After WordPress 5.5 was released in August, millions of websites broke, this is because WordPress is on a planned three-phase rollout to modernise the use of jQuery.
jQuery is a set of scripts that gives websites functionality like animation, provides interactive elements to web pages, makes creating plugins and themes easier because it handles features common to websites and manipulates CSS with it. But although older versions of jQuery are still being used in many sites in their plugins and themes these older jQuery libraries contain Cross Site Scripting (XSS) and Denial of Service (DoS) vulnerabilities, which can lead to your site being hacked.
With WordPress 5.5 came the first step to modernise WordPress by forcing the ecosystem to update their code and more away from these older vulnerable versions of jQuery. This first step of the journey was to remove the jQuery Migrate 1.x library. This library was a sticky plaster to allow plugins that use older versions of jQuery to continue functioning – it gave WordPress backwards compatible with plugins and themes that still use older jQuery scripts.
Although WordPress announced these steps months ahead of time, many developers didn’t use this ample warning to update their software which lead to millions of website to stop working. Some people were locked out of their sites, others saw their entire sites stop displaying entirely. Luckily this was only affecting the front-end – the database wouldn’t be affected.
So to fix this issue with slow to act developers, WordPress released a plugin called Enable jQuery Migrate, which meant websites were restored and worked as before.
So here comes WordPress 5.6 and stage two – here they will update the jQuery Migrate library to the latest version, 3.3.1. So if the developers have not used the last 4 months to brink their software up to speed, those still relying on the “Enable jQuery Migrate Helper” to keep their sites from falling apart are going to suffer all over again. This is going to affect the many sites that still use the many themes and plugins that are no longer being maintained or who’s developers have not yet updated their code.
Is WordPress 5.6 Going to Break Your Site?
So, if you’re currently using the Enable jQuery Migrate Helper plugin and when you are logged into the admin panel and you see error messages, then yes, you may experience unexpected website behaviour when WordPress updates to version 5.6.
If the Enable jQuery Migrate Helper isn’t reporting any errors that means your themes and plugins have updated their jQuery libraries and the site should function well.