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Considerations with this release…
I always hold off on major releases (5.6 vs. 5.5.X) to see if there are any bugs once the software is out in the wild. If you remember, 5.5.2 had an immediate release the very next day due to unanticipated issues.
In the case of 5.6, we have several major changes that could impact your site's operations, themes and plugins.
So here are the basics:
- Auto-updates for major releases — not a fan. I always like to do updates on my schedule when I have the time to address anything that isn't working properly after the update. In this case, auto-updates for WordPress core files will only be on new installations. Being most problems arise from using outdated themes or plugins, new installations shouldn't have a problem with auto-update. If you are running a WordPress site prior to 5.6, auto-updates will not be activated.
- Better support for PHP 8.0.
- Application Passwords for REST API Authentication.
If you remember 5.5 cause some sites to break. This was due to how jQuery was being handled.
- WP 5.5 removed the jQuery Migrate 1.x script. (8/2020)
- WP 5.6 updates to the latest jQuery, U&I and Migrate scrips. (You are here.)
- WP 5.7: removed the jQuery Migrate script. (3/2021)
Sites that are using newer themes and updated/tested plugins tend to not have issues with the above. If your theme or plugins rely on the old 1.x script, you may find things may not work (buttons, checkboxes, animated displays) but they may work differently.
If you find issues with the way your site looks ( e.g. a slider doesn’t work, a button is stuck — that sort of thing), install the jQuery Migrate plugin.
Now, if you are running themes or plugins that have not been tested up to 5.5, better yet 5.0, you may want to do the 5.6 upgrade in staging first just to be safe.
You can download WordPress 5.6 by downloading from WordPress.org, or visit your Dashboard → Updates and click Update Now.
WordPress recommends your host supports:
- PHP version 7.4 or greater.
- MySQL version 5.6 or greater OR MariaDB version 10.1 or greater.
- HTTPS support.
WordPress Updating Tips
WARNING: The upgrade process will affect all files and folders included in the main WordPress installation. This includes all the core files used to run WordPress. If you have made any changes to those files, your changes will be lost.
When updating WordPress themes or plugins following the simple steps below can save you some headaches. Do a quick double-check with theme and plugin developers *before* updating.
You want to review if they have any concerns or comments about your theme and the new version. Some theme shops may ask you delay updating if their testing reflects issues they need to address first.
You may then be advised to update your theme before, updating WordPress. Using a quality theme and plugins means the developer(s) are always on top of this.
If you are ever unsure about how or if an update will impact your website, you can always do a dry run in your staging area. Check out my article: What's a Staging Site and Why Do I Need One?
Step-by-step WordPress Update Instructions
To help you safely and easily update to the most recent version of WordPress, let's ddo a little housekeeping first:
Save your WordPress XML file to your hard drive.
You do this by clicking on the Tools icon in the left sidebar and then Export. On the next screen click on Download Export File.
You might want to create a new Folder on your hard drive where you keep all your Website files. Name it WP Backup so you know to save all backup files for WP there (and you'll know where to find them if you need them).
It is a good idea to back up this file once a week/month anyway regardless if an update is needed. If you post more often, backup your site more often. I have my calendar marked to do so each Friday so I don't forget.
Don't want to deal with the constant back-ups, updates, security and performance analysis required for a healthy WordPress website?
White Glove Support to the rescue.
Backup Your WordPress Database
If you are on a Managed WordPress Hosting platform, go to your hosting Dashboard and create a backup-point there. On most WordPress Managed hosts you can create a “backup-point” in your hosting dashboard.
If you are on shared hosting, there is a nifty plugin that makes this process a no-brainer, UpdraftPlus WordPress Backup Plugin. This plugin is also a must have for repairing and optimizing your database (which you should be doing minimally monthly to keep things running smoothly).
FTP into Your Web Server and Download that Backup
This is so that you have a copy off your server. That backup won't do you any good if the server crashes or has issues. Even better, store the backup file in the cloud or on an external drive in case you have computer problems.
Cover All the Bases
Download your theme/framework/child theme folders to your local hard drive. This is just good practice if you have customized any theme files. Better yet, download your entire wp-content directory.
Not comfortable backing up everything and updating yourself? Subscribe to my WordPress White Glove Support Service and I'll handle everything for you with the bonus of extra coaching and business intelligence you can use to grow your site!
It is a good idea to review my article:
WordPress How To: Do the Mother of All Backups
Don't forget to update your plugins. You'll see with each WordPress update that plugin developers also update their plugins which you can also do with one click. You'll see the nag bar under the plugin name in the plugins area with a link to “update now.”
If you find after an update that something is not working as it was you have a couple options.
- Easily restore to your last backup. Managed WordPress hosting makes this easy.
- Troubleshoot for conflicts. I have an article for that: How to Easily Troubleshoot Your WordPress Website for Conflicts.
When it comes to plugins, of the developer has not updated his/her plugin to work with the lasted WordPress version, find another plugin whose developer is on top of these things!
Always Backup and Update Promptly
Updating should not be ignored or put off. Every update includes security hardening and that's why hackers always target sites that are not maintained.
When you promptly process WordPress updates and stay on top of Premium Theme and Plugin updates, you not only are in step with technology, but you make sure your site is secure and has the best chance to function error free.
At your service,
- How to Use Free Google Tools to Improve & Grow Your WordPress Website
- My Annual Review: What I Did Well… and Not So Much
- How to Future-Proof Your WordPress Website
- How to Update to WordPress 5.6: READ FIRST
- WordPress How To: 10 Starter Marketing Tips for Your New WordPress Website
- How to Maintenance Your WordPress Database