WordPress 5.6 Begins New Policy of Automatic Updates

Developers beware! WordPress released version 5.6 on December 8, 2020. This version begins a new policy of automatic updates to major versions for all fresh installations of 5.6. This means that if you create a new WordPress site with WordPress version 5.6, it will automatically be updated to WP version 5.7 when it comes out in 2021.

Existing sites that only update to 5.6, will not be subject to this policy. So if you are creating a new site but wish to maintain control over your updates, you have options. You may want to install an older version of WordPress rather than doing a fresh installation of 5.6. Then you can update that older version of WordPress to 5.6 and maintain control over future updates as well.

You can also define the constant WP_AUTO_UPDATE_CORE in your wp-config.php file:
define( ‘WP_AUTO_UPDATE_CORE’, ‘minor’ );

Preventing automatic updates in WordPress may be necessary to address the phasing out of the older core jQuery version which could have serious consequences for older plugins that depend upon it. View jQuery timeline It is also a consideration if you run plugins that are not updated in advance of a major WordPress release.

If you do allow auto updates of the core, you will also want to make sure you auto update plugins too.

To be sure, I am not advocating running older plugins. But let’s face reality here: some of the sites we manage have older plugins. And while we do our best to encourage site owners to update plugins, sometimes oftentimes a new version doesn’t exist. Which means custom development work is necessary. And the funds for that may not be available. Especially in today’s economy where small business owners are swirling in uncertainty.

One thing I am doing to address this issue, is to offer my clients a payment plan for custom development work. This is only available to existing clients with a payment history. But it is reassuring to them that they can get the work they need at a price they can afford. Even my financially healthy clients like the ability to spread out their development costs over several months.

This has been a crazy year all around and WordPress hasn’t helped with this jQuery timeline. So my hat is off to small business owners and my fellow developers out there. Hang in there.

Read more about the jQuery updates and how to test your site here:

Updating jQuery version shipped with WordPress

WordPress 5.6 “Simone”


Version 5.5: Remove the old jQuery Migrate 1.x script. Released August 2020
Version 5.6: Update to the latest jQuery and add the latest jQuery Migrate script. Released December 2020
Version 5.7: Remove the jQuery Migrate script entirely. Expected March 2021 but depends upon testing.