As some of you may know, today WordPress released the second beta of WordPress 4.2. And while the final release isn’t expected until mid-April, we’d like to encourage you to start testing your code against the beta releases now.

The biggest reason we’re asking you to do this is because 4.2 introduces a significant change to how taxonomies are handled. Since a number of plugin and theme developers have been expecting this change for a while, we’re sure most customer sites will be safe–please make sure your plugins and themes are actively maintained and up-to-date before upgrading core in April.

While we suggest that you test your code against WordPress 4.2, we do not encourage anyone to upgrade their live site to the beta. It isn’t production ready yet!

There are, however, a few easy things you can do to test your site in advance of this release, depending on the type of plan you have.

First, you ought to install and run the WP Find Shared Terms plugin on your WordPress 4.1.x site. If you can find no shared terms, your site should be ready for the 4.2 upgrade. You can still test the beta if you’d like, but you don’t really need to if you’re only concerned about the taxonomy changes.

If you do find shared terms, every one of our customers receives a staging area so you can test your sites in an isolated environment. Once you’ve made a fresh copy of your production site, install the WordPress Beta Tester plugin on your staging site. From there, you should visit “Tools > Beta Testing” in `wp-admin` and select “Bleeding Edge Nightlies.”

Now that you’ve configured your staging area to use nightly releases, you can upgrade the install to the 4.2 beta by visiting “Dashboard > Updates”. As soon as the update process completes, you can dive in and start testing any custom code you might be using.

Should you have a Professional plan or higher, we also offer the ability to make a copy of your site via the user portal. Keep in mind that this cloned site will count against your install total — so don’t go too crazy with extra installs — but doing this will offer you the chance to test your code and the WordPress 4.2 beta against our caching layer. If you like to be really thorough, you might want to consider trying this instead of testing in staging.

For additional help with making your code ready for the new taxonomy changes in WordPress 4.2, we encourage you to read this post on Make WordPress Core and this practical developer guide.

On the off chance that you find a bug with WordPress core (rather than your own code) during your testing, we highly encourage you to report it on the official Alpha/Beta support forum.

Jason CosperJason Cosper works as the Developer Advocate for WP Engine. He loves going full OCD over interesting problems and learning new things. In his spare time, Cosper enjoys hanging out with his wife and two very tiny dogs, grilling meats, sampling assorted whiskeys, writing cranky tweets about the Lakers and brewing coffee.