What is WordPress 5?

A laptop with WordPress on it and colored lights on in the background.

WordPress 5.0 arrived in early December, and since it’s arrival it’s really shaken things up! We can’t remember a version of WordPress that has had as many new features as WordPress 5!

WordPress updates its content management system multiple times every year and nearly every time, the changes are fairly small. A lot of users usually don’t notice the new changes. This  can’t be said about WordPress 5.

Gutenberg

The biggest thing to come from WordPress 5 is the visual editor, Gutenberg. Gutenberg is a block based editor and it’s changing the way people now create posts and new web pages.

We believe the biggest reasons WordPress created WordPress 5 is to stay relevant, meet users’ needs, and to risk losing market share. With WordPress 5, WordPress is trying to channel Squarespace and Wix’s intuitive building experience. Like Squarespace and Wix, Gutenberg is a drag and drop editor that uses content blocks. You click on the plus button ‘+’ to add things like text blocks, image blocks, gallery blocks, and layout elements to your posts and pages. The only way one can opt out of Gutenberg when downloading WordPress 5 is to install the Classic Editor plugin.

A screenshot of Gutenberg's interface.

Adding a post using Gutenberg.

A screenshot showing how to use the block editor in Gutenberg.

The ‘+’ allows you to add content.

On December 6th, 1.3 million sites opted into either Gutenberg or the Classic Editor plugin. According to WordPress founder and CEO, Matt Mullenweg, this number is more than any single version of WordPress prior to version 4.7.

Important Things To Know About Gutenberg

Gutenberg will affect themes and plugins. Some plugins were created to interact with the Classic Editor and as such will not be compatible with Gutenberg.

We advise downloading Gutenberg before you make the update to see what features on your site will be impacted by Gutenberg.  

How To Perform An Update

To update your website, go to Dashboard>Updates. Click on Update WordPress and don’t leave the page until the update is complete. The update shouldn’t take long.

Why We Use WordPress

A big factor that has made WordPress the most popular website and blog creation tool (it powers 30% of the world’s website) is it’s free and open-source. This means you have total freedom over the websites and blogs you can create. You don’t have to host your website with WordPress’s server either.

At Sperling Interactive, we build our clients’ websites in WordPress because it’s flexibility cannot be beat. No other content management system is as customizable as WordPress. Every single WordPress website comes with a GPL 2.0 license, which means you can change the code as much as you’d like, including the functionalities of plugins and themes.

Squarespace and Wix don’t have a GPL 2.0 license and come with templates, which can be limiting when you have a lot of ideas for your website. Shopify is another website-building tool that is popular these days but it is limiting as you can only make ecommerce websites with it. You can read more about why we love WordPress over on this blog post.

It’s important to note WordPress 5 is still in the early days. Developers at WordPress are still working out the kinks, and Gutenberg does not affect content you have already published.

Conclusion

You may be feeling overwhelmed about such a major change coming to WordPress’ user interface, but we don’t recommend you skip the latest version. Along with the new features, WordPress updates and adds new security features and other important elements to your website when it builds out new versions. You should note that WordPress 5 is going to make WordPress more compatible with the latest version of PHP. Staying up to date is one of the only ways to keep your site running safely and smoothly.

As the web development blog, A2 Hosting, writes “as long as you take a few precautions, such as testing Gutenberg on a staging site and doing a recent backup in place, the risks of not updating WordPress will outweigh the risks of updating it.”

All and all, we believe WordPress 5 is going to make it easier for our clients to update their websites and add more content. It may be a learning curve in the beginning, but we find most people will like the drag and drop features as they’re instinctive.

Have you switched to WordPress 5 yet? What do you think of it? If not, are you looking forward to using a block-based editor now? Or will you be downloading the classic editor? Let us know. At Sperling Interactive, we’re more than happy to help you update to WordPress 5 and make the transition for your business as smooth as possible.

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