Big changes coming in WordPress 5.5

WordPress is an “open source” software that continues to be updated. This is a good thing for several reasons. Open Source means that vast numbers of people are continually improving the security features rather than relying on one organization’s programming team to keep it safe. In addition, the regular updates help add functionality and make it faster.

Naturally, these changes can also have adverse effects for sites that use outdated add-ons (plugins) or themes.

WordPress 5.5 is removing support for a special piece of code known as JQuery Migrate.

This code allowed WordPress to deal with plugins that were referencing old versions of JQuery. In case that term is new to you, JQuery is a kind of software code allowing your site to create special effects like animation, moving objects, images that fade in, and much more.

JQuery goes through constant changes and it was inevitable that at some point WordPress had to stop supporting really old versions. That time is now.

What does this mean for your site?

Your site may be running a very old theme, or outdated plugins that depend on old versions of JQuery code to operate. Thus, when WordPress 5.5 is installed on your server, your site could break.

If your hosting plan uses WordPress Managed Hosting or other forms of specialized support to optimize for WordPress, you will find that WordPress is automatically updated. That’s because it’s far too dangerous for servers to allow old versions of WordPress as they are serious security risks. If your hosting plan is a basic plan with no special WordPress support, you may still be running an old version of WordPress as it would depend on you to update the server.

This is one of the reasons to consider a maintenance plan for your website: Software is constantly being updated. Security holes are discovered every day and patched. Software is modified to make it faster and add new features. If you are running outdated code your site is vulnerable to hackers and can run inconsistently.

You have options

The good news is that there are options available.

If you subscribe to the Adwiz ReBoot premium maintenance service, you benefit from a host of powerful benefits especially designed to improve the security and value of your website. For subscribers on our Silver, Gold and Platinum plans, we are keeping your plugins up to date each month and testing the site after every WordPress update for compatibility issues with the theme.

If you are not on a maintenance plan, you can use a plugin called JQuery Migrate Helper. This plugin will reactivate the old WordPress behavior of dealing with outdated JQuery code. However, it is only a temporary fix and just buys you time to deal with the issues that may be impacting your site.

Make sure to use recent versions of PHP and to keep your plugins up to date. Make sure to test your site after every plugin is updated; don’t update a whole bunch of them all at once because if your site breaks due to the update you won’t know which one caused the problem. Also, make sure your site has a daily backup to not only one but two different servers that are geologically separated so that you don’t have to worry if one of your backup sites goes down.

If your theme is old, there is a chance that it will be using old versions of JQuery, in which case you will need to either update the theme to a more recent version or, if your theme is no longer being supported, you will have to rebuild your website.

If you have any questions or concerns, please get in touch.

George Pytlik

George Pytlik has been involved in the advertising industry for over 30 years and designed his first website when the Internet was one year old. He was an internationally recognized speaker on advertising and branding and served on a number of communication committees at various times throughout his career, as well as writing a regular column for Marketing magazine.

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