Released on August 11th, 2020, the WordPress 5.5 has a lot of enhancements, many of which revolve around the WP block editor. It also contains some long-awaited features that make their appearance with this release.

WordPress’s major version release focuses on “speed, search, and security.” It also includes:

  • 1500+ changes to the block editor interface
  • 150+ enhancements and feature requests
  • 300+ bug fixes and other improvements

Image Showing Wordpress 5.5

WP 5.5 has been updated with a feature that prevents rogue plugins from taking over WordPress sites. The change enables a WordPress site to determine whether a plugin is legitimate or not. Also, to prevent it from being updated if flagged as being blocked from updating.

In this article, we’ll go over what’s WordPress 5.5 features, as well as which features you should try out after updating your sites.

WordPress 5.5 is a major release. You must manually start the update unless you are using a managed WP hosting service.

Important: Before beginning the update, make a complete WordPress backup.

Also Read :- How to Choose the Best WordPress Hosting in 2022

WordPress 5.5 Features

You will spend the majority of your time in the block editor creating content for your WP blog. It’s regularly updated, and each WordPress release improves the block editor.

WP 5.5 includes some significant changes that will allow you to use the block editor in an efficient way.

Directory of Integrated Blocks

WordPress 5.5 now includes a built-in block directory. It means that if you want to add a block that isn’t already on your site, you’ll get suggestions from the block directory.

Image Showing New Block Directory In Wordpress

The Block Directory is a WP plugins collection that allows you to add various blocks to your site. This excludes block library plugins. Which come pre-loaded with various useful WordPress blocks that you can use right away after installing a single plugin.

Changes to the Block Editor’s User Interface

The visual improvements to the block editor are perhaps the most noticeable wordpress 5.5 features. Also, improved borders and highlighting features to make the block editor more accessible.

Image Showing Visual Improvement In Wordpress 5.5

The ‘Add new block’ (+) button is now more visible and resembles a button with a black background.

Inside the Block Editor, you can edit images.

Users can edit images within the block editor in WordPress 5.5. For example, you can change the image’s height, width, aspect ratio, crop, and rotate without leaving the post editor.

Image Showing Features Of The New Block Editor

You can still do simple image editing in the media library. But, inline image editing will make it easier for new users to discover these built-in editing options.

Also Read :- How to Use the New WordPress Block Editor in 2022 (WordPress Gutenberg Guide)

Introduction of Block Patterns

Reusable blocks and groups are already present in the block editor. They allow users to save and reuse their most frequently used blocks.

WordPress 5.5 new features introduce block patterns. These are blocks with pre-configured settings that you can add right away.

Image Showing Block Patterns In Wordpress 5.5

This allows you to create page layouts while keeping your website’s style consistent. Some are already available in WP 5.5. WordPress themes and plugins register their block patterns and will add more.

Block Navigation and Movement Have Been Improved

Block navigation was a common issue that many beginners encountered. It became more difficult to select the parent block or move a child element inside it. Especially if you used nested blocks like columns or groups.

WordPress 5.5 now has much-improved block navigation. This makes it much easier to select a parent block or a nested element within it. You can also drag and drop blocks by grabbing the handle to move them.

Image Showing Block Navigation And Improvement In Wordpress 5.5

WordPress Theme and Plugins- Automatic Update

WordPress 5.5 makes a significant security improvement. This is done by introducing automatic updates for WordPress plugins and themes.

Go to the Plugins page and enable auto-updates for any WP plugin you have installed on your site.

Image Showing Auto Update Of Themes And Plugins In Wordpress 5.5

You can do the same thing with WordPress themes. Simply navigate to the Appearance » Themes page and select a theme. You can find the option to enable automatic updates for that theme in the theme overview popup.

Image Showing How To Enable Auto Update Of Theme In Wordpress 5.5

This functionality was already there in WordPress. But it required either the use of 3rd party plugin or a configuration change to manage automatic updates. With WordPress 5.5, it’s now super easy to make sure your websites are always running on the most up-to-date code.

Also Read :- 60 Best Minimalist WordPress Themes in 2022

Plugins can be updated by uploading a new version.

Update the Plugins for WP with automatic updates or by clicking on the update notification. But, you may need to manually update a plugin on occasion.

In that instance, the only way to upload the new version was to use an FTP client. This problem has been fixed in WordPress 5.5, and you can now just go to Plugins » Add Updated and upload the new version like any other new plugin zip file.

Image Showing How To Upload A New Plugin

WordPress will identify that you already have this plugin installed and download a new file with a different version. It will then give you the option to ‘Replace current with uploaded.’

Image Showing How To Install A Plugin By Uploading A New File

You may apply the same logic to themes. Simply navigate to Appearance » Themes and click the ‘Add New’ option at the top of the page.

Now, to upload your theme zip file, you must click on the Upload Theme button. WordPress will recognize the existing theme and provide you with the ‘Replace current with uploaded’ version.

Image Showing Installing Theme By Uploading A New File

Images with Lazy Loading

WordPress 5.5 now loads images on your website in a lazy manner. This means that it will only load the visible photos to the user on the screen and load other images later.

By introducing the ‘Lazyloading’ attribute to the image element, WordPress has made it a default feature for all sites. All current web browsers support this property (except Safari).

Image Showing Lazy Load Feature Of Wordpress 5.5

This enhances the performance and speed of your website. This is also beneficial to hosting companies, Internet service providers, and the internet.

WordPress runs more than 35% of all websites on the internet. Hence, this performance boost will save a huge amount of bandwidth, server resources, and electricity.

Also Read :- Best SEO Plugins for WordPress

WordPress’s Default XML Sitemaps

WordPress 5.5 now publishes XML sitemaps for your website automatically. An XML sitemap is a file that contains a list of all the content on your website in XML format. This makes it easier for search engines like Google to find and index your content.

Sitemaps are an important aspect of WordPress SEO. This functionality would be beneficial to many newbies who aren’t yet familiar with SEO best practices.

But, the default WordPress XML Sitemaps are quite limited in features and functionality. This is why both All in One SEO and Yoast SEO will continue to provide their XML sitemaps.

You don’t need to do anything if you already have an SEO or Sitemaps plugin installed. The default WordPress XML sitemaps will be disabled by these plugins.

WP now has sitemaps for built-in content types like pages and author archives by default. So, this means that thanks to the XML sitemaps in WP 5.5 million sites improve their chances of ranking.

WordPress 5.5 will include a sitemap index at /wp-sitemap.xml. This is the main XML file. It has a list of all the sitemap pages exposed by a WP site. This allows the indexing of the following object types:

  • Homepage
  • Page of posts
  • Types of primary posts (i.e., pages and posts)
  • Unique post types
  • Taxonomies fundamentals (i.e., tags and categories)
  • Taxonomies that are unique to each individual
  • The author’s archives

Developers will benefit from several enhancements.

WordPress 5.5 includes plenty of developer-friendly enhancements. Here are some to remember:

  • jQuery Migrate 1. x is no longer supported in WordPress 5.5. Only developers that use jQuery should be concerned about this. If you’re using jQuery, ensure you’re not relying on any exclusive functionality to jQuery Migrate 1. x.
  • The REST API has seen 36 changes.
  • WordPress 5.5 edition includes PHP-related upgrades and changes.
  • WordPress 5.5 includes miscellaneous developer-focused changes.

WP 5.5 also includes dozens of new changes tailored specifically to developers.

Server-side registered REST API blocks:

Due to the addition of block types endpoints, JavaScript apps can now retrieve definitions for any blocks registered on the server.

Dashicons:

In 5.5, the Dashicons library received its final update. It includes 39 new block editor icons as well as 26 new ones.

Don’t worry; the Dashicons typeface will not be phased out. It will continue to be included in future WordPress editions. But, requests to add new icons to the font will no longer be accepted.

Defined Environments :

WordPress now has a standardized way of defining the environment type of a site (staging, production, etc.). Using wp, get environment type(), get that type, and only run the appropriate code.

Data passing to template files:

Default terms for custom taxonomies can now be specified in register taxonomy ().

Through register meta, the REST API now officially supports specifying default metadata values ().

These bundled libraries have been updated:

  • SimplePie
  • Twemoji
  • Masonry
  • imagesLoaded
  • getID3
  • Moment.js
  • clipboard.js.

WordPress 5.5 Enhanced Security

There was no announcement of this new feature, but, it is vital because it makes WP publishing sites safer against criminal activity.

How to Configure an Update to WordPress 5.5?

To get WordPress 5.5, go to the release archive or update automatically from the Dashboard. Then go to the Updates menu in your site’s admin area.

Step-by-step instructions for installing and updating WordPress-

Step 1: Replace the WordPress files

  • Download the most recent WordPress zip (or tar.gz) file.
  • Unzip the zip file you downloaded.
  • Deactivate any plugins that are still active.
  • On your web host, remove the old wp-includes and wp-admin directories. Do this through your FTP or shell access.
  • Upload the new wp-includes and wp-admin directories to your web host using FTP or shell access, replacing the previously deleted directories.
  • Overwrite existing files. This is done by uploading individual files from the new wp-content folder to your existing wp-content folder. DO NOT REMOVE YOUR CURRENT WP-CONTENTS FOLDER.
  • DO NOT REMOVE ANY FILE OR DIRECTORY FROM YOUR EXISTING WP-CONTENT DIRECTORY.
  • Upload all the new loose files from the new version’s root directory to your existing WP root directory.

NOTE: In the wp-includes and wp-admin directories and sub-directories and the root directory. You should replace all the old WordPress files with the new ones (such as index.php, wp-login.php, and so on). Don’t worry, and your wp-config.php file will be unharmed.

When it comes to copying the wp-content directory, be cautious. Only copy the files from this directory and not the entire wp-content directory. This is where your themes and plugins will live, so keep them.

Make sure not to overwrite those files, or your changes will be lost. (But, you may want to compare them for new features or bug fixes.)

Finally, look over the wp-config-sample.php file to see if any new settings have been added that you might want to include in your own wp-config.php.

Step 2: Delete the .maintenance file

When manually upgrading after a failed auto-upgrade. Use FTP to remove the file .maintenance from your WordPress directory. The “failed update” nag message will be removed as a result.

Step 3: Check and update your installation

Go to /wp-admin to access your main WordPress admin page. You may be asked to re-login. If a database upgrade is required now, WordPress will notify you and provide a link to a URL. Such as http://example.com/wordpress/wp-admin/upgrade.php. Once you click on that click follow the instructions.

This will make your database compatible with the most recent code. You must do it as soon as possible after the first step.

Remember to reactivate plugins!

Step 4: Clear Cache

If you have caching enabled, clear the cache now so that the changes take effect immediately. Otherwise, whoever visits your site, will see the old version (until the cache updates).

Your WordPress installation is successfully updated.

Your update is now complete, and you can re-enable your Plugins.

If you’re having trouble logging in, try clearing your browser’s cookies.

Conclusion

We discussed a few of WordPress 5.5 features and what’s improved in this post. And, even though there is a lot more to this release than the features listed. We hope it gave you a better understanding of the improvements to various features. Such as block editor, inline image editing, improved content previews, automated plugin updates, and the new XML sitemaps that WordPress provides.

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