Wordpress 5.0 Gutenberg Upgrades Are Failing and Crashing Websites

The long awaited wordpress 5.0 is finally here. Within 12 hours we started getting notified and called about failed wordpress 5.0 upgrades with the gutenberg editor. Just like any time you do an upgrade, you need to follow a set of protocols. Also, are you sure you want to upgrade just to get the new gutenberg editor. It takes the page editing to a new level, and is more complicated than the core editor your used to. You may lose some of that simplicity that you want with wordpress in the first place. When you set up your staging site, install the plugin for gutenberg and try it out first. If you dont like it you can stay at the latest version of WP 4.9+. They are not going to discontinue the 4.x.x series for quite a while.

Number 1 and foremost, never upgrade a live site, especially when it is a major core upgrade like this one. Always try it on a copy (called a staging area) of your website first. Yes, I know you have upgraded your WP many, many times without an issue. Well...this time its a different type of upgrade. Upgrade on a staging area first and save yourself possible and considerable down time. 

Number 2) Backup Your Website. We recommend akeeba backup. It is free and will back up your database and files so you can move your complete site to the staging area.

Number 3) Perform the incremental updates between your current version and wordpress 5.0. Those incremental upgrades will prepare your website with the files it needs for wp 5.0. Make a backup between each incremental update so you can revert if any of these fail.

Number 4) Server Compatibility. The basic requierments for workpress hosting have changed. You need to make sure you have the proper hosting environment. From our experience most sites are running on older versions of php and the new wordpress is not designed for those. It has to be PHP7+.
  • PHP version 7.2 or greater.
  • MySQL version 5.6 or greater OR MariaDB version 10.0 or greater. Actually you need mySQLi. mySQL has been deprecated. 
  • HTTPS support. Your site should already have an SSL. Thats just a basic rule for some time now.
Number 5) Plugin Compatibility. Just because the core is upgraded, does not mean the plugin providers have upgraded thier plugins to work with the new wordpress core. Plugins usually lag behind core updates, and in many cases, have to be completely redeveloped to work with the new core scripts. Some, even popular plugins, never get upgraded for compatibility. Check the issues tracker and the plugin developers websites for compatibility with PHP 7+ and WP 5.0.

Number 6) Theme Compatibility. Check the theme provider for PHP7 and wordpress 5.0 compatibility. If a later version is recommended, make sure you do the updates. Backup first.

Number 7) Also before starting, if your using a DNS based cloud firewall, you will need to go into the firewall configuration, disable the firewall, and then make sure the caches are cleared.

If all of this is beyond your sklll level and you still insist on the upgrade, please call us. Our team will assess your website to make sure that it is a candidate for the new wordpress 5.0 and perform the upgrade for you. If we do it, you will have no downtime. Better safe than sorry. 
One more thing to consider. You cannot usually run multiple versions of php on a single hosting instance. We have the proper environment where we can set up the upgrade in PHP7+. Then when the site is completed, we can upgrade you PHP and move the new site to your hosting account. Really think about this, you can't have 2 seperate hosting configurations on one hosting account. We have the infrastructure to accomodate this problem. And lastly, do not rely on hosting account backups. They are notorious for having failed to run, over written with corrupted website copies, and old. Please, if your doing this your self, manually backup your site with akeeba. Its free.


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