WordPress 5.x Gutenberg Will Temporarily Increase Maintenance Costs

A major update to WordPress was released on December 6th, 2018 that changes the Visual Editor experience and modifies some of the core underpinnings of WordPress.  The change to the Visual Editor is significant, but WordPress 5.0 itself is different enough to where it has an increased risk of breaking some functionality in a WordPress website. For these reasons, if you contract with me to maintain your website you might incur a higher bill than usual, but not without authorizing the estimate first. My Standard Contract’s section on Future Proofing, which remains unchanged for the past year and which all Project Plans require agreement to, describes this possibility in detail.

Here’s what you need to know about how I intend to manage the transition for your website to WordPress 5.0 Gutenberg. The cost for this work will be individual to your build. Because these changes are dramatic, I will need to clone your website and run these upgrade tests on the clone first. Once I’m satisfied of the results, you will be contacted to login into your clone and verify my claim of stability. Then, we will determine a time together for the upgrade to happen on your live site. Depending on what was found on the clone, your site might need to go offline for a few hours in order to get the elbow room needed to run the upgrade and deal with any unexpected issues.

I will temporarily install the Classic Editor plugin Automattic™ provides (Automattic is the organization that makes WordPress) to prevent the major changes to the Visual Editor from taking hold . This plugin largely disables some of the other core changes to WordPress 5.0 as well, easing the impact on your website but still getting you to version 5.0.

This will get you WordPress 5.0 with the Classic Editor installed. This is a stop-gap measure. I do not want my clients to avoid upgrading to WordPress 5.0 indefinitely.  Eventually using Gutenberg’s new Visual Editor is likely to be mandatory, but nobody knows how long the current grace period will last: it could be a few months, could be longer. Either way, it gives you time to learn how to use Gutenberg (I’ll source training materials and such to make this easier for you, and post those resources on this website) and gives me time to run tests to verify compatibility with your particular website. The maintenance work is billed according to your FlexSupport plan.

If you do modify your build and implement the Gutenberg Editor yourself or upgrade to WordPress 5. 0 on your own, this action cannot be undone without restoring your website from a backup. So, if you do this yourself and it causes problems, please remember that my Standard Contract states I don’t do emergencies but will try my best to get you back to “normal” as fast as possible. My advice is that you avoid the additional cost for such help and leave the Classic Editor intact for now.

Targeting  WordPress 5.x Upgrades for January

WordPress 5.0 Gutenberg will likely go through numerous and rapid revisions over the next month. This means it’s better to wait to upgrade until a few 5.x releases are behind us, probably sometime around January 2019. Since your website was built with my security paradigm, the security risks to you are minimal for now if you don’t upgrade for awhile. Non-core components, such as plugins, will continue to be updated as usual.

When it comes time to authorize the work in January for WordPress 5.0 compatibility testing and remediation under your FlexSupport plan, I will let you know and we can work out the details on timing and estimated cost.

This may or may not include implementing the Gutenberg Visual Editor changes. Depending on what I find, it might be my recommendation that we upgrade your site to 5.0 with the Classic Editor plugin intact.

Learning Gutenberg

For some of you this will be a non-issue in terms of website compatibility. Your invoice for maintenance and security services through SMASH won’t be any different because maintaining a clone of your site is already done according to your individual FlexSupport plan. However, the changes to the Visual Editor are significant enough to where you will have to take time to learn it. While I can provide training and support as you go through this learning curve and bill such services according to your FlexSupport plan, it is likely that you will want the clone created for this transition to remain online for awhile as you practice with it. This “training clone” is not something I can interact with for maintenance testing without causing problems for you, so it will have to be an additional clone. When that is the case, the ongoing hosting fees for that clone are billed as well. If the clone also requires maintenance, that is invoiced according to your FlexSupport plan.

Please feel free to contact me directly to discuss any questions or concerns you might have, and make sure you are familiar with the Standard Contract that was used to build your website and covers all other provided other services. Be assured that you will not incur any billable services without explicitly authorizing it.

(970) 541-0145