blue banner
WordPress 5.0 and the Gutenberg Editor

A Major WordPress Update Is Coming – Is Your Website Ready?

page title border

December 6th is the latest targeted rollout date for WordPress 5.0, which includes the all-new Gutenberg editor. Gutenberg will provide radically new and different ways for WordPress website owners to edit and layout their page content–but it may create challenges for WordPress themes and plugins that are not ready for this major overhaul.


What is Gutenberg?

Gutenberg is a big step in the evolution of WordPress as a Content Management System. It’s a re-invention of the back-end editor, which lays the groundwork for other evolutionary WordPress changes yet to come. Instead of one big WYSIWYG text box, Gutenberg allows users to create “blocks” of content that can be rearranged to create more complex page layouts, and re-used to style similar content on other pages of your site.


If I Ignore Gutenberg, Will It Go Away?

Because this is a major WordPress update, it will NOT be rolled out automatically. But, of course, it’s best to install WordPress updates as soon as possible, to keep your website running bug-free, and with all the latest security patches. You’re better off confronting this challenge head-on–and the sooner, the better. Ignoring a major update is asking for trouble.


How Will I Know If Gutenberg will cause problems for my website?

In most cases, content created with the Classic “TinyMCE” editor will just become a single “block” of content in Gutenberg, and shouldn’t have any problems. But if you’re using a theme or plugins that affect the back-end editor in any way (for example, a theme that includes a visual editor), Gutenberg may create some challenges for you.

The only way to know for sure, is to test it out. But you don’t want to experiment on your live site, so we recommend making a copy of your website, either on a staging server or on a subdomain of your existing site. Here’s what the standard testing process looks like:

  • Copy your website to a staging server, or to a second WordPress installation on a password-protected subdomain.
  • On the copied ‘staging’ website, install the Gutenberg plugin to see if it causes problems with your site’s theme or any active plugins. (This will also give you an opportunity to play with the new editor’s features in a low-risk environment!) If there are problems, you can try to fix them on the staging site before updating to WP 5.0 and rolling out the changes to your live/production server.
  • If you decide you aren’t ready to dive into the world of Gutenberg yet, or just need your current website to ride it out until a new Gutenberg-friendly theme gets completed, you can still update your website to WP 5.0, and then install the Classic Editor plugin, which will disable Gutenberg and restore the familiar TincyMCE editor until you’re ready to upgrade.


Is My Custom Theme Compatible with Gutenberg?

We can’t speak for other developers, but as for PixelPeople clients, we don’t expect issues with our custom themes. However, there could still be issues with plugins used in your site that don’t play well with Gutenberg. And, of course, any fundamental change to the underlying platform can introduce unforeseen challenges to a website. All themes and plugins should be tested for compatibility prior to the 5.0 update.


Ultimately, Gutenberg will provide more powerful capabilities that make your website editing tasks faster and easier. And further down the line, Gutenberg will allow WordPress 5.0 to go beyond content management to become a full-featured website editor. But, like any change, there will be a bit of a learning curve, and there are likely to be some bumps along the way.

If you have unanswered questions about Gutenberg, the WordPress 5.0 rollout, or your own website’s compatibility with this new version of WordPress, feel free to Ask Us A Question and we’ll be happy to help in whatever ways we can.

Tags: , , ,

Let's Get Started!