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How to Test WordPress 5 Beta on a WordPress Site

With the WordPress 5 update looming, it’s a good idea to test your WordPress site to make sure it’s compatible with the new changes. If you do not test your site, the new update may cause errors on your site.

Testing the WordPress 5 Update on a WP Optimized Hosting Account

These instructions are only applicable to WP Enthusiast, WP Professional, and WP Professional Plus accounts.

Step 1: Create a Site Backup

The first step is to create a backup of your site just in case something goes wrong in any of the future steps.

Learn about taking manual backups in our article, How to Take Manual Backups on WP Hosting Accounts.

Step 2: Set Up Staging Site

You can test WordPress sites on a WP Optimized hosting account by using the staging area. The staging area will allow you to pull the current site and copy it onto a test site. For specific instructions about how to do this, see our article, How to Copy Your Live Site to Your WP Staging Area.

Be sure to choose the Copy Live WordPress Site button. This button will copy your current website to the staging area, so you don’t have to re-install all your plugins and theme.

Step 3: Put WordPress 5 on Your Site

Once you have created the staging site, you can begin testing your WordPress site with WordPress 5. To test, you need to install and activate the WordPress Beta Tester plugin on the staging site. This plugin will enable you to put the beta version of the WordPress 5 update onto your site.

Once it is installed and activated, you need to complete a few steps to enable WordPress 5 on your site:

  1. In the left sidebar, hover over the Tools tab
  2. In the drop-down, click Beta Testing
  3. Select Bleeding edge nightlies and click Save Changes
  4. At the bottom of the page, click head on over and upgrade now
  5. Click Update Now
  6. If it asks you to update your database, do it, then click Continue

This will update your staging site to WordPress 5.

Step 4: Test Your Site

Once the WordPress Beta Tester plugin has been installed, your site will begin running on the new updated software. This is the time to check your site to see if anything has broken. You can check the staging site by going to the Staging URL.staging url image

The staging URL will be displayed in the staging area of your WP hosting account.

Once on your staging site, check your site for anything that might be out of place or incorrect. Below, we’ve included a brief checklist of things to review during this process:

  • Check each webpage type and customized pages (post, page, homepage, category page, etc.)
  • Check any customized formatting
  • Check any forms on site
  • Check any special plugin functionality on site
  • View site from a smartphone or tablet
  • Try creating a new page or post
  • Make sure the wp-admin section is accessible and functioning

If you find anything out of place or broken, you can begin troubleshooting. See the Troubleshooting Problems section for troubleshooting techniques and tips.

Testing the WordPress 5 Update on a pairSIM WordPress Installation

If you have a pairSIM WordPress installation on a Shared, VPS, or Dedicated account, your testing process will be different from the instructions for a WP Optimized Hosting account.

Step 1: Create a Site Backup

The first step is to create a backup of your site just in case something goes wrong in any of the future steps. To fully backup your pairSIM WordPress installation, you need to take a backup of the files and its database. Find instructions for how to take file and database backups in these articles:

Step 2: Create another WordPress Installation

To keep your live site from being affected by your tests, you need to create another WordPress installation. You can do this on a free .pairsite subdomain. To learn more about setting up a subdomain, see our How to Set Up Domains article.

Once you have a domain selected, perform the pairSIM WordPress installation on that domain.

This new installation will enable you to test your WordPress site with the new update.

Step 3: Copy Site Data from Your Live Installation to Your Test Installation

To test your site, you need to replicate your live site data onto the test installation. You can do this by downloading all the data, then importing it into the site.

Step 4: Put WordPress 5 on Your Site

Once you have created the test site, you can begin testing your WordPress site with WordPress 5. To test, you need to install and activate the WordPress Beta Tester plugin on the staging site. This plugin will enable you to put the beta version of the WordPress 5 update onto your site.

Once it is installed and activated, you need to complete a few steps to enable WordPress 5:

  1. In the left sidebar, hover over the Tools tab
  2. In the drop-down, click Beta Testing
  3. Select Bleeding edge nightlies and click Save Changes
  4. At the bottom of the page, click head on over and upgrade now
  5. Click Update Now
  6. It may ask you to update your database as well. If so, do it and then click Continue

This will update your staging site to WordPress 5.0.

Step 5: Test Your Site

Once the WordPress Beta Tester plugin has been installed, your site will begin running on the new update software. This is the time to check your site to see if anything has broken.

Once on your staging site, check your site for anything that might be out of place or incorrect. Below, we’ve included a brief checklist of things to review during this process:

  • Check each webpage type and customized pages (post, page, homepage, category page, etc.)
  • Check any customized formatting
  • Check any forms on site
  • Check any special plugin functionality on site
  • View site from a smartphone or tablet
  • Try creating a new page or post
  • Make sure the wp-admin section is accessible and functioning

If you find anything out of place or broken, you can begin troubleshooting. See the Troubleshooting Problems section for troubleshooting techniques and tips.

Troubleshooting Problems

If you have identified a problem, here are some ways to troubleshoot it:

Go through your plugins

Some plugins will be incompatible with the new update. If you happen to have one such plugin installed on your site, it could be causing errors or flawed formatting.

To troubleshoot, begin disabling your plugins one by one. Each time you disable one, go and check your live site. If you have Varnish Cache installed (WP Enthusiast, WP Professional, and WP Professional Plus have this installed by default), you may have to clear your cache to see changes. If the problem persists after clearing your cache and disabling the plugin, you should move on to test the next plugin.

Switch your theme

If the plugins aren’t the problem, try switching to another theme. It could be that your theme is not compatible with the new update. If this is the case, you may want to check the theme’s documentation to see if an update is scheduled to make it compatible.

Check the forums

Many people are testing their sites with the beta plugin. Because of this, many problems have already been posted and solved on various tech forums throughout the web. If none of the above solutions solve the problem, you may want to search the web for anyone who has previously encountered (and potentially solved) the issue.

When Finished Testing

When you have finished testing your site and everything is in order, you’re ready for the update release. If you did have to troubleshoot and make changes to your site, you will need to repeat the process on your live site before the update.

If you are on a WP Optimized hosting account, you can use the staging area to move changes from your staging to the live site.

Updated on November 9, 2018

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