What is happening?
WordPress has announced that it's "officially ending support for Internet Explorer versions 8, 9, and 10, starting with WordPress 4.8."
Microsoft officially discontinued supporting these browsers themselves in January 2016.
Matt Mullenwig states in his announcement:
"I realize that folks still running these browsers are probably stuck with them because of something out of their control, like being at a library or something. Depending on how you count it, those browsers combined are either around 3% or under 1% of total users, but either way they’ve fallen below the threshold where it’s helpful for WordPress to continue testing and developing against."
What does that mean to me?
Nothing, at least not immediately, if you use Internet Explorer (IE) to edit your WordPress site. The change means that WordPress will stop testing for compatibility in IE of new core features, namely the new editor. After the 4.8 release, you might notice less capability in the admin of your site if you're using one of those older browser versions.
If you don't use IE then you have nothing to worry about.
What does that mean for visitors on my site?
Nothing, if they are only browsing. This change is for Administrators and anyone who is accessing the admin area of the website.
Why Internet Explorer?
The market for IE is steadily decreasing and the technical complexity of software is increasing. In order to make way for progress, there must be a reset for technical minimums in the WordPress core code. WordPress is actually one of the few systems that still supports older versions of IE. It's not even a question with other platforms.
What do I need to do?
The immediate idea here is that you need to be open to trying a new browser or at least updating your version of IE. If you've got an editing process that relies on the older versions then you should start shopping now. WordPress has accelerated its core release cycle. The last major release was in December 2016, and the official release of version 4.8 is scheduled for June 8.
The bigger picture is that the internet you know and use every day is not the best or most advanced experience you could be having. Even the big players have extensions and tools that could be making your internet life way better or much cooler.
Browsehappy.com is a great resource for looking at the current browsers available if you are ready for a change. It also includes a link to Microsoft's newest browser, Edge, that is currently available for Windows 10. Currently, there are no official statements about WordPress support for Edge browser but you can find plenty examples of it being used successfully to view WordPress websites with no issues.
What if I can't move on?
If you're still working on those older versions of IE that's a clear symptom of change aversion, which many people have. It's ok to be hesitant or churlish about it but there is a MUCH better internet experience out there for you, I promise! Update or download one of the bigger and better browsers like Chrome or Firefox.
If you're bound to your version by your company or institution then you need to have a serious chat with whoever controls that policy. (I'll be happy to chat with them personally about the merits and security of software updates, email@example.com, it's what we do after all.) It's happening whether they like it or not.
Outdated browsers, IE or otherwise, make your computer unsafe! Even your bank has a minimum browser requirement. I'll wait while you look it up.
Bottom line is, if you've got a tablet or use any apps on your phone then you already know how much better being online can be. Mobile usage is soaring past desktop usage, so the fight for any browser to stay alive, especially Internet Explorer, is entering the final rounds. It's either time to innovate or prepare for the big KO. Chrome has been ahead of the game since 2011.
If you've got any questions about this announcement or change feel free to drop us a line anytime. We're here to help and we believe in making the internet a better place by informing as many folks as we can about things that matter and ways to help themselves.