WordPress 4.9.6 was released on Thursday, May 17 amidst much hand-wringing. It contained a lot of updates mostly having to do with the upcoming GDPR and privacy rules taking effect in the European Union on May 25.
If you are a plugin or theme developer, these changes will have a significant impact on how you modify existing and create new themes and plugins. Even if you aren’t knee-deep in WP development, there are still a few gotchas along the way that might hinder a smooth upgrade.
But first, here’s a synopsis of what’s been updated.
- The biggy is GDPR compliance. So 4.9.6 contains some handy tools for data export and deletion.
- TinyMCE has been updated to squash quite a few bugs.
Now onto some of the bug fixes and issues you might encounter along the way.
- First, there is a witch’s brew of plugins that when combined together may cause havoc during an upgrade. Apparently this particular bug is cause by wp-admin/includes/misc.php being loaded via wp_add_privacy_policy_content() when an rewrite flush is requested outside of the admin context. That combo leads to save_mod_rewrite_rules function_exists check to pass. That function assumes wp-admin/includes/file.php has been loaded, which isn’t true in this case. A patch is being planned.
- When you upgrade, an entry for “core.updater.lock” is added to your options table in the database. After the upgrade it is removed. If the upgrade failed, this record will still be intact. Here’s a tutorial on how to fix. http://www.wpbeginner.com/wp-tutorials/how-to-fix-another-update-in-process-error-in-wordpress/
And remember, before performing an upgrade, be sure you backup your data and database. You can use any number of backup plugins available, or you can (if you are comfortable doing so) login to your host’s cPanel or dashboard and use PHPMyAdmin to export a copy of your SQL file. You can also use the WordPress exporter to export an XML file of your posts, pages and other content.
If you want to ensure your site is GDPR-compliant, I highly recommend WP Fix It’s GDPR service. They will do a complete site audit of your forms and plugins to make sure everything is GDPR-ready.
Once the strict requirements of the GDPR go live on May 25, if you are managing a WP site that allows users to login, be sure they know that they can download or erase their privacy data. That is found in the WordPress Dashboard under Tools > Export Personal Data or Tools > Erase Personal Data. If your site is closed — that is, if you do not allow other users to login — and you receive this request, you can comply in the same way. Always keep logs of this kind of activity so that you can prove you have complied, should that ever become an issue.
If you have a WordPress-driven site but are hesitant to perform the upgrade yourself, contact us and we’ll be happy to help you with the process.
Joni Mueller has been designing web sites for hire since 2003, when she first blew up her web host’s server by insisting on running Greymatter. Since then, Joni has designed for Blogger and Movable Type, TextPattern, WordPress and CMS Made Simple. She lives with her cat and shoe collection in a bucolic old section of Houston called Idylwood. For some strange reason, Joni likes to refer to herself in the third person. When she’s not working on web design, she’s ordering lawyers around. And blogging about it. Or both.