Will WordPress 5.9 break your website?

A client asked me yesterday whether their website will break when WordPress 5.9 is released this December and Gutenberg Full Site Editing is rolled out as part of WordPress core.

In this video, I’ll explain how your WordPress website should carry on running fine when WordPress 5.9 is released, and also explain the three different categoriesies of Themes we’ll see in 2022.

The 3 different categories of WordPress Theme we’ll see in 2022

We’ll be in a transition stage in 2022. There will be differences in how WordPress Themes approach and integrate Gutenberg Full Site Editing.

Below I explain the three different categories of Themes we’ll likely see.

1) Classic or ‘Old Skool’ WordPress Themes

Old Skool Themes will turn off Gutenberg’s Full Site Editing Functionality.

Initially, I expect the majority of existing Themes will fall into this category. My guess is that certain Themes, including the Divi theme, the Hello Theme (from Elementor), and Avada Theme will hold off turning on FSE for as long as possible – possibly forever. If your site is running one of these Themes you probably won’t notice any big changes when WordPress 5.9 is released. You’ll see be able to use the WordPress customizer, and the old WordPress menu system, and things will carry on much as they did before.

2) Hybrid WordPress Themes

Hybrid Themes will offer you the old way of doing things, but also give you the ability to use Full Site Editing if you so wish.

I expect Themes like Astra, Blocksy, Kadence, and our own 18tags Theme, to fall into this category. My prediction is that they won’t switch on Full Site editing Functionality until the later part of 2022 at the earliest. If your website is running one of these Themes, your website will continue to work as normal, and you probably won’t notice any big difference when WordPress 5.9 is released.

3) 100% Powered FSE Themes

100% FSE Themes will be 100% FSE from the start and built 100% for Gutenberg.

The main difference for you if you use one of these Themes is that you won’t see the WordPress customizer or the old WordPress menu system. Your whole website will be built with the Gutenberg Block Editor. The themes that fall into this category will be Tove, Clove, and the 2022 default WordPress Theme.

If you want to learn more about Gutenberg Full Site Editing check out my WordPress Gutenberg Full Site Editing for Beginners article.

6 thoughts on “Will WordPress 5.9 break your website?”

    1. I’ve just read a reply to a question from WooCommerce and it seems that Storefront will remain a classic theme.

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