If you have a WordPress site, you may have seen this note in your dashboard. And, you may or may not have heard any of the hullabaloo swirling around this update. Any software update that affects the first number indicates a major technology change. In this case, it’s a shift from PHP to REST API, JavaScript, and React. I would say that it’s just changing programming language, but the new languages bring with them a new way to think about the structures that make a website.

The big concern for website owners, who may not even know what language their website is built in and probably don’t care, is what will happen to my website with this change?

The first thing is that the current update will affect how your Dashboard works, not the view of your site that your visitors see. But, that will affect your work flow. In changing their paradigm, the folks who built WordPress have decided that you will have to change yours too. But, they think it’s a change that you will like … at least in time. And later, the updates will affect the front side of your site, as well.

First, Always Do a Backup

Ultimately, the website owner is responsible for the site, no matter who does the work, just like a car owner is responsible to change the oil in a car, whether they do it themselves or have someone else do it. With software that involves a multitude of technologies, you never know what will break. With any website, there are many technologies in play. With a WordPress site, there are

  1. The server software
  2. The WordPress core
  3. The theme
  4. Each one of the plugins
  5. Customizations – hopefully in the form of a child theme

The web host is responsible to take care of the server, but the website owner is responsible for the rest.

Almost all the information you have entered on your site through the dashboard, including customizations,  is in the database. You can backup the database through a plugin, such as BackWPUp or by going to the database tool in your hosting account. Most web hosts with Linux servers have a tool called PHPMyAdmin. Instructions for backing up your database with PHPMyAdmin can be found by clicking this link.

Your WordPress core files, your theme files, your plugins and the media you have added to your site are in the file structure.

 

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