WordPress 5.5: an Overview of the Main Features of the Update
WordPress 5.5 is an anticipated and important update this year. It was officially released on August 11th. The new WordPress has received many improvements with a focus on security and user experience. However, the feedback on the update has been controversial. Some people liked the update:
But some users still did not find it possible to call version 5.5. easy WordPress due to bugs and shortcomings. After installation, you might encounter the following problems:
- No “edit in elementor” tab
- Problems with access to the admin panel
- Non-working widgets
- Problems in the work of Yoast SEO and Rank Math SEO
- Non-working space in the Enfold theme
- Problems with downloading media files
- Issues with the burger menu
- Incorrect work of the Classic Editor
- Conflicting plugins
What to do if you face such a problem?
Don’t panic, there is still a solution. First, update all plugins and themes installed on the site. Then install the Enable jQuery Migrate Helper plugin. This will restore compatibility with the previous version of jQuery. So you can fix the situation.
We also recommend that you remember to make backups before any updates.
Let’s move on to familiarizing ourselves with the key features of the update, which the developers have been working so hard on. We will try to cover as much news of the updated version of WordPress as possible in this article. Let’s start with some new features that are responsible for site security.
Automatic Update of Themes and Plugins
In version 5.5, automatic updates are available for any plugins, be it WordPress news plugins or WordPress LinkedIn plugin. These were previously installed on the site. The update is disabled by default, but you can activate it yourself without much effort. To do this, simply go to the plugins page and click “enable auto-updates” next to the plugins that need to be updated automatically.
You can enable auto-update for themes in the same way. Go to the “Appearance” tab, then click on a theme and select an automatic update for the given theme.
Automatic updating of themes and plugins is an important feature to prevent hacker attacks. Sites with infrequent plugins and themes are much more prone to intrusion risks. The new version of WordPress will protect against possible hacking.
Updating Plugins and Themes Using a Zip File
As we mentioned, plugins and themes should update automatically. But a situation may arise when you need to do it manually.
To do this, go to the plugins page (Add New tab) and click the download button. Then download the Zip file you downloaded to update the plugin. Afterward, WordPress will identify the plugin as previously installed and offer to replace the current one with the downloaded one.
Similarly, we perform manual updates for themes. Go to the Appearance tab, click the download button, and then perform the same actions with the Zip file.
New XML Map
An XML sitemap is a special file that contains links to all important pages on a site. With its help, search engines learn about new pages and can index the site without missing anything. Read more in the Sitemaps XML Guide article.
The new WordPress has a built-in XML sitemap feature enabled by default. A new sitemap index file is created called wp-sitemap.xml. It contains links to all other Sitemap files that it generates.
The function will support:
- All post types and taxonomies (custom taxonomies, tags, and categories)
- Authors’ archives
This will provide the basic functionality of the protocol.
A flaw in this update is the lack of sitemaps for images. We hope this defect will be fixed in the next version.
Lazy Loading of Images
Lazy loading can be safely called one of the most important features of this update because it improves the performance of the site, affecting the speed of its loading.
It usually takes longer for images to load than text to load, and this is the main reason for increasing page load times overall.
Lazy loading only loads images that are visible to the user in the process of interacting with the site – the rest are loaded in the process of scrolling.
In previous versions of WordPress, lazy loading was available thanks to plugins. In this version, the option will be available by default for all sites and will be supported by all modern browsers except Safari.
Since WordPress is quite popular among website builders, we can predict a general trend to improve page loading on the Internet.
Updates in the Block Editor
Since 2018, WordPress has switched to a new block editor called Gutenberg. It was not liked by all users. In this release, fixes were aimed at improving the user interface, usability, functionality, performance, and more. The changes in the block editor are the largest in this update.
- Improving the user interface.
The first thing that catches your eye is the improved design and simplified toolbar. Next, attention is drawn to the new icons and focus highlighting as you move through the blocks while recording. New borders around toolbars and buttons, better performance, and the ability to format multiple WordPress blocks at once make a good first impression.
- Improved block navigation and movement.
Block navigation has been one of the most hated problems for newbies. The updated version resolved this issue by making it easier to move blocks within the content editor with just a single tap on the handle of the selected block and the ability to drag it up or down.
It is also possible to select a parent block in nested blocks (group or column block).
- Presence of block templates.
Before the update, you have seen analogs of block templates that give users the ability to save and reuse the block they use often. In this version, the developers have introduced full-fledged block templates with pre-configured parameters. They do not take a lot of time to add). To date, there are only a few available, but the number will increase over time.
- Possibility to edit images inside the block editor.
The image editing function is now available inside the block editor. Previously, to edit an image, you had to open it in the media library first. Now you can rotate, crop, scale or resize it inside the editor. This makes it easier to work with WordPress.
- Post/page preview function on different devices.
With this function, you can see how a post or a whole page will be displayed on different devices even before publication (tablet, PC, smartphone).
- Built-in block directory.
If you want to add a block that is not on the site, you will be automatically offered a selection from the catalog. This is a type of WordPress plugin set where you can add various types of blocks to the site.
The block directory does not include the block library plugins.
Additional Update Functions
We have reviewed the main update functions for this version of WordPress and briefly turned to a few more that are worth your attention:
- Improved keyboard navigation with moving blocks, the ability to use keyboard shortcuts to switch to full-screen mode, etc.
- Simplified loading of external images previously there were questions about this function
- The ability to pre-check plugins for security issues
- Changes for developers such as the ability to control auto-update options, including selective blocking of certain themes and plugins. DashIcons updates. Efficient scanning for PHP compatibility issues
- Lack of support for outdated browsers
Even if the transition to WP 5.5 seems risky to you so far, have a backup copy. You can try to upgrade to independently evaluate all the advantages, disadvantages, and draw your own conclusions about the new version.