Gutenberg is coming...sooner than you may think - Fabric Digital
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Gutenberg is coming...sooner than you may think

5th Dec // 2018

After several months of waiting, the long anticiapted release of a new version of Wordpress had just 48 hours notice. It's now due to be released on Thursday 6th December despite comments even just a few days ago that it could fall into January.

If you have any sites that use Wordpress you need to check a couple of things. Firstly ensure that you do not have automatic updates enabled and secondly you will need to test the compatibility of version 5 BEFORE updating.

The release contains a new editor called Gutenberg (see more details at https://www.fabric.co.uk/blog/if-you-use-wordpress-read-this ) which will replace the existing "classic" editor. As well as giving users a new layout, the new editor will need to have been tested with all of the plug-ins you may use. It is recommended that you take a full backup of Wordpress (including your database) before trying the upgrade. If possible, the upgrade should be tested in a development environment so that any errors can be spotted. Due to the structural change it's important to do these tests prior to the upgrade. If you see any issues, you should roll back to your backup version or not upgrade.

Most automatic updates are set just to take minor updates and patches which are normally ones that contain minor fixes. For example, the latest version of Wordpress is 4.9.8. The last automatic update would have been from 4.9.7. There are a number of other supported versions such as 4.8.7, 4.7.11, 4.6.12 etc. Some automatic updates will take you from, say, 4.8.x to 4.9.0 but others would not. Some will take you from 4.x to 5.0. In order to check what automatic updates are applied, you will need to access the server where Wordpress is hosted and check one of the files. Details of how to do this are below (see https://codex.wordpress.org/Configuring_Automatic_Background_Updates)

Update Configuration

Automatic updates can be configured using one of two methods: defining constants in 

wp-config.php, or adding filters using a Plugin.

Configuration via wp-config.php

Using 

wp-config.php, automatic updates can be disabled completely, and core updates can be disabled or configured based on update type.

Constant to Disable All Updates

The core developers made a conscious decision to enable automatic updates for minor releases and translation files out of the box. Going forward, this will be one of the best ways to guarantee your site stays up to date and secure and, as such, disabling these updates is strongly discouraged.

To completely disable all types of automatic updates, core or otherwise, add the following to your wp-config.php file:

define( 'AUTOMATIC_UPDATER_DISABLED', true );

Constant to Configure Core Updates

To enable automatic updates for major releases or development purposes, the place to start is with the WP_AUTO_UPDATE_CORE

constant. Defining this constant one of three ways allows you to blanket-enable, or blanket-disable several types of core updates at once.

define( 'WP_AUTO_UPDATE_CORE', true );
WP_AUTO_UPDATE_CORE can be defined with one of three values, each producing a different behavior:
  • Value of true – Development, minor, and major updates are all enabled
  • Value of false – Development, minor, and major updates are all disabled
  • Value of 'minor' – Minor updates are enabled, development, and major updates are disabled

Note that only sites already running a development version will receive development updates.

For development sites, the default value of WP_AUTO_UPDATE_CORE is true. For other sites sites, the default value of WP_AUTO_UPDATE_CORE is minor.

Once you are happy that automatic updates are disabled for major versions, you should consider whether you need to upgrade to version 5. Most commentators are suggesting waiting until the stability of version 5 is established as this will also highlight issues with individual plug-ins. If you don't have a need to upgrade then the advice is not to, at least until version 5 is stable and any fixes have been applied. 

If you need any help with your Wordpress update you can contact us here.

To find out about some common digital scams have a look at https://www.fabric.co.uk/blog/phishing-smishing-vishing-and-twishing-what-do-they-all-mean.


Penned by Ajay Kapadia