(the title is taken from a forum thread at WordPress.org)

WordPress 5.3 Kirk was released on November 12, 2019. It is named in honor of American jazz musician Rahsaan Roland Kirk and is the last major release for this year. It contains a lot of improvements and new exciting features. The most notable ones are the new default Twenty Twenty theme, lots of new features and improvements in the Gutenberg editor, several improvements related to the Site Health Tool, enhancements in the WordPress dashboard, improved performance, and many more. For a detailed overview of the new features, you could check the official WordPress 5.3 release notes.

This post will focus on some of the issues you may encounter after the update.

Warnings about an insecure PHP version

If you see warnings on your dashboard that your PHP version is outdated, you can easily change the PHP version for your account to the latest PHP version (7.3) through the hosting Control Panel -> PHP Settings -> Default PHP Version. If you prefer to change the PHP version only for some particular subdomain or directory, you could do this by following the instructions in our article on PHP versions.

Site Health Tool recommends installing the module Imagick.

You can enable the Imagick module by adding the following line to the global php.ini file for your account:

extension = imagick.so

The global php.ini file can be edited through the PHP Settings interface of the hosting Control Panel. Detailed instructions are available in our knowledge base article on PHP settings.

Errors displayed on websites using the OceanWP theme and Ocean Extra plugin (and others)

The popular Ocean Extra plugin has a compatibility issue with WordPress 5.3 that causes errors like the following to be displayed:

Warning: Declaration of QuietSkin::feedback($string) should be compatible with WP_Upgrader_Skin::feedback($string, …$args) in /home/username/wp-content/plugins/ocean-extra/includes/wizard/classes/QuietSkin.php on line 12

A quick fix is to change the following line in wp-content/plugins/ocean-extra/includes/wizard/classes/QuietSkin.php:

public function feedback($string) { /* no output */


public function feedback($string, ...$args) { /* no output */

You can easily edit the file QuietSkin.php through the File Manager interface of the hosting Control Panel.
We posted the same solution in the WordPress.org forums. As this plugin is quite popular, we suppose its developers will soon release an official update.

Update: Version of 1.5.19 of Ocean Extra that fixes this issue has been released.

Errors on websites using W3 Total Cache

If you are using the caching plugin W3 Total Cache, the following error could show up after the update:

Warning: Declaration of W3TC\DbCache_Wpdb::prepare($query, $args) should be compatible with wpdb::prepare($query, …$args) in /home/username/www//wwww/wp-content/plugins/w3-total-cache/DbCache_Wpdb.php on line 8

The issue was reported on GitHub.com and the W3 Total Cache developers will soon release an update that fixes it. In the meantime, you can disable the database cache via the WordPress dashboard -> Performance > General Settings -> Database Cache. Alternatively, you could disable the plugin.

As more websites get updated, new issues may arise. We will update this post with information about any major problems encountered by our customers. You can also check the WordPress 5.3 Master List on the WordPress forums for information about known issues and for general guidelines on what to do if there is some problem with the update.

Should you encounter any problems with the update, our support team is available 24/7 to assist you.