How to fix your broken website after upgrading to WordPress 5.5

Another day, another major WordPress update. If you’ve read the cliff notes on the WordPress 5.5 release, you might be excited about the prospect of speeding up your site with lazy loading images, or the much-needed UI improvements that came for the block editor.

One major change that didn’t seem to garner much attention were the changes to jQuery. Boring! Until it breaks your site.

jQuery Update is Causing Issues

jQuery is a library of functions that makes it easier to write JavaScript and accomplish fun things like animations, slideshows, and advanced functionality.

WordPress 5.5 introduced a new version of jQuery. That’s good. However, it also removed the jQuery Migrate plugin, which if you are still reading this blog post, was probably bad for you.

What is jQuery Migrate and What Does (Did) it Do?

Every time a new version of jQuery is released, various functions get retired and/or replaced. jQuery Migrate is a handy script that patches those holes and allows older scripts to keep working despite being incompatible with newer versions of the popular library.

In short, it is designed to buy developers time while they update their scripts to fall in line with the latest standards. With the removal of jQuery Migrate, any code that is not compatible with the new version of jQuery will break.

What did it break?

A ton of stuff, like thousands of plugins and themes. Common symptoms of sites affected by the removal of jQuery Migrate include:

  • Broken dropdown menus
  • Non-functioning slideshows
  • Visual editor does not work for the Classic Editor (Text only)
  • Yoast SEO UI is broken
  • Animations not firing in WP Bakery (woof!)
  • Lightboxes don’t work
  • General “funkiness”, and not in the Flea kind of way

How to solve your broken WordPress 5.5 site

Solution 1: Update your plugins

The errors you are experiencing are due to outdated JavaScript code. As developers receive bug reports, they will update their code to be in line with the standards. Hopefully.

Major plugins with very active development cycles like Yoast SEO and Classic Editor should soon have a fix. The plugin you use to turn the mouse cursor into a butterfly… you may be waiting some time, and maybe that’s for the best.

Solution 2: Update your theme and scripts

Layout issues like broken dropdown menus may be related to your theme. Installing the latest version can remedy this. If there is no update for your theme, you may be able to source a newer version of the broken script and install it yourself. For example, older versions of the SuperFish dropdown script don’t jive with the new jQuery, so installing the latest version should fix your woes.

Solution 3: Enable jQuery Migrate Helper Plugin

Here’s the magic bullet (until WP 5.6 at least). Install and enable this plugin to get jQuery Migrate back. Bonus: this plugin will also let you know what is no longer compatible with the new version of jQuery so you can fix it, or file a bug report with the relevant authorities (plugin police?).

Solution 4: Hire someone to worry about this for you

Is this the last straw? Do you need a new partner for your broken WordPress site? We can help with our WordPress rescue mission service. We will get your website’s health in check and set you up with a website maintenance plan so you never have to worry about another unexpected update destroying your hard work.

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