WordPress 5.2 Upgrade!

Before I start. Yikes. This layout with the twenty nineteen default layout is oogly when I switched over from twenty seventeen.

This is very odd for me to write in this new kind of layout. Many people have already made the switch to WordPress 5.2 a while ago and some have even asked me when I’ll switch. I honestly thought I did a few months ago at a local WordPress Meetup until someone asked me what version I was on. I looked up the version and I was at 4.8 I think? I made the assumption that WordPress updated automatically for me since that’s how I set it up. The issue was that my hosting was at a lower PHP version that didn’t support the new upgrade and therefore didn’t upgrade it automatically. I did some digging and saw that it was a way outdated version of PHP that was probably a huge risk on my end.

So It Begins

The other day I decided to update the PHP for my hosting so I could update to version 5.2 and experience all the Gutenberg loveliness. Upon updating the PHP, I had another window up to click the button to officially update WordPress. That’s where the crap show started. The 500 Internal Error showed up and it wasn’t going away. I sat on it for a day and came back to the screen still showing up. Sorry for those who tried to view my site that day. So what did I do? Here’s a quick scramble timeline of what I did:

  • Google what a 500 Internal Server Error is and how I can fix it.
  • Deactivate plugins by renaming the folder plugins-deactivated. Failure
  • Delete wp-admin and wp-includes and replace with brand new 5.2 files. Failure.
  • Do that a second time, cause I’m pretty sure I messed it up the first time some how. Failure.
  • Backup my content folder, cause why haven’t I done that yet?!
  • Download an old version of WordPress 5.1.
  • Delete wp-admin and includes folder a 3rd time but this time upload the 5.1 WordPress. Eureka!
  • Reload page. Goes to a D path error something er other. Failure.
  • Delete admin/includes and upload a farther version of 5.1. Eureka!
  • Wait. Not Eureka. I got into my admin, but my site is blank. Failure.
  • I was still able to get into my admin, so I deactivated all my plugins and update to the newest version of WordPress hoping that would work.
  • The version did update, however I did still keep with the blank white screen.
  • Switched theme to twenty nineteen. Eureka!

It’s Alive!

Now that my site had content live again, I was happy. Well, kind of happy because the theme made it look like a plain text site from 1995. Doh! I decided to drop it back to twenty seventeen and see if that worked. It did! It was quite a whirlwind of frustration. Normally I wouldn’t care because I’m not really trying to impress anybody or show anything off. However, I recently applied for a talk at WordCamp Ann Arbor and I knew coming up with a non-working WordPress site on top of a meh default theme would just be the final blow.

I hope you enjoyed reading about my experience of what exactly went down when a random person such as myself had an issue. What caused it? From digging further, I found out that the update to WordPress 5.2 with my plugins activated may have been the issue. I’m not 100% sure since I did deactivate, but I’m sure at that point it was too late.


Cliff Nowicki is a product designer by day and freelance designer by night. If you’re looking to get a new website, then go to the contact page and send him a message.