A little more than two months ago, WordPress released version 5.0 and with it introduced the new Gutenberg editor. I announced then that clients should hold off on making the big update until I could check plug-in compatibility. The jump this time is not as big, but the warning is similar. If you must update, make sure you have excellent backups!
Just this past weekend I had to help a client who made the jump to version 5.0 and got bit. Fortunately, we had good back-ups, and I was able to get the website working again, but it is a valuable lesson for everyone. The site in question has proprietary plug-ins performing a business-specific task. The original programmer of the plug-in has passed away: so that code isn’t being updated to new WordPress programming standards. We ran a test on a development server that worked, but when the client performed the updates on the live server—KABOOM!
Now not every small business has custom plug-ins; so the issue is lessened. However, plug-ins you are using must be compatible with the new version of WordPress; otherwise, your plug-in or entire website may stop working.
Upgrading from version 4.9 to 5.0 is called a major upgrade, upgrading from 5.0.3 to 5.1 not so much. However, it is still a big jump, and with the new features that are being introduced, there could be significant problems with social sharing plug-ins.
My suggestion is to wait a couple of weeks before you make the jump and before you perform any update, make good back-ups and store them on your local computer. You never know when you may need to send me that file on a Sunday so that I can restore your website!
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