Despite many false starts, WordPress is releasing version 5.0 on the 6th of December. And with it, comes Gutenberg. People are running around like headless chickens screaming, “The sky is falling”. But there is no need to panic, it won’t be installed automatically – you have to click on the update button yourself.
Of course I’m talking about WordPress installations you did yourself. If you used a one-click installer or are using Managed WordPress Hosting, the upgrade may have been done for you. If your site is then misbehaving, you will need to contact your host and see if they can install the Classic Editor plugin.
Minor version updates, such as from 4.9.7 to 4.9.8 do happen automatically and you get an email saying your site has been upgraded. But major version updates, such as from 3.x.x to 4.0 – or in this case from 4.9.8 to 5.0 are left up to you to decide.
So point No. 1 is, you won’t wake up to a broken website!
Unfortunately, most WordPress users are not programmers. They do not know or care how it works, they just use it. If they do upgrade to WP 5.0, then they are going to be in for a rude shock the next time they go to edit something or create a new post or page.
Even worse, they may find their site actually breaks, because there is a conflict in one of their plugins. So you need to know how to take some contingency measures. The first is to backup your current site.
So point No. 2 is, backup your website before upgrading to V5.0
Again, unfortunately, some people have no idea how to do a backup. If you are one who doesn’t, then don’t upgrade! Find someone who can do it for you first. It simply involves logging into your hosting account and finding the backup options in cPanel or whatever your host is using.
The next best thing to do is, install the Classic Editor plugin. This will disable Gutenberg and WordPress are saying they will allow this until 2021, possibly 2022. By doing this, you can safely install V5.0 and continue to use your site as normal.
So point No. 3 is, install the Classic Editor plugin before upgrading to V5.0
If you have already upgraded before you read this and want to go back to 4.9.8 then you can download a modified version here. You will need to unzip the file and use what’s called an FTP program to upload it to your site. It will not touch your posts, pages or database. Again, you may need to find someone who can do this for you.
So point No. 4 is, you can use a modified version of V4.9.8 to revert your site back, even after upgrading
The other option, is to change to ClassicPress, which does not use Gutenberg. However, it is still in Beta release, so you would be advised to do a backup first. You can find the migration or “switching” plugin here.
Gutenberg is (supposedly) being released on Dec 6. It will not automatically install itself on self-hosted installations.
The points mentioned above will help you with making decisions and reverting back if necessary. If you don’t know how or what this all means – don’t upgrade! Leave things as they are until you can discuss the changes with someone who does.
The sky is not going to fall, you just need to be aware of what this change is all about and whether you want to use it. There is no need to panic.