In WordPress 5.5.3, the released version was focused on three major areas: speed, search, and security.
Posts and pages feel faster, thanks to lazy-loaded images.
Images give your story a lot of impact, but they can sometimes make your site seem slow.
In WordPress 5.5, images wait to load until they’re just about to scroll into view. The technical term is ‘lazy loading’.
On mobile, lazy loading can also keep browsers from loading files meant for other devices. That can save your readers money on data — and help preserve battery life.
Say hello to your new sitemap.
WordPress sites work well with search engines.
Now, by default, WordPress 5.5 includes an XML sitemap that helps search engines discover your most important pages from the very minute you go live.
So more people will find your site sooner, giving you more time to engage, retain and convert them to subscribers, customers or whatever fits your definition of success.
Auto-updates for Plugins and Themes
Now you can set plugins and themes to update automatically — or not! — in the WordPress admin. So you always know your site is running the latest code available.
You can also turn auto-updates on or off for each plugin or theme you have installed — all on the same screens you’ve always used.
Update by uploading ZIP files
If updating plugins and themes manually is your thing, now that’s easier too — just upload a ZIP file.
Every release adds improvements to the accessible publishing experience, and that remains true for WordPress 5.5.
Now you can copy links in media screens and modal dialogs with a button, instead of trying to highlight a line of text.
You can also move meta boxes with the keyboard, and edit images in WordPress with your assistive device, as it can read you the instructions in the image editor.
5.5 also brings a big box of changes just for developers.
Server-side registered blocks in the REST API
The Dashicons library has received its final update in 5.5. It adds 39 block editor icons along with 26 others.
WordPress now has a standardized way to define a site’s environment type (staging, production, etc). Retrieve that type with wp_get_environment_type() and execute only the appropriate code.
Passing data to template files
The template loading functions (get_header(), get_template_part(), etc.) have a new $args argument. So now you can pass an entire array’s worth of data to those templates.
More changes for developers
- The PHPMailer library just got a major update, going from version 5.2.27 to 6.1.6.
- Now get more fine-grained control of redirect_guess_404_permalink().
- Sites that use PHP’s OPcache will see more reliable cache invalidation, thanks to the new wp_opcache_invalidate() function
- during updates (including to plugins and themes).
- Custom post types associated with the category taxonomy can now opt-in to supporting the default term.
- Default terms can now be specified for custom taxonomies in register_taxonomy().
- The REST API now officially supports specifying default metadata values through register_meta().
- You will find updated versions of these bundled libraries: SimplePie, Twemoji, Masonry, imagesLoaded, getID3, Moment.js, and clipboard.js.
Download: WordPress 5.5.3
We’ve tried our best to explain everything thoroughly, even though there’s so much information out there. If you found our writing helpful, we’d really appreciate it if you could buy us a coffee as a token of support.