We Updated to WordPress 5.2- Have You?


Fatal error protection and site health check
The image that greets you when you update.

Notable Improvements

  • Two new pages in Site Health
  • Fatal error protection – goodbye “White Screen of Death!”
  • Minimum PHP version is now 5.6.20

Find out how to enable automatic WordPress updates safely with automatic backups.

WordPress 5.2 – “Jaco”

WordPress 5.2 “Jaco” was released this week, and we think that it’s the best WordPress has ever been. In the tradition of major WordPress releases, it was nicknamed after a famous Jazz musician.

Site Health has added two new screens for you to help keep your site running smoothly- Status will show you warnings and improvements you can make for security, stability, and performance. Info will show you a ton of information about your server environment and your website, including the ability to easily copy that information so that you can provide it to your support staff or developer.

Error Protection will give site owners peace of mind— and more importantly a path to recovery— in case a Plugin or Theme is creating a fatal error. In past versions, this caused the dreaded phenomenon “White Screen of Death.” (links to a Google search with 37 Million results) Now you’ll be able to log into your Dashboard in Recovery Mode and fix the error or disable the plugin or theme that was causing it.

WordPress 5.2 updates the minimum PHP version to 5.6.20. While this might not sound exciting to non-programmers, it is actually a huge step. WordPress powers one-third of the entire web. Where WordPress goes, so does the rest of the internet. And PHP versions older than that have been past their end of life for over 3 years. By leading this change, WordPress will make the entire internet faster and more secure.

Hiccups along the way – make a WordPress Backup!

Any time you update WordPress, you should make sure you have a full WordPress backup in case anything goes wrong. This time, we needed it.

Some pages in our Support Center relied on the function get_search_form() in order to display the WordPress search bar. Many Plugins and Themes use this function to display the search bar, and it hasn’t changed since waaaay back in version 2.7! WordPress 5.2 introduced an improved version of the function that wasn’t entirely backward compatible.

How we resolved the bug.

This function had always accepted a TRUE/FALSE argument in order to either echo or return the code for the search form. Normally, you want this to be false. Now, the function takes an array of arguments in order to make room for an accessibility update to improve WordPress for users with assistive technology, like a screen-reader.

If you’re using get_search_form in your Theme, Plugins, or Shortcodes we made the following change to get it to work.

The old way:

function my_get_search_form() {
	return get_search_form( ); //Defaults to $echo = false;

The new way:

function my_get_search_form() {
	return get_search_form( [ 'echo' => false ] ); 

The team at WordPress has already patched this issue and scheduled it to go out with version 5.2.1, but in the meantime, this code should fix the issue if you have it. 

Happy Updating – and don’t forget to make a WordPress backup!