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Craft CMS 5 is Released

With Craft CMS being our primary platform for building content management websites and eCommerce stores, we're very excited by the release of Craft 5 which was announced by Pixel & Tonic this week.

According to Pixel & Tonic, Craft 5 delivers on over a hundred improvements to modernised the control panel with a refined UI, introduces a raft of new security features and provides greater flexibility when planning out content models. All in all, Craft 5 is great news for content authors, developers and of course website owners. It brings added peace of mind with tighter security, gives content teams the ability to manage and publish content more efficiently and allows developers to really make the most of the platform by delivering ever more innovative solutions.

While it's true the licensing costs have risen recently, the total cost of ownership of Craft CMS remains low for mid to large sized website projects. And on the point of cost...

New Craft CMS Teams Edition

In addition to the Solo and Pro licensing editions, Craft 5 introduces a new middle tier called the Team edition.

This makes Craft CMS a great option for smaller organisations that don't require some of the complexity around user permissions typically found in larger organisations. This edition has been designed for marketing websites managed by small teams where there's no need for different groups or granular user permissions. In short, everyone shares the same level of access making it easy to add new users and for everyone across the team to contribute to the upkeep of your website content.

The Craft Team edition still has all of the features from Craft Solo—including the option to host multiple sites, GraphQL for those organisations where a headless architecture is appropriate, and advanced content previewing, one of our favourite features for publishing content.

Team licenses are priced at $279, and just $99 per year for ongoing updates after the first 12 months. Plus, there's always the option to simply upgrade to the Craft Pro edition if needed.

Should I Upgrade to Craft CMS 5?

Craft 5 is a major upgrade that will almost certainly require an element of developer support. Depending on the complexity of your website, you may require updates to your page templates or the underlying architecture of your site, especially where you have custom plugins installed.

One of the key requirements for Craft 5 is for PHP 8.2, so depending on the age of your current site and your hosting environment, you may also require a server upgrade at the same time.

Craft CMS 5 introduces lots of new functionality and security, so we will absolutely recommend upgrading to Craft 5. However, it's not just the new shiny features that lure us to the most recent release, but the benefits of keeping your site up to date which reduces the risk of problematics upgrades in the future.

It's also worth keeping an eye on the end of life policy for previous versions of Craft CMS which indicates when formal support is withdrawn, and when security updates will no longer be issued.

When should I upgrade to Craft 5?

As with any major software release, we're excited to see and use the new functionality it brings. However, despite thorough testing throughout it's development and a rigorous beta launch, bugs do appear in new software that can be specific to individual use cases. We won't be recommending immediate upgrades to Craft 5 for those on Craft 4 or even Craft 3 websites, but it's important to start planning a likely timescale to brining your site up to date.

One of the major barriers to an upgrade like this will typically be the availability of plugins for the most recent release. While developers have been able to prepare for the launch of Craft 5, not all have their plugins ready for the day one release - us included.

Craft 4.8.6 added a Craft 5 Upgrade Utility to list each of your installed plugins and whether a Craft 5 compatible version exists. We'd recommend upgrading to this version as a minimum so you can easily see which plugins your upgrade path is going to be dependent on.

Are you ready to upgrade to Craft 5?

We're Craft CMS specialists with experience maintaining and upgrading Craft websites since the early days of it's first release. Contact us to talk about upgrading your Craft CMS or Craft Commerce website and find out how we can support you with ongoing maintenance and new feature development.

Talk to us about a Craft CMS Upgrade
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Andrew is the founder of multi-award winning A Digital and believes that technology should be an enabler, making a positive impact on the way people live and work.

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