What’s New In WordPress 5.5 (aka Eckstine)
There are several new and updated features in the latest WordPress 5.5 version, with three main focuses: speed, search, and security. Let’s take a look at some of the exciting changes.
- Lazy loaded images on pages and posts
- Default sitemaps
- Auto-update for plugins and themes
- Zip file upload for updates
- Block editor updates
- Block patterns
- Block directory
- Inline image editing
- Developer updates
- Defining environments
- Passing data to template files
- Server-side registered blocks in REST API
- And more
To see all of the updates for developers, check out the official press release from WordPress.
Let’s Dive In
Lazy loading images on posts and pages allow these large files to wait until they become visible on the user’s screen before rendering. This delay can save a massive amount of load time and significantly improve site speed, enhancing user experience and engagement.
Default XML sitemaps will help search engines discover your most important content and push it to search results that match your content and relevance. From the very second you go live; search engines will now be able to find your web pages faster and thus show them in results sooner. Previously, you had to use a plugin and manually submit to this information to search engines.
You also have the option to select auto-updates for themes and plugins so that you know your site is always running the latest code and versions. You can update one plugin at a time, or choose to update them all at once. You also have the option to turn this feature off if desired. Keeping your theme and plugins up to date will help with security. If updating plugins and themes via file upload is more your style, you can now upload a zip file to update various elements of your website.
Within the block editor, several changes assist in making beautiful and complex layouts to tell your story. Block patterns help mix and match text and media to make your pages stand out to a new visitor. An updated block directory helps to make it easier to find the blocks you want. This update is sure to save designers some time and effort. When it comes to altering images, you can now edit them right in the image block with the option to crop, zoom, and rotate.
When To Update
Should you update to the newest version right away or wait for a few weeks is the big question floating around? There may be a handful of bugs and conflicts at the first launch with any new WordPress update. We recommend waiting for a few weeks, so they have time to resolve any issues. Plugins and themes continuously update and change, so updating a new WordPress version may cause some conflict within your theme or active plugins. These could cause your website to break or even go down. Even if you only have a handful of plugins with a relatively simple theme, you may want to play it safe and hold off on updating. And above all, backup, backup, backup!
Pros of WordPress 5.5
- Easier time finding blocks to design the perfect pages and posts.
- Enhanced options and rules for making developers lives easier
- Improved site speed with lazy loading
- Default sitemap to get your site ranking faster
- Enhanced accessibility features
Cons of WordPress 5.5
- Auto-updates may cause plugins to break and websites to go down
- Possible bugs and errors within the new version that may mess things up
- Sitemap not including the most important content
- Plugins or themes may not be compatible with this new version
Next Steps For Business Owners And Developers
Now that you know what is packed inside of the update, it is time to review your site and see if the update will make things easier, faster, or change nothing at all. With smaller websites, the update may make your life simpler with the block editor additions and speed enhancements. This may be a new learning curve for developers, which may take some time to adjust and fully understand. And for larger, more complex sites, you may want to take some time to explore the benefits and negatives the update can provide to you. Regardless of your site size and role, this update moves things in the right direction when building and designing for a faster and more secure WordPress website.
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