If you hadn’t noticed, December is usually a notorious time for WordPress folks. Apart from the excitement for WordCamp US, we have to contend with major WordPress updates (Gutenberg editor, anyone?) That’s right, just before the holiday season!

The Release Date

This year, however, was particularly controversial. On December 3rd, 2018, it was announced quite suddenly that the often delayed WordPress 5.0 rollout along with the infamous Gutenberg editor was due – in just 3 days. On 6th December 2018, WordPress 5.0 and Gutenberg editor was to be released. Apart from these PHP 7.3 was also going to be released on the same day.

The WordPress Community

In the ensuing panic, everyone in the tight-knit WordPress came together to voice their concerns. It was high-charged moment since many of the WordPress developers, agencies and even website owners were traveling to WordCamp Nashville at the exact same time. They were in for quite a shock just as their planes landed. Needless to say, you can imagine the frenzy that various WordPress website owners and creators were in. Some even questioned the future of WordPress!

WordPress 5.0 “Bebo”

On the day of the release, everyone sat close to their laptops, waiting with bated breath to see what would happen next. Some brave WordPress users soldiered on, most with backups and even staging their sites.

If you are still worrying about Gutenberg, or have no idea what’s happening, don’t worry! Buckle up, because we are going to take you through the bumpy rollercoaster ride that the last few days were, for all of us. You’ll be up to speed about everything in no time at all.

What’s going on?

Everyone has worked their blood, sweat, and tears into the creation and maintenance of their precious websites. It was understandable that many were worried about their websites breaking right around the time, they wouldn’t be available for their visitors and/or their clients. Even as the storms of denial, frustration, and fear raged on, the WordPress community held on together to tide over the situation. WordPress, after all, is an extremely popular CMS and hosts more than 25% of the internet.

December 6th dawned. Everyone was asking each other, and themselves the all-important question: Are you going to upgrade? Will you be disabling the WordPress update? On the day of the release, one could hear the collective sigh of relief from around a quarter of the web. As with any new product or upgrade, however, there was an air of wariness.

WordPress Core is regularly updated and that’s a good thing. What’s different this time?

In one word – Gutenberg.

It is true that there have been 9 major WordPress releases during the month of December previously. But this was the first time a major change was coming to the editing experience.

Say Hello to the New Editor screenshot of Gutenberg editor.

Say Hello to the New Editor

What is Gutenberg?

You might be wondering what a German-sounding word has got to do with WordPress. You are not wrong in thinking that you’ve heard the term somewhere. (Fun fact: WordPress Gutenberg is named after the inventor of the printing press, Johannes Gutenberg.) WordPress Gutenberg is the new block-based text editor available in the latest WordPress update. Here are some of the editor’s features which were touted as its biggest advantages, which puts it on par with the Medium, or Wix-like editing experience.

  • Minimalist editing space
  • Mobile-friendly
  • Custom blocks
  • Ease of Use

In fact, the Gutenberg plugin has been around for a long time, July 2017, to be exact.

Try it out here.

So, why was there such a huge outcry? Turns out, there were some issues with the editor. There were many bugs that still required fixing. This led to many accessibility problems. Backward compatibility with custom posts, meta boxes, fields, forms, etc. also suffered.


How was the WordPress community reacting?

Here are a few examples of the various reactions that one of the most supportive and helpful communities on the internet was showing, in response to WordPress 5.0, specifically, the Gutenberg editor,

Unwilling to welcome change

Unhappy with the timing


Unhappy with the short notice

But Matt Mullenweg refuted this claim.

Disappointed with the number of bugs still persisting

However, many WordPress users were also looking forward to the release.

Overall, everyone preferred to err on the side of caution.

Even web hosting providers delayed their updates, just in case.

How did everyone handle the WordPress 5.0 release?

Given the short notice, everyone was surprised. Seasoned WordPress users immediately made sure to backup their site, and update their websites in a staging environment first. Only when everything was working according to their taste, did they actually go ahead with the testing and actual update. For a large majority, there were no immediate issues, websites were still intact even after upgrading; these people were more at ease. WordPress updates don’t work the same way for everyone, due to website customizations.

Unfortunately, that was not the case for everyone. For quite a few, their websites broke. The accessibility options or lack thereof confused many. It was found out that Gutenberg still had many bugs which affected custom-made websites in various ways. This was the reason many refused to even update. Some others preferred to upgrade for the safety of their site but disabled Gutenberg by installing the Classic Editor plugin or migrating to the ClassicPress CMS. ClassicPress grew in prominence especially during this time, since it helped users retain their classic WordPress editor.

The Bad

The Good

Even as the first casualties made their frustrations known, an overwhelming number of WordPressians heaved a huge sigh of relief because their websites didn’t break.

Questions you might have about WordPress 5.0

Is my website compatible with WordPress 5.0?

You will have to check with your themes and plugin developers if they are compatible with WordPress 5.0 before you update. Postpone updating depending on your web host suggestions and advice as well.

Are BlogVault and MalCare compatible with WordPress 5.0?

Yes, absolutely.

Should I update my website?

Keeping your entire website up-to-date is a very important aspect of its security. Core WordPress update is especially important for better website security.

Can I continue using WordPress Classic Editor and upgrade to WordPress 5.0?

Yes, you can install the Classic Editor plugin to revert your WordPress editor to the Classic Editor, after updating your website to WordPress 5.0.

Gutenberg logo.

Gutenberg logo

How was your experience with Gutenberg? Are you waiting? Have you backed up and tested your site already? Let us know if we can help with the safety and security of your website.

 

Don’t forget: Backup and stage your site with BlogVault before you update!