WordPress 5.0 Update

Hello OIT Design & Web Services clients!

Happy December! We have a quick update today about the soon-to-be-released WordPress 5.0 upgrade. (If your website is hosted in OIT’s cPanel web hosting service, you may have received a notification earlier this afternoon.) We just wanted to follow up with some information about what we’re planning to do with our clients.

If you’re planning to just skim this message, here’s the key takeaway: We’ve got you covered. No immediate action is required by you.

So, what’s the big deal?

After months of delays, the next version of WordPress (featuring the new editing experience, called Gutenberg) will be released this Thursday, December 6.

We’ve been talking about Gutenberg, the new WordPress editor, almost non-stop since January—and you might be tired of hearing about it. But it’s a big deal in WordPress world. If you’re one of our early adopters who have been testing and using Gutenberg over the last few months, you know that it’s taken some getting used to.

If you’re curious what all the hubbub is about, you can get a sneak preview of the new editor, and you can create your own test site. We’ve also been building some NC State-specific tools for the new editor that we’re incredibly excited to share with campus after some final testing and tweaking with 5.0.

Our Take

Although the WordPress project leadership has decided that Gutenberg is ready for release, we don’t think it’s quite ready yet. Our biggest concerns are around accessibility, but we also have some worries about last-minute changes to code that may not have been fully tested. (WordPress announced last night that they were releasing this big major update Thursday… which raises some eyebrows.)

We don’t want to delay upgrading to WordPress 5.0, since future 5.0.x releases are expected to include critical security upgrades. So with that in mind, we’re working hard this week to prepare your websites for the upgrade. For folks that aren’t our Gutenberg early adopters, that means installing and configuring the “Classic Editor” plugin. This will allow us to upgrade to 5.0 without any immediate change to how you create and edit content.

With the Classic Editor in place, you shouldn’t notice any difference. But we do want you to be on the lookout for any unusual behavior with your website. As always, you can email oitdesign@ncsu.edu to contact our whole team. (Please be aware that response times may be a little slower this week.)

As always, thank you for working with us and thank you for your patience as we navigate the WordPress drama on your behalf. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.