Will Updating to WordPress 5 Break My Site?

Will Updating to WordPress 5 Break My Site?

November 26, 2018 By Jake

You wake up and find out that when you WordPress site loads, it loads the dreaded “White Screen of Death”.  This may have happened to you before, if not, it may happen when WordPress 5.0 is released.  WordPress has an auto-update feature, which is a good thing for regular updates, but on major core updates, it can and will break your site. So be prepared.

WordPress 5 was scheduled for release on November 27th, but according to WordPress.org The WordPress 5.0 release date has shifted from the 27th to give more time for the RC to be fully tested. A final release date will be announced soon, based on feedback on the RC. This is a big release …”

This is not just a simple upgrade, but a major core upgrade. Updating your site without testing the upgrade first, will most likely, break your site and your visitors will get the dreaded “White Screen of Death”.  Our advice is to do regular backups of your site and turn off the auto-update feature for the WordPress core.  This way when it is released, you can create a testing environment to apply the update, where you can test and fix anything that does break.  When you are satisfied with the upgrade, then update the live site.

On a personal note, our policy is to start the testing environment immediately, but wait for the next update to 5.0, then apply that to the testing environment.  That should be released anywhere from 30-60 days after the first release and will include fixes for any major bugs that were not found in beta testing.

There are 2 methods to disabling the automatic core updates:

  1. Code: Edit the wpconfig.php file.  Instructions are here: Configuring Automatic Background Updates
  2. Plugin: Use a plugin like Easy Updates Manager

As for our clients, just this morning we turned off automatic updates of the core.  If you have any questions or comments contact us here.