Scheduled to be released this Tuesday on March 9, 2021, the next big upgrade to WordPress is coming up this week coming.
The newly updated software has made some major changes that might affect your site (as we’ve seen in the BETA), and may cause an issue or two especially if you are running an older theme, if you need.
WordPress is an “open source” software that continues to be updated regularly. These regular updates help add functionality and make the software faster and more secure.
The upcoming new version is said to significantly alter how JQuery works.
JQuery is the foundational software for many of the more visually appealing functionalities you see on modern websites. Things like animated hero sliders, text that fades in and out or moves into place, and graphics that respond when you roll the cursor over them are all driven by JQuery.
If your theme is a few years old and hasn’t been updated, it will be running an old version of JQuery and that means there’s a good chance it will break with the new update.
WordPress 5.5 removed support for a special piece of built-in code known as JQuery Migrate. This code allowed WordPress to deal with plugins that were referencing old versions of JQuery. But now there will be major changes to JQuery itself.
What does this mean for you?
If your hosting plan uses WordPress Managed Hosting or other forms of specialized WordPress optimization, you will most likely find that WordPress is automatically updated for you.
That’s because it’s far too dangerous for servers to allow old versions of WordPress as they are serious security risks.
In that case, you’re a bit at the mercy of your hosting company, but you still have options if this breaks your site.
Keep in mind that hosting companies usually wait a couple of weeks after a new release to install it on their client sites to give them time to run tests.
The good news is that there are options available.
If WordPress 5.7 does break your site, we can re-install an older version of WordPress.
Themes will most likely be most vulnerable to glitches…
If your theme is a commercially available one, there’s a good chance that updates have been released. Updating the theme involves a process using a staging server to ensure it doesn’t break things, but the whole process doesn’t usually take too long, unless things actually do break.
If your theme was created from scratch, things get a lot more complicated. We can run a trial with the new version of WordPress (after it gets released) to see how it responds.
A well designed theme should get through things fairly well. If it isn’t happy, we can dial you back temporarily to an older version of WordPress while you strategize a redesign or get the original site developer to update their code.
This is one of the reasons to consider a maintenance plan for your website: Software is constantly being updated. Security holes are discovered every day and patched. Software is modified to make it faster and add new features. If you are running outdated code your site is vulnerable to hackers and can run inconsistently.
The value of maintenance
If you subscribe to the our Monkey Magic maintenance service, you benefit from a host of powerful benefits especially designed to improve the security and value of your website.
For subscribers on our PRO and BUSINESS plans, we are keeping your plugins up to date each month and testing the site after every WordPress update for compatibility issues with the theme.
If your site is website built by The Army of Flying Monkeys, we will even update the theme on these plans at no cost to you. Basically, you can relax worry free, knowing that whatever happens, we’ll fix it at no additional charge.
Obviously, if we didn’t design the site that’s not possible as we won’t know all the thousands of intricacies in how your code was structured.
If you’re on the discounted FREE plan, theme updates are not included and will require a fee for the time involved.
If you are not on a maintenance plan, you can use a plugin called JQuery Migrate Helper to assist with handling old JQuery code. This plugin will reactivate the old WordPress behavior of dealing with outdated JQuery code. The plugin shows admin users in the dashboard what problems were encountered and tries to cover for them, helping keep your site working. However, it is only a temporary fix and just buys you time to deal with the issues that may be impacting your site.
Update your PHP
Make sure to use recent versions of PHP and to keep your plugins up to date. Make sure to test your site after every plugin is updated; don’t update a whole bunch of them all at once because if your site breaks due to the update you won’t know which one caused the problem. Also, make sure your site has a daily backup to not only one but two different servers that are geologically separated so that you don’t have to worry if one of your backup sites goes down.
If your theme is old, there is a chance that it will be using old versions of JQuery, in which case you will need to either update the theme to a more recent version or, if your theme is no longer being supported, you will have to rebuild your website.
Drop us a line if we can help 🙂