WordPress 5.7 was released on March 9th 2021 and is the first of four major WordPress releases scheduled for this year. WordPress is updated very regularly, which is the beauty and the curse of it. It’s fantastic that it’s always adapting to the ever-changing world of websites, but at the same time, it can be a bit of a pain to maintain.
For those who are on our maintenance package, you probably have no interest in what’s new in WordPress 5.7. Likewise if you don’t do any changes to the website yourself and you rely on your web design agency to do this for you. However, if you are interested in what’s new in WordPress 5.7 (which is called Esperanza), then please read on as we’ve summarised the new features below.
What’s new in the Gutenberg Editor
Many WordPress veterans will have this editor overridden and the Classic Editor enabled due to many people finding it inferior to the original. However, it was introduced to make it easier for people to create a website with drag-and-drop capabilities.
Gutenberg 10.1 is released with WordPress 5.7 and has many bug fixes and improvements. The drag-and-drop capabilities with Gutenberg now makes it way easier to add content simply by clicking “Add New Block” and dragging it across into the editor. This makes it feel more like other leading WordPress builders such as Divi Builder.
In Gutenberg 9.5, it was introduced that you could make full height blocks, but now it’s included in the Core and Cover block.
You also have a lot more support for your social icons as you can now select the size (small, normal, large and huge) and a custom colour for these icons.
The buttons block has a lot more features; you can align your buttons vertically and can even change the percentage width of the buttons.
Within the code block, you can also now edit the font size by selecting one of the preset options or setting your own custom value in pixels.
Securing your site with HTTPS
In this day and age, your website should absolutely be using a https version. This is the version of your website which protects user information and other data on your site. To enable this mode, you need an SSL certificate on your site and it then needs to show a padlock. There are a few reasons why a padlock doesn’t show on your site even if you have an SSL certificate, but the main reason is due to “mixed content”. This is because some content is running through https and some is running through http.
In WordPress 5.7, you can detect whether your hosting has been set up to support HTTPS or not. If it hasn’t, you will get a warning on screen about it. If it has been, you can now migrate your website from HTTP to HTTPS in one click of a button!
This is great news as you no longer need to manually change various URLs in the database as this can now all be done within the WordPress dashboard.
Lazy loading for iframes
Lazy loading is when a website doesn’t load certain assets of your website, such as images and embedded resources until they are actually needed – i.e. when they appear at that section on the visitor’s browser. This helps to speed up your WordPress website.
In WordPress 5.7, lazy loading for iframes has now been enabled, so this could be huge for embedded YouTube videos. All you need to do is add the attribute loading=”lazy” to your iframe tag. This can also be added to the img tag so that you can apply this feature to images too.
This should help remove the use of another plugin, as formerly, this was only possible with a plugin. Therefore, it should further help to speed up your WordPress website.
WordPress Colour Palette
Before now, the WordPress admin had a very limited and standard colour palette to choose from. In WordPress 5.7, it adds 12 new colour shades and 13 new shades of black, grey and white.
Jean-Baptiste Audras, a big contributor to the WordPress ecosystem said the following about the new WordPress colour palette:
“Standardizing on this set of colors will help contributors make consistent, accessible design decisions. Themes and Plugin developers are encouraged to use this new color palette, for better consistency between their products and WordPress Core.
Generating WordPress passwords
On the Reset Password screen, you can now use WordPress to generate a safe password for you. Previously, you could only click the button to reset the password, but now you can actually generate the password too.
You can see the difference between WordPress 5.6 and WordPress 5.7 from the screenshot below:
New Robots API
WordPress 5.7 comes with a new Robots API allowing web developers to control the robots meta tag. This tag allows website owners to control how a website should be indexed and is therefore, extremely important when it comes to SEO.
The new Robots API provides a filter so that theme developers can add custom directives to the robots meta tag. Additionally, by default, search engines will display large image previews in search results.
Updating your website to WordPress 5.7
Since this is quite a major update, it is risky to just hit “update” from your dashboard without doing some testing first. It’s always advisable to do updates on a test environment before pushing them live, as it could end up breaking your website and causing you some serious downtime.
Many people think that updating your WordPress website is really easy, but so many people break their website, which is why it’s important to be careful.
If you’re not sure about anything, it’s always best to ask a professional before doing anything.