New WordPress version creates chaos

The latest big update of WordPress from 5.4 to version 5.5 is a great example of how our services work. Version 5.5 had some core changes and this broke dozens of very popular plugins that thousands upon thousands of websites were using. WordPress announced the new version and warned for the possibility of this happening….. in the release notes.

Most users of the WordPress use a plugin for automatically updating their installation, a significant portion of the community bashes the update button as soon as they are prompted. And for those who bother with the release notes before installing would have a hard time understanding what is written there without an in-depth knowledge of how WordPress works as a CMS.

What ensued was chaos.

This week, as thousands of websites, installed the 5.5 update and they malfunctioned or even went down. Some website holders didn’t even know something was wrong until they got a mail from loyal visitors, or worse, saw a drop in sales for no reason. Support departments all over the world scrambled to find workarounds, roll-back the update and repair the damage done.

Not WebFriendly. Not their clients either.

Since we have an in-depth knowledge of how WordPress works, we read the release notes and understood what was written there. That’s why we held off on updating our own and our clients’ sites. In the notes of last week’s digital meeting I read: “Hold off on 5.5 until 5.5.1 patch has been released and investigated” and “Test 5.5 on the cloned website in dev environment” (It broke…)

What baffles me is that so many hosting and support companies around the world fell into the upgrade blackhole that WordPress created. And it feels good to know that WebFriendly as a company but also as a team, got through this little hiccup and the security procedures that we have in place to prevent a mishap like this from ever happening to your site worked like a charm.

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