theme and plugins altogether.

Our first impressions of WordPress 5.0 are that the core software is pretty solid. There are some issues with some themes and plugins, but they should be addressed rather quickly. This is especially true for the companies with programmers and developers on staff. It may take individual theme and plugin authors a little more time to update their software. We don’t recommend blindly updating to WordPress 5.0 without testing.

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