WordPress 5.5 is finally out. The content management system that powers most of the web has received a major update. If you are using WordPress or plan to host a website, you should check this out.
As I said WordPress is the most popular CMS in the world. With great power comes great responsibility. WordPress team keeps releasing security and optimization updates regularly.
In WordPress 5.5, the team has focused on three aspects, speed, search, and security.
What’s New In WordPress 5.5?
WordPress 5.5 focuses on three S, security, search, and speed. Let’s start with security.
Auto-updates for plugins & themes
A much-awaited feature in WordPress is the ability to update plugins and themes automatically.
Most security threats for your WordPress website come from additional plugins. It is common for plugins developers to miss to implement proper security precautions. We often read news of WordPress plugins having XSS, Unauthenticated file download vulnerability, and a ton of other vulnerabilities. For a full list, check out wpvulndb.
But the benefit of using any open-source software is that hundreds of developers keep auditing popular plugins. Any vulnerability discovered in WP plugins is patched before it’s exploited in the wild. So to keep sites secure, it is immensely important to keep all plugins up-to-date.
It often happens that the site admin miss updating a certain plugin. The update may contain a security fix or it is just a sweet feature release. WordPress will now take care of it all. It will check for plugins and themes updates twice a day. If the admin has toggled on the auto-update on plugins, then WordPress will apply any available update automatically.
Lazy Loading images
All the images on website only load when visitor scrolls them into view.
Lazy Lading is another important feature to have shipped with WordPress 5.5. What it does is when a visitor opens your website, WordPress does not load all the images at ones. It only loads the images that are into view. The rest of the images are only loaded when the visitor scrolls them into view.
It reduces the number of requests to the server when a website is loading and improves website loading time. Earlier lazy loading was available through additional plugins or themes. Jetpack also provides lazy loading feature for images. If your WordPress site has jetpack installed, you can now disable lazy loading feature in Jetpack.
A website sitemap is the page that contains all the websites links such as pages, posts, media, and so on.
WordPress 5.5 has also focused on improving website indexability in search engines by including the XML sitemap. An XML sitemap will help search engines discover new content quickly.
Sitemap is an important part of every website. Usually website sitemaps are created & managed by SEO plugins such as Yoast and Rank Math. These SEO plugins do not only create sitemaps but also let the website admin add or remove specific part of the website safely.
The sitemap created by WordPress is not editable safely and easily. There is no option for removing media or posts or specific types of content from sitemap.
Update plugins & themes by uploading zip file
Plugin & themes can be manually updated.
Another important feature in the new release is website admins can now upload plugins easily by uploading a zip file of plugin or theme.
What’s new in block editor
Block editor makes it really simple to create and edit pages in WordPress.
In each release, WordPress makes it easier to design complex pages. In WordPress 5.5, they have tweaked the interface of the block editor a little more than they ever did. It looks a lot cleaner.
WordPress wants to make it really simple to create complex pages designs. By implementing block pattern, it has taken one more step forward just doing that. Block patterns are the predesigned templates that can easily be used in blog posts or pages.
To use block patterns, click the + sign and it’ll open the sidebar with a Patterns tab. Click ‘Patterns’ tab. Click any pattern to use it on your web page.
One of the best features of the WordPress block editor is there are a great number of blocks available in the repository. Let’s say your website does not have a specific block, you can install additional blocks.
Now installing additional blocks is even easier with block discovery. When writing a blog post or designing a page, you can search for any block in Blocks. If your website does not have that block, WordPress will search and find blocks from the repository. Then, you can easily install any discovered block into your site without even leaving the editor page.
Inline image editing
After auto-updates, sitemap, and editor updates, the next big feature in WordPress 5.5 is inline image editing. Writers can now do basic image editing from within the text editor.
Cropping image takes time especially when you have multiple images on one page. With inline image editing, writers can easily and quickly crop images.
WordPress 5.5 brings in some really useful features. Auth-updates improves the security of any WordPress website by applying security updates as soon as they’re available.
Lazy loading makes the website load faster by not loading all the images at ones. Websites load faster are likely to rank higher in search engines than the websites that crawl.
Sitemap improves website indexability in search engines and makes new content available to search engines quicker. Though if you are using any SEO plugin, it will continue to provide its sitemap as the default sitemap. It can be modified by the specific plugin you are using.
Besides these new features, WordPress has also fixed bugs, added more features for developers, and copying URL from media pages is just a click. No longer need to select the URL and copy it. Just click the button below the URL to copy it.