WordPress.org recently announced ETA of WordPress 5.2. I love updates because I like new shiny things. Besides that, they (should) mean better security and better performance. Before we cover things you could do to prepare, here are three things I’m particularly looking forward to in 5.2:
- Better fatal error protection. The recovery mode should make it easier for site admins to restore websites.
- Gutenberg brought blocks and it’s great news that a block manager is coming with 5.2. Also expected with the block manager are new blocks FTW.
- This site health check plugin will merge into core and included in 5.2. So cool.
More secure and better performing websites, that I’m looking forward to. They excite me enough to prepare for the release. I’m one of those guys who are first to update. Some tips on preparing for the new WordPress updates:
WordPress 5.2 will need you on minimum PHP version 5.6.20. Without it, or more preferred higher version, you won’t be able to update. Updating PHP generally means servers use less resources to serve your website. It also improves security and performance of your site.
This is generally a good thing to do. If you have no clue and need help with the update your web developer and / host should be able to assist. It is usually a painless exercise.
Do the following before updating your PHP version:
- Backup your website
- Update WordPress, plugins and themes
- Check compatibility. WPEngine has this plugin. Your host should also be able to help you this.
If you haven’t already, familiarize yourself with Gutenberg. I’m using Gutenberg on my personal blog as a way of training myself to get used to it and think through other uses. This will be a helpful tool, especially for churches and non-profits. I find it a less intimidating and more flexible editor.
It (will) allow(s) more people to do more on websites.
A more detailed walkthrough:
You should be doing regular backups as normal website / blog admin or maintenance work, anyway. I recommend you do a full website backup before you hit “update” once it’s released.
Depending on your setup you could use your WordPress or tools your host provides such as cPanel.
Another way you could prepare for the WordPress 5.2 and other future updates is creating a staging site. This is a sandbox with a replica of your website where you can test before making live. Here you could make sure that your website can survive upgrading to the most recent PHP version. You could even use it to test 5.2 before going live with it.
I hope this helps.