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WordPress 5.0 was officially released on December 6th and is causing quite the ruckus with the integration of the new Gutenberg editor. You are probably asking yourself, “is there anything I need to know when updating to WordPress 5.0?” We’ve been watching this update carefully because the new editor had the potential to cause conflicts with the Divi Theme, which we have standardized our services on. We took the time to do some updates to find out what would happen and wanted to share those results, as well as a couple words of warning, with you.

Backup, Backup, Backup

We cannot stress enough how important backups are to this process. We did our first update with a lot of trial and error, and the ability to restore a backup was integral. For our clients who host with us on WPEngine, you have a built-in┬ábackup and restore system that will get your site back to where it was with the click of a button. However, if you are using a budget host, this process will take longer and you may want to consider hiring a support team. Regardless of which process you’re able to use, backing up your site before upgrading WordPress will prevent a lot of potential headaches.

WooCommerce

If you are running WooCommerce on your website, this is very important. Be sure to update WooCommerce to the newest release before updating WordPress. This will avoid known issues that are sure to break your store. Once updated, check your cart, checkout, and my account pages (any pages that use shortcodes), and make sure they are working. We found that some of these shortcodes had to be re-added to the pages in order to fix the display problems we found.

Remove Gutenberg

If you are using Divi, you don’t need to have both Gutenberg and Divi editors. In fact, having both can cause a lot of confusion on where you should edit each page. For our Divi users, we recommend disabling Gutenberg entirely. There are two ways to do this:

  1. Use a plugin – Go to the plugin directory and install Classic Editor. It’s the most used and highest rated plugin for disabling the Gutenberg builder. Once you activate it, you are all set to go.
  2. Add code – For those who prefer to limit their plugin usage, or are comfortable editing code, you can also remove Gutenberg by adding a line of code to your functions.php file. Digging into WordPress provides an excellent blog on what code to add, and how to either completely disable it, or disable it for specific post types only.

Check Any Custom Code

If you have any pages that use custom code, snippets, or shortcodes, be sure to give those pages a look over. We found that some of our code was converted and was no longer working as originally intended. This included the addition of break tags where there shouldn’t have been any and other tags that were no longer being recognized as CSS. This is where you may have to comb through your site with more attention to detail.

Plugins

At this point, you should be taking another backup of your site. You’ve updated WooCommerce, WordPress, and checked the site. If things are looking good, backup NOW! Once you have that backup, proceed with updating any plugins. We have not had any issues yet with plugin updates, but there are a lot of plugins still reporting as compatibility Unknown for WordPress 5.0. Some plugins stopped functioning with the WordPress update and had to be updated regardless of the compatibility displayed. Other plugins caused no issues at all both in their out of date and up to date form. Go slowly and check your site as you update and don’t be afraid to restore your backup, or take additional ones. You’ll be glad you did.

There’s still a lot to be discovered about how Gutenberg is going to play with other visual builders, including Divi. The developers at Elegant Themes are working hard to make sure that their product integrates seamlessly. This includes a new builder experience that we have not yet been able to test. Once we have experienced it more ourselves, we’ll update our readers with our own insights and take on it.

Help Updated to WordPress 5.0

We hope these insights have helped you understand what to expect when updating to WordPress 5.0. If you’d like help updating your site, give us a call at 612-787-7483. We can help you navigate this huge step in WordPress history without all the stress.