WordPress 5.6 Update ✅ To Upgrade or NOT
There’s a new version of WordPress that came out this week, WordPress Version 5.6.
This is not a major update from Version 5.5 but in this video I’ll highlight the notable changes as well as highlight the reasons for…. to update, or not to update.
WordPress released their update a few days ago on December the 8th, 2020 and it’s nickname was an ode to Nina Simone, an American singer, songwriter, musician, arranger, and civil rights activist. Almost like a reminder to what WordPress really is and what it represents, almost like Simone is a metaphor for open source.. Free, and for everyone
The previous major update of WordPress, version 5.5 caused some hassles to plugins and themes with Jquery issues that had a lot of websites break when updating. We had numeral customers reporting issues when they updated that their own websites and in a specific case, we even decided to rebuild a customer’s website entirely to avoid any further bugs.
Our Website: https://webdesignhub.co.za
Blog Version of Video: https://webdesignhub.co.za/updating-wordpress-5-6
Just as an add-in for assistance before we continue, WordPress states the following to versions 5.5, 5.6 and the coming version 5.7 that: “Updates to jQuery in WordPress take place across three releases: 5.5, 5.6, and 5.7. As we reach the mid-point of this process, run the update test plugin to check your sites for errors ahead of time.
They further state that: “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.”
So if you did experience an issue similar to this in version 5.5 or experience this in 5.6 or the later release coming in March 2021 for 5.7., here’s a plugin that may help fix the Jquery issues you were, or may still be experiencing and has been updated to assist in the new WordPress version 5.6 already – I’ll leave the link in the description
Big updates takes a bit of responsibility so it’s important to note a few things before attempting an update like this, so first off let me highlight these important points before you decide to update WordPress to version 5.6
First off, make sure you have a backup or make one, WordPress also advises us to do this as a little reminder of it’s importance. A lot of good hosting providers, depending on the package you have with them do daily backups of your website files and databases automatically, so in a lot of cases you should already conveniently have one in place. If you’re not sure or don’t know how to check, send an email to your Hosting provider’s support department and they should be happy to check for you. If you know your way around your control panel, then simply go do a backup of your WordPress website’s files and database for peace of mind.
A second big point to make is around the plugins and themes of your website. These are where the issues may come from primarily, and in fact, this is where the issues arose with the previous WordPress 5.5 version. Developers either didn’t support their plugins or themes anymore or didn’t roll out updates in time to make their plugins compatible with the new WordPress 5.5 installation when it released. In any WordPress update I recommend having a look through what plugins and themes have an update ready before updating WordPress.
Let me provide a quick tip or word of advice, if you are fairly new to WordPress and a little bit weary of updating, just wait a week or two and then start pushing the button on updating when there is more information and updated plugins to analyze and make an informed decision.
So to close these points, don’t be hasty to have the new Uber Cool WordPress 5.6 – Be patient, your site won’t look noticeably different or perform noticeably better and even if it did, breaking your website may not be worth the cost – Wait for the Theme & Plugin developers to update before getting into it – And just to add here, I did notice a performance increase in version 5.6 which I share a quick word about at the end of the video.
Now, on to what’s new in WordPress 5.6.
WordPress 2021 Theme
Now I have to say I’m excited to start playing around with this theme. Just off the bat it has a freakin’ light & dark mode! Whaaaaat? That’s cool because usually the default themes are kind of boring so that’s a good start. It still seems a little bleak though just scanning through it and I personally don’t really use the default themes that comes with WordPress. I feel that they just don’t offer much and you have to do way too much development which takes away design time so I tend to go with what I trust and I use Ocean WP – I’m not going into that here, but I’ll leave a link in the description if you’d like to try it out.
So with the 2021 theme, the light and dark mode feels to be a gimmick currently, not that it is but going forward with WordPress in 2021 I feel this will gain relevance later on as this will become a norm with Themes. I love dark mode for example because there is less of a strain on my eyes and aside from that, my devices use less power in dark mode and I can think of another bunch of reasons why this is a great idea! So currently, it’s cool and I can’t wait to see what else they get up to because I have a feeling WordPress 5.6 is just a bridge to something really game changing which I’ll talk about later on in this video.
Then another new feature to take note of is the option of updating WordPress automatically, what?, why? – Now, with WordPress 5.5, they started offering auto-updates to themes and plugins and I’ll be honest, maybe I’m just being cautious but that feels like a bad idea to me so I simply don’t use that option, or at least not yet, or rather on some plugins it can be a good idea to have but all in all, I’m really cautious with this one and Here’s why – Some people don’t visit their website often, once it runs, they let it run and forget about it so imagine one day you receive an email or a call from a customer notifying you of your site looking all weird. Now that customer did you a favor by letting you know about it, but you probably lost a lot of potential business because of this little “feature” that ended up updating automatically and wrecking your site, unintentionally of course.
Now I do feel it’s a useful function, but ONLY & ONLY if the Theme or plugin developer is a well known and reliable developer. For example, I would turn this on for Elementor, Woocommerce plugins and of course the prior mentioned Ocean WP theme.
The same applies to the WordPress Auto Update – Again, I’m not worried about WordPress but rather the plugin and theme developers not responsibly updating their work – So it’s up to you at the end of the day, I’m just highlighting my thoughts…
So moving on to another new addition are preference blocks in the builder. I don’t generally use this section of WordPress so I wouldn’t be right person to advise on this new addition, so instead I’m advising a video here with someone that has a better explanation about this. I did pick up a bug though whilst playing around with the editing functions, though it could be my outdated PHP version causing it to dance and shake like a MOFO. It’s not a massive issue but importantly highlights just how flawed a new release can be and again nothing major here but imagine the bugs that may exist that you can’t see, for example security vulnerabilities and so on – We build websites, so I get alarmed when I see a minor detail like this.
Site health is a function worth highlighting that became available in version 5.5. I must admit, I didn’t really know what to think when I initially read about this but it is quite useful and maybe even more so for newer users where it prompts useful things like removing inactive plugins and themes which can make a massive difference in the efficiency of your website, believe it or not. Apart from this it also advised that I need to update my PHP version to 7.4 which I think is a great bit of advice and I can definitely agree!
Then an interesting feature addition is the New Application Password Name – which is similar to for example first registering for Instagram using your Facebook details and authenticating using those login details. I’s not that I’m a fan and Wordfence has reported a possible security vulnerability but I can definitely say that this is kind of exciting and I love the direction that we’re going in. In fact I can see that I may end up doing a video for this function at a later time so I’ll keep you guys posted on this.
PHP 8 SUPPORT – Now I want to make it quite clear that this mentions PHP-8 Support, So it supports it which is great but it doesn’t mean that we should update this just yet. PHP8 is very new still and has it’s own set of bugs to iron through so keep that in mind, and for now, stick to PHP Version 7.4 and your website will run great. I even have some sites which are running just fine on the stable PHP 5.6 release still. So keep your PHP in tact for now and don’t fuss with version 8 at the moment.
I mentioned this update not being a crazy major update but rather that it paves the way for something much bigger coming in 2021. WordPress has something in the works that will allow Elementor Page Builder-Like flexibility called Full Site Editing where you could edit your pages, change your header and footer for example all within WordPress itself. This will be amazing and I cannot wait till this becomes a thing. I remember the day before page builders where we had to customize themes with PHP & HTML coding and type up large CSS files to make our pages look the way we want them to and was so incredibly time consuming. Then WP Bakery came along, Elementor and these just revolutionized the more basic websites requiring basic website functions. We still do development for bigger customers requiring custom jobs but nine out of 10 websites are used with Elementor and saves us so much time that we can now build websites at a fraction of the price.
Something to make mention of and I’m not sure if it’s just me but WordPress 5.6 feels incredibly nippy and quick. It just has that fraction of a load time that just seems favorable. And it’s not my development server either. It just feels quicker than prior versions. So apart from you liking it, Google Search Central will love your website for that and may bump you up a spot or two with competing websites running older versions of WordPress. Again, I don’t know this for a fact but it really seems noticeably quicker.
To close, I hope the above highlighted the changes for you. All in all, not a major update by any means but packs quite a little punch with those new functions. Again, some of it feels gimmick still but I’m quite impressed and like I mentioned already, the 2021 update coming up makes next year yet another exciting year for WordPress, though there’s nothing new there. Just remember, if you do update to 5.6, really consider deactivating that WordPress auto update function for now, or at least until 5.6 has been around for a few weeks – Any new update of anything has it’s possible flaws, although WordPress Developers do an amazing job with their rollouts and are generally near perfect.
That’s it from me, I hope you liked and enjoyed this video and thanks for watching – Adios Amigos!