Finally, the most awaited WordPress 5.0 is out after a series of Betas and RCs.
The WordPress community has been anxiously waiting for WordPress 5.0, mainly because of Gutenberg, the new block editor, and other new exciting features like Twenty Nineteen theme.
WordPressers who have been playing around with the Beta and RC versions can now upgrade to the full version from their WordPress Dashboard or download the zip file available on wordpress.org.
A Glimpse of WordPress 5.0
Table of Contents
- How to Upgrade to WordPress 5.0?
- WordPress 5.0 Speed Analysis
- Speed Test
- WordPress Gutenberg – A New Block Editor
- Features of Gutenberg Editor
- WordPress 5.0 Features
- Security Updates
- Front-end Editor
- Mobile Optimization
- Crop Background Image
- New WordPress Theme – Twenty Nineteen
- Better Default Themes
- Users’ Perspective
- Not So Good
I’m looking forward to the WordPress 5.0 release. I believe Gutenberg is a necessary change for the future of WordPress. From a new user point of view, it definitely makes WordPress more modern. Like anything else, we must not forget that WordPress that we see today is a product of iterative development, and we must give Gutenberg an honest chance.
– Syed Balkhi of Awesome Motive
How to Upgrade to WordPress 5.0?
For Cloudways Customers
If you’re a Cloudways customer, you can upgrade to WordPress 5.0 safely by using our staging feature.
Navigate to your site’s Application Management window from your Cloudways platform and create WordPress staging environment as shown in the GIF below:
You can instantly test out WordPress 5.0 on the Cloudways platform.
Simply create an account, log in to the Cloudways Platform, and you can launch a server with WordPress installed in a few clicks.
From your Dashboard, navigate to Updates and click on ‘Update Now’ button to upgrade to WordPress 5.0.
New users can also test their existing sites on WordPress 5.0 using the Cloudways migrator plugin. After migrating to Cloudways, simply log into your WordPress dashboard and update it to WordPress 5.0.
NOTE: If you’re not testing WordPress 5.0 on Cloudways, remember to take a full backup of your live site before upgrading, and run a compatibility test to check if all the plugins and themes are compatible after the update.
WordPress 5.0 Speed Analysis
I tested WordPress 5.0 on the Cloudways Platform to see if there’s any performance difference between 5.0 and its predecessor 4.9.8.
Note: To avoid performance bias, I’ve used a server without any optimization to minimize the impact on the test results.
Test Environment: 1GB Linode server; data center located in Freemont, CA USA.
WordPress 4.9.8 with Twenty Seventeen Theme:
WordPress 5.0 with Twenty Nineteen Theme:
The result clearly shows that WordPress 5.0 with Twenty Nineteen theme outperformed version 4.9.8.
The website loading time reduced from 1.43s to 807ms and the number of requests reduced from 18 to 11. You’d be happy to know that you can further improve the results by applying speed optimization techniques.
However, another reason for the superior performance is that WordPress 5.0 is compatible with the Cloudways platform, so you can benefit highly from improved load times if your servers are hosted on our platform.
WordPress Gutenberg – The New Block Editor
Gutenberg created a lot of buzz in the WordPress Community when Automattic introduced it in 2017.
You can even judge the importance of the new editor from the invitation that appears in WordPress 4.9.x Dashboard.
It’s an arms-wide-open invitation for WordPress users to test out Gutenberg Editor, but you retain the option to use the Classic Editor.
The main feature of WP 5.0 is Gutenberg and OceanWP is compatible with it, I will do some changes and everything will be good 🙂
I think Gutenberg can be really great, at first it will be a little difficult to use as we will not be familiar with it but soon everyone will like it and it can become really amazing to create custom blocks and probably other things.
– Nicolas of OceanWP
Gutenberg is the default editor in WordPress 5.0. However, if you are reluctant to use the new editor, you can still use the classic editor plugin. If you have no immediate plans to upgrade to WordPress 5.0 but would still like to test out Gutenberg, you need to install the Gutenberg plugin.
Coming back to your new editor, navigate to Posts → Add New and you’ll see a drastically different layout from the one you’ve been used to.
Features of Gutenberg Editor
The right tray contains two tabs: Document and Block.
- Document: This contains all the Classic Editor options for publishing, choosing categories, and uploading featured images, etc.
- Block: This will be a new feature for many, but if you’ve used any WordPress page builder before, you’d be able to relate to Gutenberg Blocks.
The blocks are predefined templates for a specific section in the post. Table Block, for example, lets you add a table and define the number of rows and columns.
It’s pretty intuitive and you can easily configure the styling and table settings from the Block settings.
As part of our release of Elementor Blocks for Gutenberg, I did a lot of tests using Gutenberg. It’s really easy and simple to write rich blog posts with it, and as a marketer dealing with content all the time I really liked it. Much better than the previous editor.
– Ben Pines of Elementor
WordPress Gutenberg Editor also comes with text styling and formatting options to let you define the size, text color, and background color of the text.
Live HTML Preview
Live HTML preview is another great new feature that simplifies the use of HTML code within posts’ and pages’ body. This custom block lets users add custom HTML into the post body (where needed) and preview it right inside the editor.
Here are some other key features of the new editor:
- Built-in buttons that can be dragged and dropped anywhere inside the post
- A separate block to embed social profiles
- Word and block count
- New alignment options via a specific block.
- Table of contents and anchor support
All new enhanced user experience, right?
Although Gutenberg is rich with new and useful features, it has also been one of the biggest controversies in the WordPress community. Users are reluctant to switch to the new format for one reason or another, however, I wouldn’t be wrong in saying that the future of WordPress lies in the Gutenberg Editor.
Features of WordPress 5.0
Here are some of the most important features of WordPress 5.0
- Different default editor font can be selected for a different locale.
- Image and Video blocks can be transformed into an embed block.
- A complete draft of the post is saved when the ‘preview’ button is clicked.
- Localized DateTimePicker component.
- wp-image-### CSS class has been added to enable the usage of srcset and size attributes for images.
- All meta boxes are saved when the ‘preview’ button is hit.
- Only the updated meta is saved through a recursive approach of tracking post meta in Block API to avoid saving the default value for each registered meta.
Since WordPress security has always been important for the community, the WordPress Core Team is actively working on improving the core security.
WordPressers use front-end editors (or page builders) extensively. However, with WordPress 5.0, users can take advantage of built-in lightweight and fast front-end editor, which inherits its functionality from the Customizer framework.
It’s great for basic customization and formatting but lacks the advanced features that popular page builders offer (often for a price).
Improved Mobile Optimization
The WordPress Core Team has emphasized on improving the mobile experience for all users on WordPress 5.0.
Hence, the new Twenty Nineteen Theme along with all previous default themes are now fully responsive. This initiative is aimed at improving page load speed of default themes on mobile devices, ensuring higher SERP rankings for these websites.
Background Image Cropping
WordPress 5.0 now lets you crop background images before going live which significantly reduces the time it used to take to crop manually and then uploading.
New WordPress Theme – Twenty Nineteen
Finally, I have the new and enhanced WordPress default theme waiting to be activated. This theme is Gutenberg Editor-ready.
Twenty Nineteen is a lightweight theme and has a modern minimalist look suitable for professional blogs and websites. It is completely responsive and users can customize it as per their requirements.
Super excited that a better editor is finally coming in the WordPress core, so noncoders can build a beautiful website themselves without having to contact developers for every small change. I’m just a bit concerned the way core team has set aggressive deadlines as this a HUGE update scheduled to be released just before holidays. I really wish they would reconsider the release date to Jan 2019.
As for our products, we have been on top of Gutenberg since it was announced. We have already released a Gutenberg integration in the Astra theme!
– Sujay Pawar of Astra
Better Default Themes
WordPress has released a new theme but it did not stop them from improving the older ones. This is great news for users as they can hope for updates to these themes as well. The themes from Twenty Seventeen until Twenty Ten will get updates for Gutenberg Editor support.
Whenever there is a new major release from WordPress, the Community has mixed reactions. WordPress 5.0 was no different as it received more attention due to Gutenberg, the new block editor.
It is essential to know what people think about WordPress 5.0 and the key elements behind their opinions.
I’m personally really excited for Gutenberg. I think it’s a step in the right direction and will allow users to create complex layouts without the need for a page builder.
GeneratePress 2.2 is currently in public testing and has full support for Gutenberg.
I worry that they’re rushing the release, but in the end you need to have faith that they’re going to get it right and do the right thing for the community/internet.
– Tom Usborne of GeneratePress
And Not So Good
This one is my favorite!
WordPress 5.0 is undoubtedly a major update, but right now, it is hard to say if it will gain the same popularity as it’s predecessors? It is too early for a definitive answer and the decision of the community is still pending.
In this coverage of the latest version, I have provided a bird’s eye view of all the new WordPress 5.0 features. Keep in mind that this is just out and many features and options will continue to evolve in the coming days. I highly recommend the readers to test the new features of WordPress 5.0 themselves and report any bugs to support, so that the WordPress Core Team can fix them.
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Ibad Ur Rehman is a WordPress Community Manager at Cloudways. He likes to explore the latest open-source technologies and to interact with different communities. In his free time, he likes to read, watch a series or fly his favorite Cessna 172SP in X Plane 11 flight simulator.