On May 7, 2019, WordPress 5.2 was released. The WordPress platform is one of the most commonly used among bloggers since it is so powerful. Each release is full of new features, which can sometimes get confusing if you do not have a technical background. Today, we are going to break down the most interesting features in WordPress 5.2 in an easy to understand way.
New WordPress 5.2 Features
WordPress 5.2 is a powerful release that continues to build on the features released in the WordPress 5.0 and WordPress 5.1 platforms. You can read more about the WordPress 5.0 release here and the WordPress 5.1 release here.
Some of the great new features in this new WordPress release are:
- Enhancements to Site Health Check
- PHP Error Protection
- PHP Version Bump
Let’s go through them one by one
Enhancements to Site Health Check in WordPress 5.2
In WordPress 5.1, Site Health Check was released. The goal of this feature is to make it easier for bloggers to make sure their site is running the best it possibly can.
The developers behind WordPress know that not everyone can write code, or understand the technical details of how WordPress works. This is why they spend time on features like Site Health Check, in order to help everyone understand how their WordPress site is doing.
Site Health Check will give bloggers an easy to use dashboard with tips on how to improve their site health. You can access Site Health in WordPress 5.2 from the Settings section of the left navigation pane of your WordPress site:
Then, you will see the dashboard:
As you can see, my site health needs a little work. This is because I just updated to WordPress 5.2, and WordPress has found issues I did not even know about. You will see the details of what needs your attention, such as Security and Performance issues on this screen. You can also take a look at all of the tests that have completed successfully.
PHP Error Protection
In the same vein of Site Health, PHP error protection is built right into WordPress 5.2. We have talked about how important it is to pick the right WordPress plugin for the stability and reliability of your site.
Let’s say someone makes a mistake (because we all do), and we install or upgrade the wrong plugin. This has the potential to take our site down!
PHP Error Protection will disable the offending plugin so our site remains online, and we can get in there to fix it! This saves a ton of time and aggravation for bloggers. This is the difference between having to do crazy coding stuff or restore a backup of your site.
PHP Version Bump
As of WordPress 5.2, PHP 5.6.20 is the minimum supported version. It does not sound like a big deal, but the truth is it really is.
Are things getting confusing with some of these features? Don’t worry, because you are about to learn about…
What is This PHP Stuff Anyway?
We have talked a great deal about new WordPress features and PHP. PHP is a very important component of WordPress. It is the coding environment that does the translation from your WordPress server, to what humans view on your web page. In simple terms, PHP is what makes your web page look nice.
Since we spend so much time on our web pages making sure they are visually appealing to our readers, it is obviously an essential component of our WordPress installations. Because of this, it is even more important to ensure the version of PHP on our web sites is up to date.
Using recent versions of PHP are important for both our site’s performance and security. Think of it like updating your phone, tablet, or computer. New versions of software are full of things to make devices run better, and fix security problems, while adding new features. Both WordPress and PHP updates do the same thing for your website!
WordPress 5.2 Updates
Just like your phone or computer, sometimes WordPress needs small updates. These updates can be for any reason really, like bug fixes or security updates.
Here are the updates available in the WordPress 5.2 Codeline
WordPress 5.2.1 – Maintenance Release – May 21, 2019
The WordPress 5.2.1 is a maintenance release focusing primarily on bug fixes. In addition, enhancements were made to the WordPress block editor, and the Site Health Check feature we talked about earlier.
WordPress 5.2.2 – Maintenance Release – June 18, 2019
The WordPress 5.2.2 release introduced a number of additional bug fixes.
WordPress 5.2.3 – Security and Maintenance Release – September 5, 2019
WordPress 5.2.3 addressed a number of bugs and security issues. It was supposed to be the last WordPress release before WordPress 5.3.
WordPress 5.2.4 – Short Cycle Security Release – October 14, 2019
As you can see, WordPress 5.2.4 came out very shortly after WordPress 5.2.3. This was the result of private security disclosures that WordPress quickly addressed.
WordPress 5.2 Summary
WordPress 5.2 is focused on building on the monumental changes made in WordPress 5.0, mainly the block editor. This has completely changed the way many bloggers operate. WordPress continues to enhance these new features, making them more powerful and easier to use. The WordPress 5.2 release is also performance and operations focused, with the PHP focused changes.