On February 21, 2019 WordPress 5.1 was announced. WordPress releases are generally full of new features and functionality for the WordPress blogging platform. Some of these things can get very technical and confusing, so today I want to break down some of the most interesting features for bloggers and an easy to explain way.
New WordPress 5.1 Features
When it comes to the new WordPress 5.1 features, there are two main features bloggers need to know about.
- Site Health
- Editor Performance
WordPress 5.1 Site Health
SiteHealth is a new feature in WordPress 5.1. To understand this feature you need to understand a little bit about how WordPress works. PHP is a programming language designed for the Web, and one of the things WordPress uses under the covers to power your site. As we know from our Guide to WordPress plugins, sometimes WordPress plugins can wreak havoc on your site.
The WordPress 5.1 Site Health feature will check WordPress plugins against the version of PHP your WordPress site is using, and if a plugin is not compatible with the version of PHP your site uses, you will not be able to install it on your site.
This is a great feature, since it will really help bloggers make sure their site is running at its best, and help them to prevent outages from installing the wrong plugin. Want to learn more about WordPress plugins in how to pick the best WordPress plugin with this post.
You can read more about WordPress 5.1 Site Health directly on the WordPress blog here.
WordPress 5.1 Editor Performance
WordPress 5.0 introduced the new WordPress block editor known as Gutenberg as the default editor for your blog posts. Be sure to read this article for some tips and tricks for how to use the new editor, was well as updates to the 5.0 versions of WordPress.
Since the focus of the WordPress 5.1 release was Editor Performance, now would be a good time to give the WordPress block editor another try. While many bloggers are still using the classic editor plugin, it is important to remember the classic editor will not be around forever.
When to Upgrade to WordPress 5.1
Is WordPress 5.1 right for you? Before any major WordPress upgrade it is important to take a look at the WordPress plugins that are vital to your site, and if they are compatible with the newest WordPress plugin. When a WordPress update is released, you will quickly see that there are updates for many of your WordPress plugins.
One easy way to do this is to head over to the WordPress Plugins site, and search for your plugin. Let’s take the example of the WordPress classic editor:
Pay special attention to the WordPress icon and the “Tested with” version. If your plugin has not been tested with the latest version of WordPress you would like to upgrade to, you may want to wait until it becomes available to be on the safe side.
WordPress 5.1 Updates
As with any other software package, WordPress often releases patches and updates for their software. Here is a list of all of the WordPress 5.1 updates and patches.
WordPress 5.1.1 – Security and Maintenance Release – March 12, 2019
When you see the word security in an WordPress update or patch, it is time to pay serious attention. WordPress 5.1.1 addresses two security issues. One of these issues has to do with the ability to leave a maliciously crafted comment that will leave your WordPress site vulnerable to additional security issues. As always, it is important to make sure your WordPress plugins are compatible with the WordPress version you are upgrading to, however security is also an important issue. This is why it is so important to pay attention to how often WordPress plugins you use are updated. To learn more about picking the best WordPress plugins, be sure to check out this handy guide.
WordPress 5.1 Final Thoughts
WordPress 5.1 is a great update that builds upon the innovation in WordPress 5.0 and adds some new helpful features. Be sure to stay tuned as we update this blog when updates to WordPress 5.1 are released.