There is a brand-new version of WordPress 5.6 that was just released at the end of 2020, it is not the biggest update, and there are some changes that you are going to want to know about.
Moreover, there are a couple of things that might happen that could cause you some problems.
So hopefully this blog will cover those so that you can avoid any problems when updating to this new version of WordPress. No, every new WordPress 5.6 update gets a name.
And the name of WordPress 5.6 one is Simone now I’m sure many of the lead Tinos reading this blog are pretty excited about this.
WordPress 5.6 will be a table of contents so you can skip around to exactly what you’re interested in.
And it had to do with something called jQuery, it was essentially removed from WordPress.
And all these problems happened and they put it back in and came out with a better plan to phase it out over several releases.
So if you remember some funny behavior inside the WordPress admin after you updated a few months ago, it was probably due to jQuery.
Now, this isn’t an issue with WordPress, it’s with the plugins and themes that you use.
And if any of those are made by developers who might not be so actively involved in developing the products that they made that you are now using, it even says right here, if you find issues with the way your site looks.
For example, a slider doesn’t work or a button is stuck, or something along those lines, install the jQuery migrate plugin.
This is that plugin for WordPress 5.6.
And you can see it’s installed on a whole bunch of websites that ended up having this issue.
And I’ll tell you from experience, this issue could cause lots of unexpected behaviors.
For example, I have a product called cart flows and one of our customers was having an issue a saw the ticket and I wanted to help them out.
Essentially, the settings panel had completely disappeared on him.
So I reached out to him in WordPress 5.6.
And it turned out there was nothing wrong with cart flows.
It was on top of that thing. It was another plugin that this customer had installed on their website that was causing problems in other places inside of their WordPress admin area.
So if you see some bizarre things happening, this is going to be the plugin that you want to install and activate.
Now the first thing that you’re going to notice is there’s a new default theme in WordPress 5.6.
WordPress 5.6 Features
This is the WordPress 2021 theme. It has a pretty interesting feature in it you can see down here it says dark mode and I can toggle the dark mode on and often this is an option inside of the customizer just for this theme that is now the default theme whenever anyone installs WordPress.
I will say though, that I have never really used any of the default WordPress themes before. So your mileage may vary with using this theme.
Now the first major enhancement is automatic updates to WordPress itself.
And where you find this option is right here in the updates tab. You can see there’s this new option right here.
It says this site is automatically kept up to date with each new WordPress 5.6 version.
Now I do get an option here. it’s by default set.
So whenever WordPress has an update, it’s going to update this means security releases maintenance releases, as well as major releases.
Now I prefer not to automatically update two major releases.
That means when WordPress 5.7 is released, I don’t want that update automatically. I’ll do that one myself.
So I can toggle in these modes by just clicking on the link right here. And when I do this, it’s going to say now, it’s only going to keep the site automatically up to date with maintenance and security releases of WordPress only I feel a little bit more comfortable with that option.
However, you’ll want to decide what’s best for you in your situation.
Now these automatic updates, we just had them in the prior version of WordPress for themes and plugins.
I got to tell you this story, I use a plugin.
And I had automatic updates enabled. I like it for my plugins and my themes.
But what happened was I got an email and it scared me to death and it was this plugin that I use called easy WP SMTP.
I use this plugin and I got an email from these guys saying there’s a big vulnerability in it and it scared me to death.
And you know what when I logged into my WordPress website, I realized it saved my bacon.
My website was automatically updated before they even sent this email notification out.
So while you have to be careful with automatic updates of anything, in this case, it saved my bacon.
And I am so glad that I chose to have automatic updates enabled, especially when breaking security issues are discovered.
Now here I am inside of the block builder. And there are some enhancements here as well.
The first one that I happen to like is when you click the three dots here in the top right, and you choose Preferences, we have an updated preference pane that gives you some additional options, as well as a bit more of an explanation of what these options do.
To give you an idea. WordPress 5.6 is what the old options pane looks like. And it was just a few checkboxes.
And some things might be a little confusing about what they were actually for. But now this is what the preference pane looks like.
And there are a couple of new options in the WordPress 5.6 update.
Here’s one that’s quite interesting.
It uses theme styles. And so what that means is it’s going to try to make the editor emulate what your theme looks like.
And so if you notice on this, it’s lime green, and it looks exactly how it’s going to look on the front end.
Now if I didn’t like that, I can just uncheck this and it goes back, it might be hard to see.
But it just went back to what the unstyled editing experience would look like.
So this little checkbox can control that. There’s another neat option here where it says display button labels.
So we have these buttons here in the top right, and you kind of have to remember what those do. Or you could check this box.
And now you can see it has completely changed. And we have words now instead of those icons to change the different options.
So now you have this updated preference pane. Next, when you want to add a block to your page, and you click on the plus right here, we now have well I think we had patterns before.
But what’s different now is that the themes can insert these patterns automatically. And they’re categorized.
So in WordPress 5.6 drop-down box here, which wasn’t there before.
So you can see it says WordPress 5.6 new in 2021.
And these are block patterns that the theme has created and made available to me.
And we also have these categories here, other default block patterns.
So if I want to see some button block patterns, I can click right here. And there they are.
Now to add any of these block patterns to your layout, you would just go ahead and choose the one you want.
So let’s see, this is quite interesting in WordPress 5.6. I’ll click right here.
WordPress 5.6 Block Builder
And you can see it’s instantly been added to the page. I do think block patterns are cool.
And we haven’t yet seen the full power of them. because not a lot of themes are leveraging it at this point.
But hopefully, that will change in the future.
Here I am in a blog post that I’ve set up to show you another interesting feature.
So you can collapse blocks into columns. So I put a couple of pictures here, this was actually of the fire that happened right down from my house like in the area and I was evacuated.
And here’s the heroic firefighters that came to save the day. And then here’s my dog that it wants me to play with them all day. And he’s so much fun.
So if I put these images here, and I thought, you know, I wish, instead they were in columns, you can select each one, and I’m going to hold the shift key and click and I’ll hold the shift key and click and then right here, I’m going to click on this icon.
And I’m going to choose columns. And it’s going to transform these images into columns.
And you can see when I do that, there are my images.
Now, this doesn’t look great because these images aren’t of identical sizes. So if you did want to have multiple columns with images, you’ll want to make the dimensions of each of those images match.
And if you’re not familiar with using the block builder interface, if you ever do something and change your mind, we have this option right here to undo what you just did.
In WordPress 5.6 also a new metric here in the Info tab.
So when I click here, you get a character count. So you don’t just get a count of words and headings and paragraph graphs and blocks, you also get a character count.
I don’t know the practical use for that yet. But you now have that there was also a bunch of improvements to the site health status that was included in a prior version of WordPress 5.6.
You find this option underneath tools where it says site health now a lot of the improvements you’re going to have here are mostly under the hood.
So when I compare it here to the old version of site health, you’re not going to notice that many differences since we’re talking about site health. I want to show you a cool trick that I just discovered recently.
It’s a free plugin that allows you to troubleshoot your website real quick.
So you can go to plugins, click on add new, and then do a search right here for health check plus, and here it is if you click on install, and then click on activate.
WordPress 5.6 Troubleshooting
Now when I go to the site tools, there’s going to be a new option right here that says troubleshooting.
And when I click on it, I can choose to enable troubleshooting mode, which essentially disables all of the plugins and switches to the default WordPress theme, so that I can enable those plugins one by one to identify the one that’s causing a problem.
If you run into the jQuery issues that I talked about at the beginning of this blog, doing something like this will help you identify the problem plugins that you may be using.
And you can ask them if they can update their plugin so that you won’t have any more problems.
So now back to the new default theme in WordPress 5.6, let me show you how to enable this interesting dark mode option.
If I go into the customizer right here, it says colors in dark mode.
And if I change the Select Color, it’s a bunch of pastel colors kind of feels better.
But you can see them all right here. And you can change the color in the field with one click like that.
And certain colors don’t support it. But if you choose the right color, you’ll be able to enable dark mode support.
And as you can see, it just has this little button here on the bottom right now if my computer was in dark mode, the website would automatically be in the dark mode as well.
Now there’s one other thing to make you aware of.
And I don’t know all the full details and in and outs, but I was on the word fence blog, and they seem to be making a big deal out of it.
WordPress 5.6 Application Passwords
It has to do with something called application passwords that is now a part of WordPress 5.6.
So when you’re logged in, go to users and click on profile and then scroll down.
This is the new feature that is in WordPress where it says application passwords.
So essentially says application passwords allow authentication via non-interactive systems.
Such as XML RPC or the REST API without providing your actual password application passwords can be easily revoked, they cannot be used for traditional logins to your website.
So a good way of looking at this is sometimes you’ll go and use an application on the web, and they create your account and kind of link it up with your Google account or your Facebook account which you might be logged into this is pretty much kind of the same thing.
Now the issue that the word fence blog was brought up is that it might be easier to be tricked into granting this access.
And then something malicious could happen to your website.
So you can read about it here if you want. It’s just on their blog.
Now, I’m back on the WordPress announcement.
And the last thing is PHP eight support. So PHP is part of the engine that drives WordPress.
And so there’s been different version numbers of it. And the minimum version number keeps increasing.
Now PHP eight just came out very recently. So if you log into your hosting, I wouldn’t recommend switching to PHP eight because a lot of the plugins and probably most themes are not going to support PHP eight for some time.
It’s just WordPress here leading the way saying this is their direction that we all need to go into supporting PHP eight.
And the reason this is a good thing is that the higher PHP versions tend to bring impressive performance gains on how fast your webpages load for your website visitors as well as security enhancements.
So a higher number is good, you probably want to be on PHP version 7.3 or 7.4 right now, if you’re on a lower version, you can benefit from some significant performance gains by updating the PHP version.
There were supposed to be some really exciting things coming to this version of WordPress 5.6, but it wasn’t quite ready so they decided to push that off into 2021.
And that is something called full site editing. It’s pretty much the end goal of Gutenberg. So this means you’re going to be able to do everything in the block builder for your website, including building out your sidebars, your headers, your footers, all areas of your WordPress site, you’re going to be able to have this full site editing now.
We’re going to know what this looks like in 2021. And even when it first comes out, it’s going to take a while for all the theme developers and plugin developers to start adopting it and integrating it into the tools that you’re already using on your website.
So just because WordPress 5.6 coming out next year doesn’t mean that you’re going to be able to do things differently or see a benefit from full site editing until the actual plugin and theme developers are adopted.
But it promises to be very interesting and a very good enhancement to WordPress, because something’s right now it’s a little complicated.
How do I change the sidebar bar, I got to go to an entirely different place. And how do I do the header, I got to go someplace entirely different than where I do the pages that I’m working on.
You can kind of see this in some page building tools right now such as Elementor, you can be editing a page.
And if you’ve built your header using Elementor, you can easily jump into editing the header instantaneously by just choosing it.
There’s this seamless experience that I think people will benefit from especially people new to WordPress because it can be a lot.
I hope this blog helped you to avoid any kind of issues that could potentially happen with your website.
That was my intention for making this blog. I’d appreciate it if you could give this blog a thumbs up right now.