What’s New In WordPress 5.5: Auto-Updates, Block Editor, And More

What's New In WordPress 5.5

WordPress 5.4 was more about block editor additions, but WordPress 5.5 is a lot more than that. The WordPress released the WordPress 5.5 known as Eckstine on 11 August 2020, and here we are diving right through it. 

This version of WordPress has various visible changes we all are thankful for, as always. Let’s move forward to explore all the newly introduced WordPress features

Auto-Update Feature For WordPress Themes And Plugins

No more toggling between turning the updates of plugins and themes on/off. WordPress 5.5 has found a permanent solution. It lets your WordPress website stay updated on time and keep it safe from bugs. 

For WordPress Plugin Auto-Updates

To enable auto-updates for plugins, visit your admin dashboard. Click Plugins from the left menu and click on ‘enable automatic updates’ in the Automatic updates column of the Plugins page. 

For WordPress Themes Auto-Updates

On your WordPress dashboard, click on ‘Appearance’ from the left-hand menu. Click the ‘Themes’ page, and after that, click ‘Enable auto-updates.’ You will find this option in your every installed website theme

Introductions And Improvements In Block Editor

There are various noticeable changes done in the Block Editor. These are:

  • Improved UI design

The one noticeable change is the toolbar that appears as you click on any block. This bar is much bigger, better, and includes more options like superscript and subscript. It now also includes parent block selection 

The added ‘+’ button to add more blocks is also a new addition that appears on the left side of the screen. 

  • New block directory

There is no lack of good blocks in WordPress 5.5. The new block directory simply includes WordPress plugins to add new blocks to your block editor. 

Search for any type of block you need, and it will list down a plugin for the same. You can add the block by clicking ‘add block’ below the listed block. 

  • New block patterns

Besides the new block, the block editor now also has new block patterns. These are ready-for-use commonly used block patterns. These are a great way to save your time instead of creating the pattern from scratch. 

  • Inline image editing

Up till now, to edit any image, you were required to head on to media library and that too with four options, namely crop, resize, scale and rotate. 

With WordPress 5.5, you can do a lot more while editing your image that too while staying inline. 

SEO Improvements (XML Sitemaps)

Nothing matters if your website is not able to get under the radar of Google search rankings. Besides good content flow on your website, there are other technical tools too that can help your way out, one of them is XML Sitemaps. 

XML Sitemaps enables conversion of your website content into an XML format, which makes it easier for Google to discover your content and index it and show it in searches. 

WordPress 5.5 includes inbuilt XML Sitemaps that will add a new index file after your website link as wp.sitemap.xml. With this, you will no longer need the help of third-party plugins to add XML Sitemap now. 

The default Sitemap will support all types of pages, posts, tags, author archives, categories, and users. 

Speed Improvements with Lazy Load

With WordPress 5.5, say no to slow loading WordPress websites, no matter the number of images your website contains. With the Lazy Loading feature, your website can load faster and become speed optimized. 

The Lazy Loading feature allows speed optimization by only loading the images of the current page of the user’s browser screen. That is to say; it doesn’t try to load the images of the whole website all at once but only the images on the current open screen. Other images begin to load as the user scrolls down the website page. This reduces the page load and makes the website to load faster. 

This image speed optimization technique can be executed by adding ‘loading’ attribute to img and iframe tag. 

Lazy loading will also help in reducing the bandwidth as well as help WordPress hosting servers to perform better. Click here to see this feature in action.

This will again lead to faster WordPress websites in return. A win-win situation. 

Updating Themes And Updates With .Zip File

There may be times when the automatic updates themes and plugins do not work well. In such cases, you have to upload the updated file manually. Before WordPress 5.5, this was done with the help of FTP/ STMP client or file manager. 

But WordPress 5.5, it’s made a lot easier. This can now be done inside your admin dashboard itself. 

  • For uploading and updating a plugin

Visit your admin dashboard and click on Plugins on the left side menu. Click Add New from the drop-down menu. Now click the Upload Plugin button. 

Next, add the .zip file of your plugin update by clicking the Choose File button. The WordPress will immediately identify the uploaded plugin and will ask you to ‘Replace current with Uploaded.’ Click on it to update it. 

  • For uploading and updating a theme

Following the same procedure for updating WordPress themes, click on Appearance on the dashboard. Click on ‘Themes’ from the drop-down menu and finally click the ‘Upload Theme’ button on the top. 

Upload the file of the updated themes by clicking on ‘Choose File’ and click on ‘Replace current with uploaded.’ 

Accessibility Changes

There are a number of accessibility changes done in WordPress 5.5 as well. Some of the noticeable and useful accessibility changes include:

  • Meta boxes are made easily movable with the help of keyboard
  • Primary buttons will now look disabled when actually disabled
  • The link list widgets can be converted into HTML5 navigation blocks easily
  • The list tables will now have first iteration alternative view modes

So, these were some of the major changes made in the new WordPress update. There are a lot of changes for developers as well as updated external libraries, more auto-update control options, 65 new icons on updated Dashicons, better issue scanning for PHP, and much more.