Guide to Each WordPress Update

In this guide to WordPress updates, we will break down each major release of this open-source content management system (CMS). As of 2021 around 455 million websites were using WordPress, with that number rapidly growing every day. According to W3Techs, around 43% of all websites on the internet use WordPress, meaning well over a third of the entire web is powered by WP.

Guide to Each WordPress Update

1st November 2022: WordPress 6.1 Misha

November saw the release of WP 6.1, inspired by the Soviet-Norwegian jazz pianist Mikhail “Misha” Alperin. 6.1 is the third major release of 2022 which includes performance and usability enhancements.

Some new features include

  • Default Theme Twenty Twenty-Three
  • New templates for improved creator experience
  • Improved UI for Menus
  • Improved block placeholders
  • Content-only editing support for containers

Most of these feature updates have been made with accessibility in mind, which is why WordPress 6.1 includes nearly 60 updates specifically focused on enhancing the accessibility of the platform.

24th May 2022: WordPress 6.0 Arturo

In May of 2022, WordPress released iteration 6.0, named Arturo after the Grammy-winning jazz musician Arturo O’Farrill. With almost 1,000 enhancements and bug fixes, this is the 2nd major release for WordPress this year.

Some of the improvements include:

  • An enhanced writing experience
  • Style Switching
  • Additional template choices
  • Integrated patterns
  • Additional design tools
  • A better list view
  • Block locking controls

This release includes several updates focused on improving the performance of WordPress. These enhancements cover a range of performance areas including improving the page and post-load speed, reducing the execution time of various query types, caching, navigation menus, and much more.

25th January 2022: WordPress 5.9 Josephine

WordPress 5.9 was released on the 25th of January 2022, named Josephine after international jazz singer Josephine Baker. This update introduced the first default block theme for WordPress along with full site editing in the WordPress admin area.

Other updates include:

  • Better block controls
  • A revamped list view
  • A better gallery block
  • Block-level locking
  • Multiple stylesheets in a block

20th July 2021: WordPress 5.8 Tatum

Released in July of 2021, update 5.8 is named after legendary jazz pianist Art Tatum. The main addition to this update was the introduction of managing widgets with blocks. Now you can add blocks both in widget areas across your site and with a live preview through the Customiser.

Additional updates include:

  • Displaying posts with new blocks and patterns
  • Editing templates around posts
  • Dropping support for Internet Explorer 11 (IE11)
  • Adding support for WebP image files

9th March 2021: WordPress 5.7 Esperanza

The first major update of 2021 is named after musical prodigy Esperanza Spalding, bringing with it fresh colours in the admin, simpler interaction in the editor and controls right where you need them.

Further updates include:

  • Making the editor easier to use
  • Doing more without the need for code
  • A simpler default colour palette
  • Moving from HTTP to HTTPS in one click
  • New Robots API
  • Lazy loading iFrames

8th December 2020: WordPress 5.6 Simone

The last update for 2020 is named after legendary performer Nina Simone, introducing a brand-new default theme and much more.

These updates include:

  • Greater layout flexibility
  • More block patterns
  • Enhanced video captioning
  • Expanding auto-updates
  • Additional PHP8 support

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