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What’s new in the latest WordPress update?

Guide
by Sean Thornley Agency Partnership Manager

With WordPress being the most popular content management system available, it has a reputation to uphold. As is widely known, WordPress release very regular updates which usually include various new security features and enhancements as well as big fixes. The latest update – WordPress 5.2 – was released earlier this month, 5 months after the launch of Gutenburg in WordPress 5.0… so, what’s changed?

Here’s everything that has been improved upon in the latest update.

Say ‘hello’ to the new Site Health tool

WordPress 5.2 brings with it a completely new tool to help you de-bug issues such as those caused by PHP errors or server and software configurations.

Predictably, you can find this new Site Health tool in the ‘tools’ tab of your admin dashboard. Here you will find an overall site health percentage score at the top, with 2 different pages that you can view: status and info.

The status page flags critical information about your site, and lists recommended improvements that will boost your site health score e.g. remove inactive plugins. The info page provides details about the configuration of your WordPress site.

Goodbye white screen of death

Another feature of the new update is PSP error protection which helps prevent the infamous WordPress ‘white screen of death’ while updating PHP. With WordPress 5.2, if your site encounters a fatal PHP error, WordPress will pause the offending plugin or theme and you will be notified then directed to the backend to fix it. You will see a message on your dashboard stating that you are in ‘recovery mode’ and that there may be an issue with a theme or plugin.

Gutenberg gets better

Block editor (A.K.A. Gutenberg) was introduced with WordPress 5.0 in December, so naturally there are going to be continuing improvements. The current update includes enhances media and text blocks, improved loading times, better image and clock resizers, and other general improvements.

Other security enhancements

In 2017, a ticket was opened that mentioned a security issue with WordPress in that someone could issue fake updates and take control of a user’s site provided that they were able to compromise api.wordpress.org. The WordPress 5.2 update protects against this by checking for a x-content-signature header and, if one isn’t present, falls back to a signature file.

Privacy updates

WordPress 5.2 brings 4 new privacy helpers to make the customisation of privacy policy pages easier for developers. These include:

  • New body class: .privacy-policy
  • New menu item class: .menu-item-privacy-policy
  • New function: is_privacy_policy()
  • A new theme template file: privacy-policy.php

The beauty of WordPress is that it is constantly improving, with new security features, enhanced functionality, and better usability with each update. If you need any more convincing on why WordPress is the best platform, check out this article.

Gooey are a white label web and email development agency, specialising in front end Magento, WordPress and HTML. Get in touch to discuss your project needs,