The WordPress Security Update 5.8.2 is here: What everyone should be aware of

WordPress 5.8.2. security update

[Update] This evening (11/10/2021) the security update WordPress 5.8.2 was released. Sounds dramatic, but only contains two bug fixes and a security update for an outdated LetsEncrypt root certificate. The SSL certificate expired at the end of September, causing SSL errors. WordPress recommends installing the update as soon as possible. More information is available here. [Update Ende]

The WordPress update 5.8. “Tantum” was rolled out

On July 20th, 2021 WordPress 5.8 was released. As has already been indicated in previous versions (see below), the direction of full-site editing (FSE) is steadily increasing.

However, it is still too early to be able to use the FSE in normal day-to-day agency work: For example, a separate block for website navigation is still missing and the WordPress themes that support FSE are simply still there too experimental, to be used in a live environment. So patience is still required here.

The image format WebP in the WordPress media library

The significantly more powerful image format WebP is now supported in the WordPress media library. Depending on the motif, images in WebP format are up to 40% smaller than their counterparts in PNG or JPG format. The browser support for WebP images is now also very good:

More than 95% of all browsers already support the WebP format.Image source: caniuse.com

Over 95% of all browsers now support the new image format. You can WebP – so use images without hesitation, which is really great news!

However, existing images are not converted automatically, so you have to convert them yourself and re-upload to the WordPress media library.

You can convert images to WebP format here.

FSE is making progress

Still, there are now some fairly essential Full Site Editing (FSE) blocks, including for:

  • Logo & Site Meta: Website Logo, Website Title, Website Description
  • article (Contributions): contribution title, text excerpt (excerpt), content of the contribution,
  • Article – Metadata: author’s name, publication date,
  • as well as archive titles and query loops (query loop)

For more details, it’s worth taking a look at Presswerk’s article and podcast.

The right order for WordPress updates

It is widely known that before every WordPress update, you first create a backup. This can be done very easily with WP Staging, for example. But how do we deal with the other updates for plugins and themes? The ideal order looks like this:

  1. First a full one backup create
  2. After that everyone will plugins updated
  3. The theme will be updated
  4. Finally comes the most important thing: this WordPress update

Did the update cause you problems? Was the plugin able to fix the error? Let us know in the comments!

Disable automatic WordPress updates without using a plugin

If you want to prevent automatic WordPress updates, you can use a plugin such as the Easy Update Manager. But you don’t really need it: You can disable automatic updates in WordPress by adding this line of code to your wp-config.php file:

define ('WP_AUTO_UPDATE_CORE', false);

This will disable all automatic WordPress updates.

Previous WordPress updates: version 5.7. from March 9, 2021

Last night (March 9th) Automattic released the WordPress update version 5.7, which comes with some new features. In addition to a few other improvements in the Gutenberg editor, the integrated lazy loading of iFrames is particularly worth mentioning.

Adjusting the font size in other places: Font size controls are now in List and Code Blocks.

Inserters with drag and drop: Drag blocks and block templates directly into a post from the sidebar.

Reusable Blocks: Reusable blocks make the Gutenberg editor more stable and easier to use. In addition, they are saved automatically when you click on update.

Buttons block: Now you can choose between a vertical or a horizontal layout. In addition, the width of a button can be set to a specified percentage.

Social Icons Block: Now the size of the icons can be changed.

Alignment over the entire height: Ever wanted to make a block, like the Cover Block, fill the entire window? Now that works.

Gutenberg cover block

All in all: Gutenberg is becoming more and more valuable. You can tell that the big milestone “Full-Page Editing” is getting closer and closer.

WordPress update 5.5. from August 20, 2020

Sitemaps are essential for search engines to discover the content of a website. The homepage, posts, pages, user-defined post types (custom posts) and much more are recorded centrally in the sitemap and thus show the search engines what content there is to be recorded on a website and thus improve the visibility of your website.

Thanks to the update, theoretically no SEO plugins like Yoast SEO & co. more to generate such a sitemap — it is now generated directly by WordPress.

Incidentally, according to YoastSEO, there are no compatibility problems with regard to the sitemap generated by the Yoast plugin.

Should I disable my WordPress XML sitemap?

In practice, however, most of them already have an SEO plugin running, so there may be conflicts with the existing sitemaps. As a rule, it is therefore better to switch off the WordPress sitemap, since the site already has an existing sitemap.

With the popular Yoast plugin from version 14.5, Yoast automatically switches off the standard XML sitemap in WordPress. This is especially helpful if you do not want certain pages to be indexed and have already set this up via Yoast, as can be seen in the following screenshot:

This is how you set a certain page to no-index so that Google & Co. will not display it in the SERPs.

So if you don’t want to index a post or a page with Yoast SEO, this will not be displayed on the XML page generated by Yoast SEO and the page will be removed from the sitemap immediately.

Updating plugins and themes from a .zip file

Up until now, WordPress hasn’t had an update feature that allows you to upload and overwrite themes or plugins via FTP/SFTP. This mainly affects purchased plugins and themes that cannot be downloaded directly from the WordPress plugin directory and that do not offer their own update function. This is the case with the WP Staging Pro plugin, for example.

Some plugins must (still) be updated manually via upload.

As of WordPress 5.5, you can finally update such plugins and themes by uploading a .zip package from your computer within your own WordPress dashboard.

If you want to update a plugin, go to Plugins > Install and click the Upload Plugin button. If the plugin is already installed, the message “This plugin is already installed” appears and shows the current version and the uploaded version details.

To date, you cannot update an existing plugin or theme using the upload function without first deleting the existing plugin.

Lazy loading of images from WordPress 5.5

As of WordPress 5.5, images are loaded by default using the native HTML loading attribute “lazy-loading”, which became the web standard in early 2020. This saves a lot of data volume when users don’t scroll all the way down.

By default, WordPress loading="lazy" to all img-Add tags containing the attributes width and height contain.

A real performance boost!

Conclusion: WordPress development is always progressing

Whether small websites, large blogs or corporate presences in several countries: WordPress is suitable for every digital presence. The price is relatively cheap compared to other systems. On the one hand, this is due to the fact that WordPress itself is free. On the other hand, there are more providers (agencies) who work with WordPress than is the case with less widespread CMSs.

Otherwise, Gutenberg or any other page builder such as Elementor can also be used. A website can be created relatively quickly without having any programming knowledge. But what about the content? A “bare” website will not generate any attention, after all, customers and users should find added value and answers to their questions. Anyone who would like support in creating content can fall back on professionals in content marketing. They create tailor-made content for the desired target group.

Update (8/20/20): Many plugins are not yet compatible with WordPress 5.5

After updating to WordPress 5.5, many bloggers and website owners have reported issues with the Classic Editor and Yoast plugins. Both are among the most installed WordPress plugins in the world. Among other things, some menu functions in the WordPress administration panel stopped working after the 5.5 update.

How to fix WordPress version 5.5 issues

A simple solution to the problem is to install the jQuery Migrate Helper plugin. The author writes in his description:

With the update to WordPress 5.5, the migration tool called jquery-migrate will no longer be enabled by default. This can lead to unexpected behavior in some themes and plugins that use older code. This plugin serves as a temporary solution by enabling the migration script for your site to give your plugin and theme authors a little more time to update and test their code.

Marius L Jensen