Following several months of development, the latest version of is here. Known as WordPress 5.5 or by its code name, “Eckstine” (the surname of late American jazz and pop singer, Billy Eckstine). Here we provide details of the key features available with this latest update.
To those unfamiliar with WordPress, it is a free and open source web-based software allowing you to create websites using a “block editor” enabling simple website page editing for those unfamiliar with website development, but also allows for those more advance to edit through code. Its key advantage over other platforms is its strong developer support, a wide range of designs (themes) available on both a free and paid basis as well as large library of plugins to enhance your website functionality. Over 38% of the websites on the internet are developed using WordPress.
A significant improvements change made in WordPress 5.5 is that websites by default will now provide “lazy loading” images, which means that they won’t load until you scroll to view on your browser. It will also improve website performance for visitors using a tablet or mobile phone, as content won’t be shown for files designed for other devices.
WordPress 5.5 been brought other upon changes as well, both in terms of or the block editor and interface. The availability of these currently requires some changes to your current setup to ensure compatibility with your website, however over time will likely reduce the need for third-party design tools. One of the key changes is that you can now edit images from the block editor, you can create your own blocks, and soon will be able to be able to download blocks from the Plugin directory.
WordPress 5.5 now also provides XML sitemaps, similar to an index of a set of pages linked by their website addresses, which helps Google and other search engines discover the content on your website. This will mean that a separate plugin or third-party tool will no longer be required.
One of the concerns addressed by WordPress 5.5 is ensuring plugins and themes always remain up to date. We recommend monthly maintenance of WordPress websites and as part of this, plugins are updated as part of our website maintenance service. WordPress will also now be able to auto update themes and plugins. Whilst this may seem like an advantage, our concern here is that this may cause some websites to fail if their themes, or other plugins are also incompatible. Furthermore, early reports confirm that these concerns are justified. However, one way around this is another new feature whereby you can now update plugins and themes from a ZIP file, which has been needed for some time!
We strongly recommend taking the time to understand the impacts to your website prior to upgrading to ensure it goes smoothly. As part of the website maintenance service we provide to our clients, we will be conducting testing before introducing this. However, we are suggesting that they wait until the next minor edition (5.5.1) before making the move to this.