WordPress is releasing another major update – WordPress 5.5 – which is slated for release on August 11, 2020, with features like automatic updates for plugins and themes, a block directory, XML sitemaps, block patterns, and lazy-loading images, among others. To learn more about the release, check out the Field Guide post.
You can also read more about the updates on one of my favorite website here, which includes the upcoming features along with screenshots.
I wrote a post on March 26th about the major release to version 5.4 and what to do before updating, and just like that update, this new update will have lots of new features and changes, which brings the potential to break your site if you are not careful updating.
Before You Update to WordPress 5.5
I recommending not updating for a couple of weeks while bugs and issues are discovered and fixes are released. I will be posting a follow up towards the end of August about the status of this new version and whether it’s safe to update.
Here are my 5 recommendated steps for proceeding with the update to Version 5.5 when the time is right:
1. DISABLE AUTOMATIC UPDATES:
WordPress has the ability to automatically push certain updates to sites. It’s a good idea to disable WordPress auto-updates and while we are at it, disable any automatic updates.
Install and activate the Easy Updates Manager by Easy Updates Manager Team. On the same page, which is the plugins listing, click on the “Configure” link under the Easy Updates Manager Title, which is the only place to get to the settings options. Next, make sure that you see GREEN on all options listed on the very first left-hand side. All the way down, GREEN. This disables all automatic updates so that you will have to manually update WordPress, Any Themes, the Genesis Framework, and Plugins, which is always good, especially in this case.
At the bottom under Notifications, type your email address and click on the Save Email Addresses button.
Before completing any major update, I highly recommend that you run a full backup of your site, which should include both the database and all files. If something goes wrong during the update, you can restore the backup immediately with no or very minimal loss or disruption.
Most hosts already have a backup system in place for their customers. You can contact your host to see if they can help by running you a new backup before you complete the update.
HOWEVER, I’m a firm believer that you shouldn’t have all of your eggs in one basket, so having another backup safely in an offsite location is always a good idea. If you don’t already have a backup plugin installed, I recommend installing the UpdraftPlus Backup/Restore Plugin by UpdraftPlus.com and David Anderson.
Under settings, I recommend a FREE DropBox account for your remote backup storage location with weekly file and database backups, keeping 3 backups at a time. Keeping more than that and you may have to upgrade to the Dropbox Plus paid account.
Once you have the plugin all set up, please run your first backup NOW.
IF you already have this plugin or another backup plugin installed, run a new backup NOW before proceeding with the updates.
3. UPDATE ALL PLUGINS AND THE GENESIS FRAMEWORK FIRST:
Make sure that all of your Plugins and The Genesis Framework are updated and ready for the new WordPress release. The better Plugin and Theme developers will have their software updated and tested before the release but there will be some that have not been updated and those can cause issues.
If you’re not sure, research to see if the plugins are 5.4 ready. If you can’t find any information, I recommend contacting the developer to see if they can help.
Plugins first, the Genesis Framework second.
4. UPDATE TO WORDPRESS 5.5:
If you’ve done as suggested in number 1, 2, and 3 above, you can go ahead and click that update button to WordPress 5.5 (when it’s been released and after several weeks of waiting)!
Once you’ve completed your updates, it’s very important to thoroughly test your site to make sure everything is working as expected. Do your testing as soon as you’ve completed the update because it will be harder to narrow down any issues later, so spend the time going through all areas of your site to make sure there are no issues. If you find you have issues but can’t narrow them down, you can always restore your site with the backup you completed and wait another 1-2 weeks before you try updating again.
NOTE 1: I can NOT guarantee that even after waiting the 2 weeks that the WordPress update will go smoothly. Some problems may still arise. You take updating at your own risk. I am not responsible for any problems that may arise from completing this or any updates.
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