WordPress 5.2 Update - should you upgrade yet? | The Web Warriors

WordPress 5.2 Update – should you upgrade yet?

WordPress recently released version 5.2 with some impressive new features.

We’ve setup a dummy website to test the new features and give you a thumbs up or thumbs down on whether you should update your website yet.

In this article, we’ll go through:

What's new in WordPress 5.2?

Website Health Check

WordPress now has a tool (technically it was partly available in the previous version) that gives you feedback on your website’s health.

This tool covers the basics, including:

  • Outdated plugins
  • The size of the files in your website
  • The status of the technical framework
  • Is your site using a secure connection
  • Are automatic updates switched on

As WordPress web developers, we delve much deeper into a site’s health, but the above gives you a quick snapshot of your WordPress setup.

If you have upgraded to WordPress 5.2 you can access your website’s health by navigating to Tools > Site Health.

The screen will show you any test results that need to be addressed. A word of warning! Don’t aim for 100%. A perfectly healthy site could easily sit at 70%. We recommend speaking to your web developer about the results that this screen is displaying.

Death of “The White Screen of Death”

This is the best feature of the new version of WordPress. Basically, if your website ends up with code that breaks the site, it’ll still run the site to some extent.

In the old days, if you had broken code on your website – it would display a blank, white screen – the so called “white screen of death”.

The latest version of WordPress attempts to still run the site but display a web page that says the site is down for maintenance. This page can be customised with the help of a web developer.

Once again, in previous versions if your site was broken – nobody could access it unless they code access to the website code. The new version has a clever way of alerting the site administrator, and then giving them access so they can attempt to rectify the website. Hopefully the days of a completely broken site are gone.

A word of warning though! We’re a bit dubious about the security risks of this feature. We’ll be doing more research on this.

Security Enhancements

In previous versions of WordPress, there was a security hole where someone could pretend to be the official WordPress website – i.e. if your website did an automatic update, it would grab the code from their dodgy website rather than the official WordPress website.

The new version seems to have plugged up this security hole – so automated WordPress updates should be guaranteed to only come from the official WordPress website.

The verdict: should you upgrade to WordPress 5.2?

Our take on any new release of WordPress is to let everyone else update their website first then update yours a few days later. The only time we recommend an update is if there’s a genuine security threat.

This version of WordPress has a couple of great new features. Unless you absolutely MUST have them we recommend holding off an upgrade to WordPress 5.2 until the end of May, 2019.

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