What’s so great about this update of WordPress?
Here are some awesome new features rolling out with WordPress 5.2:
White Screen of Death Protection
You know this too well if you’ve ever done in-depth work on a WordPress site. You work on it, make an error in a theme file or in php, and then you click save and… Suddenly your whole site is blank white! Usually this means that you have to go in manually via FTP or SSH to fix the files, but WordPress is making it even easier now. Now, with white screen of death protection, WordPress will print on the front end a pretty error message to anyone publicly visiting your site, and also make it so you can still access your dashboard, meaning you can fix the error right inside of WordPress without actually cracking open that FTP program. We call that a win!
Cryptographically Signed Core Updates
This is a BIG one for security. Ever hear of a “supply chain attack”? It’s when a malicious user or users attack the point of supply, usually for app updates, and hijack the code, enabling them to spread malicious code throughout devices, coming off as “trustworthy” because it’s coming directly from the source! WordPress has been vulnerable to just such an attack for years, given that we receive core updates directly from one place – WordPress itself. Since about 33% of the web is run on WordPress, imagine if a malicious user could insert whatever code they wanted disguised as a core update – and then push it out to every WordPress site on the web. It’d be a catastrophe! This update enables an additional layer of security in WordPress’ core updates, so a malicious user would not only have to hijack the supply chain itself, but also steal an official WordPress key. It’s almost like two-factor authentication. We love it!
Site Health Checker
A little less exciting for the development minded, but still a good update. You can now use a tool called “Site health” underneath the “tools” option to see what’s going on with your site. It will inform you of errors, outdated PHP, outdated plugins and themes, and what you should remove from your site (especially if you’re not using it).
Other Big Updates
“Alt text” is now highlighted in the image modal, and occurs at the top. It has a descriptor field to ask people to place good content. Screen reader enabled keyboard navigation flow has also been modified and updated.
WordPress Body Hook
A new body hook allows you to easily add content directly after the opening <body> tag! Previously we had wp_head and wp_footer. Use wp_body_open to hook into it.
How to Update
If you don’t have automatic updates enabled, you can update your site directly from the WordPress dashboard. If you’re a hasOptimization client, lucky you, you’re already updated!
For full release notes, please visit the WordPress official site.