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WordPress 5.0 is here, code named “Bebo” after Cuban Jazz master Bebo Valdés. WP 5.0 is a major update, with an all new editor named “Gutenberg”, which is a massive revamp of the default editing experience. 5.0 also saw the release of a brand new default theme called Twenty Nineteen which is fully Gutenberg compliant, and has plenty of room for customization.

As a major upgrade, it could be a little bit scary to do the updates, but it’s very important that you keep your WordPress website up to date with the latest versions. We’ve put together a small guide for how to update to WordPress 5.0 safely, and we’ve added some specific instructions for our customers who also use a custom Divi Child Theme from us.

What’s new in WordPress 5.0?

WordPress 5.0 has an all new editor, and it’s super powerful.  If we’ve built a website for you in the last three years, it was built on the Divi foundation, the new WordPress has a similar block editor (we’ll have some details on why we are sticking with Divi for now later in this post).

Introducing WordPress 5.0 "Bebo"

The team at iThemes wrote up a great post on the new features of WordPress 5.0 which I’m going to quote right here.

What’s New in WordPress 5.0: The Gutenberg Editor, Blocks & New Default Theme

  • NEW! Totally Redesigned Editor for Posts/Pages – WordPress 5.0 introduces the Gutenberg WordPress Editor, a major change to the post and page editor, so you’ll immediately notice an overhaul to your post/page editor screen. The new Gutenberg WordPress Editor replaces the classic WordPress editor, so this update is a very significant change in the way you edit posts and pages in WordPress.

  • NEW! Content Blocks – The Gutenberg Editor is built on the concept of blocks. With blocks, you’ll have more flexibility with how content is displayed. Dozens of blocks are included by default (Paragraph, Heading, Quote, Image, Gallery, Cover, Video, Audio, Columns, Code, List, Button, etc.). Learn more about all the new WordPress Gutenberg Blocks for your content here.

  • NEW! New Default Theme, Twenty Nineteen – WordPress 5.0 introduces a new default theme that shows off the power of the new editor. Twenty Nineteen features custom styles for the blocks available by default in 5.0. It makes extensive use of editor styles throughout the theme so what you can create in your content editor is what you see on the front of your site.

  • Additional enhancements and features for developers in WordPress 5.0

Step 1: Back Up Your Current WordPress Site

We recommend All In One WP Migration. If anything goes wrong, this is the quickest and easiest way to reset everything to the base level. This is making a full backup of your entire site, the database, all of the files, and the full configuration. With this we can move it somewhere else, or simply restore it back to its original state.

Step 2: Install and Test in a Staging Environment

We like to use Local by FlyWheel to create a local version of the website. Once we’ve created a site, we’ll restore it from the All in One WP Migration backup.

Step 3: Update all plugins and themes (on test site)

It’s really important that before you update to WordPress 5.0 that you update all of your plugins and your themes. This will ensure that you have the latest version of everything, and will reduce the possibility of issues happening after you upgrade.

Step 4: Update to WordPress 5.0 (on test site)

Once you’ve updated all of your files, it’s time to do the update. This shouldn’t take more than a couple of minutes, and afterwards you’ll get a notice that it has been completed.

Step 5: (for Divi users only) Enable the Classic Editor for Divi

Most websites we build use the Divi Framework, if you’re using this, you will have the best results with the classic editor.  Luckily this is easy to enable by clicking on  Divi > Theme Options > Builder > Advanced. The classic editor uses the same TinyMCE editor that you will be familiar with.

Step 6: Test your site

Make sure that all of your pages and posts are working, that the site still looks the same, and that everything works as it did before the upgrade. If it does, then you’re ready for the final step!

Step 7: Repeat Steps 3, 4, and 5 on live site

Once you’ve verified that the website works as designed, simply repeat steps 3, 4, and 5 on the live site before testing the live site thoroughly.

We have updated about a dozen websites since WordPress 5.0 was released, and we haven’t had any problems so far.

If you’d like some help getting your site updated, simply contact us for a quote and we can help you out.

NorthIQ has decided to stick with the Divi framework for the time being because it is very robust and gives us a ton of customization options that we can configure for our clients to enable them to “set it and forget it” when it comes to their websites. We will continue experimenting with the new Gutenberg editor, and when we can lock down some more settings with Gutenberg, we will transition fully to the new editor.