8 December

Is WordPress 5.6 Going to Break Your WordPress Site in December 2020?

WordPress 5.6

Remember when WordPress 5.5 broke many websites earlier? You could face something like this time as well with the release of WordPress 5.6. WordPress 5.6 is going to make jQuery Migrate Helper Plugin “useless” which means some websites may break again. Anyone still depending on the jQuery Migrate Plugin may run into a problem.

WordPress 5.5 was released in August 2020 and eventually millions of WordPress websites across the internet broke. You need to get ready as WordPress 5.6 is going to do the same thing again. A WordPress development company and users need to look into what might cause WordPress websites to break and prepare accordingly.

Major Reasons Why WordPress 5.6 Might Break the Site

jQuery is a set of scripts that give websites functionality such as interactive elements, animation, making WordPress theme and plugin development much easier because it handles features that are common to websites and manipulates CSS. jQuery Migrate is a code that helps sites with plugins using older versions of jQuery to keep functioning.

After WordPress 5.5 rolled out, it caused millions of websites to break down. Hence, the company launched a new plugin, Enable jQuery Migrate Helper that aimed at restoring all the broken websites.

The WordPress 5.6 release aims at modernizing the use of jQuery by upgrading the jQuery Migrate library to the latest version 3.3.1. However, the impact on websites using the Enable jQuery plugin will be the same as with the WordPress 5.5, that is, millions of websites will break again. If you’ve indulged in WordPress website development, here‘s what you need to know.

According to the WordPress official announcement

  • “The first step was included with WordPress 5.5, which stopped enabling jQuery Migrate version 1.x by default.
  • As part of #50564, part two of this process was committed, which updated the bundled jQuery version to 3.5.1. Alongside this, jQuery Migrate was also updated to version 3.3.2
  • Do note that the Migrate script for version 3 is not compatible with features that the previous migrate script provided a polyfill for. The features that previously were marked as deprecated are no longer available. The purpose of jQuery Migrate version 3.3.2 in WordPress 5.6 is to help with updating (migrating) all jQuery based JavaScript from jQuery version 1.12.4 to 3.5.1.”

For websites still using the Enable jQuery Migrate Helper plugin to keep their website up and running, this functionality is going to break all over again.

So, the question is, if the Enable jQuery Migrate Helper plugin will still work with WordPress 5.6 release. Many WordPress website development companies are now updating their themes and plugins to the latest version of jQuery and fix the problem.

But still, there are many plugins and themes that are not maintained anymore and there may be some who have not updated their code yet. WordPress users relying on those products will likely to see their sites break down.

Besides, these issues, there’s one good thing about WordPress 5.6 release. Let’s read further to know what it is!

WordPress 5.6 is Beta Compatible with PHP 8

WordPress has offered guidance about the compatibility of the latest WordPress 5.6 version with PHP 8 and what that means for publishers. WordPress is going to update soon to version 5.6 that aims to be compatible with the latest PHP 8 version. WordPress, however, has cautioned that WordPress 5.6 should be considered as “beta-compatible” and explained why updating to PHP 8 version should be done carefully this time.

A Brief Overview of PHP Version Updates

PHP is a leading programming language that runs on a server to generate a web page. WordPress is based on PHP language. The latest version of PHP is PHP 8.0. Versions released prior to 7.2 have reached their end-of-life (EOL) and are being updated with security patches.

PHP 7.2 has also reached its end-of-life on November 30, 2020, which means it is no longer going to receive official support and security updates. This becomes crucial for websites still using the older version to upgrade to the latest version as running on the older version can expose them to potential security vulnerabilities. The new PHP 7.3 version is expected to reach its EOL on December 6, 2021.

WordPress Publishers Still Have Time until 2022 to Update to PHP 8

The PHP 7.4 version is going to reach its end of life on November 8, 2022. Technically, WordPress publishers still have two years to decide on when to upgrade to PHP 8. Practically, most WordPress publishers should be able to upgrade to PHP 8 version before that time.

If you’re new to the technical stuff, you may reach out to a professional WordPress development company for the required service.

Why WordPress 5.6 is Beta Compatible?

WordPress officially announced that the new WordPress version which is scheduled to be released in December 2020 should be compatible with PHP 8. However, WordPress has cautioned that it is still possible that various undiscovered incompatibilities, bugs, and errors may be present.

According to the official WordPress 5.6 guidance:

  • “It also should be acknowledged that WordPress is never used in isolation (without any theme or plugins), so WordPress itself being able to run on PHP 8 does not indicate “full” compatibility.
  • The state of PHP 8 support within the broader ecosystem (plugins, themes, etc.) is impossible to know. For that reason, WordPress 5.6 should be considered “beta compatible” with PHP 8.”

Will Updating to PHP 8 Break Your WordPress Site?

The new PHP 8 version has removed many old PHP functions from PHP 7.x. This means that themes and plugins that are still using the older version will break in PHP 8. According to Wordfence, there are currently over 5,500 plugins installed in millions of websites just for one of the functions. While in some cases these functions are used for backward compatibility, it’s not so on all the functions.

Upgrading to PHP 8 is not as easy as upgrading to its previous versions. You must hire professional WordPress developers to do the job for you.

Will Updating WordPress 5.6 Break Your Site?

If your site is currently using the Enable jQuery Migrate Helper plugin and when you notice error messages in your admin panel, then you may experience unexpected website behavior after upgrading to version 5.6.

If the Enable jQuery Migrate Helper is not indicating any error, it means that your themes and plugins have updated their jQuery libraries and the site will function optimally. All WordPress developers should take the necessary measures to update their plugins and themes so that they are compatible with WordPress 5.6.

We’re Always Here to Assist You!

As a leading WordPress development company in India, we are here to help you overcome all the hurdles that you face with your WordPress websites. We have a team of profoundly experienced and knowledgeable WordPress developers who keep pace with the latest technology developments and know-how to implement them to the best of their abilities. If you need to migrate to WordPress 5.6 version, we will make sure the upgrade process takes place smoothly, ensuring that all the plugins and themes are up-to-date and compatible with the new version without causing your WordPress site to break.

Frequently Asked Question


What happens if I update my WordPress site?

The primary reason for keeping your WordPress site up to date is for security. These updates aim at fixing potential security vulnerabilities. Therefore, by updating to the latest version of WordPress, you can rest assured of better security. Not keeping your WordPress updated may expose your website to malicious attacks and hackers. If you’re less confident of upgrading it on your own, you should consider hiring a professional WordPress website development company or freelance WordPress developers.

Is Will updating WordPress break my site?

Upgrading WordPress will not break your website until your themes are plugins compatible with the latest version of WordPress, or else it will.

Should I update WordPress software or plugins/themes first?

Just as WordPress core software receives regular updates, plugins, and themes also do, more frequently than WordPress. So first, make sure you update your plugins, and themes first.

How often should I Update WordPress plugins?

Just as you get your car serviced from time to time, you should consider updating your plugins at a minimum every few months. However, you must be careful when upgrading as it can break your site. Always make sure to create a complete backup of your website so that in case something went wrong, you can restore the previous version.

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