The new WordPress 5.0.x release has been available for some time now. While many people are still debating whether to upgrade or not due to the drastic changes to the default editor, there are a few things you may do to help you make such a decision:
1. Are you using a discontinued theme or plugins?
If the theme or the plugins you are using are no longer being actively maintained by the developers, obviously they are not being officially tested on the new WordPress 5.0.x releases. Otherwise, you may check the change log or even contact the developer to confirm about the compatibility.
Even you are using really old themes or plugins, this is not necessarily stopping you from upgrading your WordPress – mostly if the themes and plugins are not overriding/customising the default system Editor, in general it would work after installing and activating the Classic Editor plugin as the default system editor as a workaround.
Alternatively, thanks to the vast amount of WordPress plugins on the market, it is also a good time for you to consider replacing those old plugins with the updated ones that carry similar functionalities.
2. Are you able to set up a test environment to see how thing goes?
Since every WordPress site can have different combinations of themes and plugins, the most direct answer to the WordPress upgrade question is to simply test it. It is always good to do such kind of testings on a test environment, so that in case anything fails, you may just discard the testing environment, instead of restoring a working website backup in a hurry to prevent service interruption.
There are a few plugins that can help create staging environments. In addition, certain webhosting companies like SiteGround provide ready-to-use tools for you to create website copies for testings. If unfortunately you do not have access to the similar features, you may contact us and we are able to help test the compatibility of your existing WordPress site with the latest WordPress release.
3. Can you bear the potential consequences for not updating your WordPress?
Yes, it is true that your site should still run well by keeping the old versions. However, website security is something that you have to think more than twice.
The WordPress system itself, the theme you are using, and also the plugins you have installed, may all have security loopholes that have been discovered and fixed in subsequent updates.
“Do not make unnecessary changes to the system once it runs well.” might be a rule-of-thumb in the past, but for WordPress, once a security issue is discovered, even amatur hackers can have enough knowledge to scan through all public WordPress installations, and try to attack those systems running the vulnerable codes. Thanks to the search engines, people can now easily obtain automated tools to help attack websites with very less human effort. The consequences could be your website being modified/deleted by the attackers, or more seriously, they may upload malicious codes so that your website visitors will be affected, or your webhosting account could be hijacked to run their hacking tools, so eventually not only your webhosting account may be suspended due to unusual high loading, but you also may have to take legal responsibilities for that.
Of course if you are only running a very simple website to the point that your business is not being affected if it is not functioning at all, and you trust you already have very solid website security measures taken, then you have virtually nothing to worry about.
On the other hand, if your website holds customer data, or you cannot bear any downtime caused by being hacked, you should always try to keep your WordPress system updated, so that your website can be safe from being attacked by the known security issues.
We are here to help monitor and keep your website clean and safe. By enrolling a monthly service subscription, we can do regular system health-check, keep your WordPress site configurations current, and monitor website traffics for suspected activities. Contact us if you are interested to have us safeguard your WordPress site.