How to Upgrade to WordPress 5.0 (or any major version change) without Breaking Your Site

WordPress 5.0 just dropped a couple of days ago. This is one the biggest version changes in WordPress in a long time with the major change being in the writing interface, nicknamed Gutenberg.

Version 5.0 is NOT backwards compatible so if you use a theme, plugin or page builder that is not yet ready or built for version 5.0, your website is highly likely going to break or not display correctly.

So, here are a few steps you can follow before upgrading:

  1. Backup your current WordPress site. Of course this needs to be said for anytime before you update your site, but I know many people don’t do this until it’s too late. In this case, ensure you have backed up your WordPress site before making the major upgrade. There are plenty of great backup plugins and methods available. I like All-in-One WP Migration, UpdraftPlus or BackupBuddy.
  2. If you have a custom made/designed theme installed on your WP site, ask the original developer/designer if the design is ready for WP 5.0 before updating.
  3. Same goes for plugins, if you don’t have a huge amount of plugins you can check out the plugin developer’s website for news about compatibility and if unsure, just reach out to them to ask to clarify.
  4. Only once you know these elements are compatible with WP 5.0 (or whichever major update your updating to) and you have a proper backup saved (somewhere other than your web server I might add), then ensure you follow this order:
  5. Update your plugins & themes first (Before updating the core WP 5.0), this ensures everything you’re running is ready for 5.0 before you update to 5.0 (especially Woocommerce).
  6. Then update the core WordPress to 5.0
  7. Check for any compatibility issues
  8. That’s it!