Are you ready for Gutenberg?

If you have a WordPress site, and you’ve logged into the Dashboard anytime recently, you’ve probably seen the big banner talking about Gutenberg. But, if you’re like a lot of people I know, you probably didn’t pay a lot of attention to it. Do you know what it is? Is your website ready for it?

Gutenberg is the name of the new editor WordPress is releasing with version 5.0. If you want to know more about Gutenberg, I recommend this article from Kinsta, which goes into depth about many aspects of Gutenberg.

The release date for Gutenberg (and WordPress 5.0) has changed several times, but it is currently expected to be released tomorrow, December 6.

There’s a lot of speculation and concern about this release because of the relatively big change. With the tens of thousands of plugins out there, not to mention all the different themes, there’s a good chance that things could get interesting. But there are some things you can do to test your site setup and see how it will handle the transition. I’m going to outline the steps below, and the will explain them in more detail after that.

  • Make a full website backup
  • Create a staging version of your website
  • Install Gutenberg plugin and see if there are any conflicts with your current site
  • Install Classic Editor plugin and see if there are any conflicts with your current site

The first step would be to make a complete backup of your website. This will help you to recover if there are any issues after this point. If you don’t know how to do it, this blog post will help you.

After you’ve made a backup, you need to create a staging site so that you can test the update and plugins without interfering with your live site. In general this is a good practice as it will allow you to test updates and plugin changes without them being done on your live site, but most small businesses don’t keep staging copies of their site. You can use that backup you just made to clone your site to a testing or staging copy, or you can easily make a staging site using a plugin like WP Staging to make one for you.

Once you’re working on the staging site, you should do a couple of things –

You can install Gutenberg as a plugin, which will allow you to see how your theme and other plugins handle it. If there are no issues once the plugin is active, then you should be fine when WP 5.0 is released.

You can install the Classic Editor plugin from the plugin repository (Plugins > Add New, then search for Classic Editor). This plugin was created to give you access to the same WordPress editor that you’re using now after Gutenberg is released into the WordPress Core. I recommend installing this on the staging site to make sure it doesn’t cause any conflicts on its own.

If everything checks out okay with the Gutenberg and/or Classic Editor plugins, that you should be okay. I always recommend that you run a complete backup before adding or update plugins, and this time is no different.

If you need help with making a backup of your site, or creating a staging site to test the plugins on, let’s talk. I’ve cleared time in my schedule to be able to help as many people as possible with this over the next week.

Also, while I generally recommend updating WordPress core as soon as updates are released, I think I’m going to be waiting a few days with this one, to give it time to get the bugs worked out before I update my clients’ sites.

I’d love to hear about your thoughts on and experiences with Gutenberg. Please share your comments below.

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