WordPress 5.0 is now here, and although WP Engine won’t be updating customers until January, anyone can dive in and begin using 5.0 today.
Before you get started, we always recommend making significant changes to your Site in a Staging or Development Environment before doing so on your Production Environment. If you need a refresher, or would like more information on WP Engine’s WordPress update process, please read our WordPress Update Guide.
Step 1: Download and Install WordPress 5.0
The first step in updating your website to version 5.0 is to use the WordPress One-click Update feature available in your WP Admin Dashboard. Navigate to the Dashboard > Updates screen and underneath “An updated version of WordPress is available”, click Update Now.
Step 2: Install the Classic Editor Plugin if You’re Not Ready for Gutenberg
Once installed, the largest change you can expect to see is that Gutenberg will now be set as the default editor in your backend.
If you’re not ready to begin using Gutenberg, there are a number of options listed below that will allow you implement the new editor over time. The first thing you can do is install the Classic Editor plugin, which will allow you to turn Gutenberg off and restore the classic editing experience to your WordPress website.
This plugin has two modes. It can either:
- Fully replace Gutenberg and restore the Edit Post template.
- Add alternate “Edit” links to the Posts and Pages screens, on the toolbar at the top of the screen, and in the admin menu. These links will open the corresponding post or page in the Classic editor.
You can change the plugin modes from the Settings -> Writing screen.
Because the classic editor will be supported for years to come, you have time to keep using it while you figure out a plan for adopting Gutenberg. That said, this shouldn’t be considered a long-term fix and you should instead have a plan in place for how you’re going to start taking advantage of the new editor.
Step 3: Experiment with Gutenberg in a Staging Environment
Updating to WordPress 5.0 in a Staging or Development Environment before deploying it to your Production Environment is a great way to get to know the new editor without the pressure of using it for live changes.
You can start testing Gutenberg by creating a post to see if your normal functionality is available. You can then continue to use the Staging or Development Environment as a place to learn more about the new editor and try out different options without affecting your Production Environment.
Step 4: Ramp Up
Another option is to adopt a hybrid approach that will let you use Gutenberg only where it makes sense for your website: the Gutenberg Ramp plugin.
This plugin will let you turn the new editor on selectively, for specific post types, so you can use Gutenberg on some things, while still keeping the classic editor in place where you need it. After installing Ramp, you just need to adjust your settings for the posts you want to use Gutenberg on, and start working from there. It’s worth noting that the Classic Editor plugin will still be needed to take advantage of all the great features Ramp has to offer.
Step 5: Dive In, the Water’s Fine
The final step is to dive in and start using Gutenberg as your primary editor. If you have compatibility concerns, certainly some of the above options might make the most sense while you work through any potential functionality changes on your website.
But if you’re ready to embrace the future and begin using the new editing experience on a day-to-day basis, the best way to do so is to jump in, experiment, and see all of the great things Gutenberg will allow you to build.