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How to Check & Upgrade to the Latest WordPress Version (In-Depth Guide)

Updated on October 19, 2022

11 Min Read
wordpress version

WordPress is a name that resonates with every website creator, and the numbers speak for its favor. Powering over 43 percent (Source: W3Techs) of the total websites on the internet, WordPress is the most popular CMS in cyberspace.

With the first official public release in 2003, WordPress has maintained a practice of releasing its updated versions frequently and has released over 550 versions (both major and minor) over the course of 19 years, with 6.0 being the latest WordPress version.

Of course, in 2022, you can’t use a WordPress version released decades ago and expect optimum website performance or perfect user experience. In this piece, you’ll learn how to check what WordPress version you’re currently running and how to upgrade or downgrade this to a version that suits your requirements.

I’ll also explain why WordPress updates are so frequent, the history of WordPress versions, and notable changes in its major updates.

If you want to skip all that and jump to the how-to part of it, click here to see how to check your WordPress version, here to learn how to upgrade it, and here to downgrade it.

Why Does WordPress Release Frequent Updates?

While it might seem like a chore to keep up with the latest releases, outdated sites are particularly vulnerable to hackers and bugs.

With each new version, WordPress developers bring updates that tackle vulnerabilities identified by the community and themselves. Every minor update thus eliminates errors, glitches, or security vulnerabilities found in the previous version.

While most updates contain security improvements, many updates are performance-focused, which can be more subtle to notice. Some WordPress version releases may include a slight change, and some may change the way things work. All these additions are mapped according to time needs and simplify the user experience.

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WordPress Versions: Major vs. Minor

WordPress ensures that it’s up-to-date by frequently releasing new updates, improving security, performance, and user experience with each update.

The CMS giant categorizes its updates as major and minor. The former introduces a significant update or change, like the addition of Gutenberg in WordPress 5.0. The latter is a small update that can be a minor feature, tweaks, or bug fixes.

WordPress Major Versions

WordPress’ major version release indicates a critical change or improvement in the core software. Each major update generally comes after 4 to 6 months of the previous release, and a beta version is made available to the users prior to the actual release.

There have been 43 major WordPress releases till today, each named after a Jazz musician. The best thing about these updates is that WordPress users aren’t obliged to upgrade to the latest version; they have complete freedom to continue running on the versions of their own choice.

WordPress Minor Versions

Unlike the major releases, WordPress minor versions generally do not introduce any new features or core updates. They mainly focus on bug fixes and minor improvements, so they are automatically installed.

Minor releases are quite frequent, and they keep coming time after time, even for the earlier versions. For example, the 3.8 version came out in December 2013 but had its latest minor release, 3.8.37, on 6th January 2022.

There have been more than 500 WordPress minor version releases to date. While some major versions can have a few minor releases, others like 3.7 and 3.8 each have 38 minor releases.

How to Check Your Current WordPress Version [Easy Methods]

Every WordPress website’s stakeholders must know their site’s version. This information will help keep their users’ sensitive data safe from potential hackers as older WordPress versions are more vulnerable to security breaches.

There are multiple ways to check your website’s current WordPress version. This section will demonstrate the three fastest methods to do so.

How to Check Your WordPress Version via Admin Dashboard

You can check your site’s current WordPress version from several places in the admin dashboard. Of course, this requires you to have the dashboard’s admin credentials. Follow the steps below:

  • Log in to your site’s WordPress Dashboard.

wordpress admin dashboard

  • Locate the “At a Glance” section on the top left of your dashboard.

At a glance

  • There you will find your WordPress version.
  • As this site isn’t running on the latest WordPress version, you will see the following message above the “At a Glance” section.

update to new version

If the “At a Glance” widget is disabled on your site, there’s another way to check your current WordPress version.

Let’s check it on a WordPress site using the latest version.

  • Scroll down to the bottom of your dashboard, and you’ll find the number in the footer.

current wordpress version

There’s yet another quick way to check the version from your WordPress Dashboard:

  • Navigate to the WordPress logo on the top left side of the dashboard.
  • Click on “About WordPress.”

about wordpress

  • You will find your current WordPress version on the screen.

current wordpress version

How to Check Your WordPress Version via Page Source

What if you don’t have the admin credentials of a WordPress website, but still want to find out its version? Well, you can do that via Page Source:

  • Open the desired WordPress website on a browser.
  • Right-click on the page, and click “View Page Source.”

wordpress version page source

  • Search for the term “generator“. If the generator tag is enabled, you will see something like this:

generator tag

Your current WordPress version will be revealed via generator tag.

How to Check Your WordPress Version via RSS Feed

Apart from these, there’s another quick method to check the WordPress version of a site. This also uses the “generator” tag, but in a different way:

  • Visit any WordPress website.

wordpress site

  • Edit the URL and type “ /feed “ at the end.

add feed in url

  • Hit the Enter key.
  • Search for “generator,” and you will find the WordPress version used by that site.

search generator

How to Upgrade to the Latest WordPress Version

Running an older WordPress version? Upgrade it to use the CMS to its full potential.

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While the decision to upgrade is entirely up to you, older WordPress versions leave your website vulnerable to unaddressed bugs. Thankfully, WordPress offers quick version upgrades; follow the steps below:

  • Go to your WordPress admin dashboard.
  • Locate the “At a Glance” widget.
  • You’ll see your current WordPress version, and if it’s outdated, you’ll see the “Update to 6.03” button right next to it.
  • Click on the “update to 6.0.3” button.

update to new version

  • Back up your database and files before updating your version. Visit the Updating WordPress documentation page for more information.
  • Click the “Update Now” button.

update now

  • Your WordPress website will be updated to the latest 5.9 version in less than a minute.

latest wordpress version

How to Downgrade WordPress to a Previous Version [Using a Plugin]

Want to downgrade your WordPress website to an older version of your choice? Well, it is very much possible.

While it’s recommended to use the latest WordPress version for security and performance reasons, incompatibility of some plugins or themes may force you to revert to an older WordPress version.

To downgrade the WordPress version, follow the steps below:

  • Go to your WordPress admin dashboard.
  • Click Plugins > Add New.

add plugin

  • Type “WP downgrade” in the search bar.

wp downgrade

  • Click on the Install button, and activate the plugin.

wp downgrade

  • Click “Installed Plugins” under the Plugins section.
  • Locate the “WP Downgrade” plugin and click Settings.

wp downgrade settings

  • Type your desired WordPress version in the field next to “WordPress Target Version.” Here I am selecting the 5.4 version.
  • Click Save Changes.

wp downgrade options

  • Click Update Core under Save Settings.

wp downgrade update core

  • Click the “Re-install version 5.4” button.

reinstall older version

  • Ta-da! You’ve successfully downgraded your WordPress version to a previous one.

at a glance

How to Hide WordPress Version Number

You can remove or hide your current WordPress version using multiple methods. Many people prefer doing it via a plugin, but you can also do it manually without any hassle.

Note: If you hide your WordPress version via this method, it will also limit anyone (including you) from checking the current version using the “RSS feed” or the “page source” method.

I prefer doing this process manually, as the plugins are not updated regularly, so your site can be left vulnerable to hackers.

Follow the steps below:

  • Go to your WordPress dashboard.
  • Click on Appearance > Theme File Editor.

theme file editor

  • Locate and click on the “functions.php” option under the Theme Files.

functions.php

  • Scroll down to the end of the code.

edit themes code

  • Add these lines of code to the existing code.
function remove_wordpress_version() {
return '';
}
add_filter('the_generator', 'remove_wordpress_version');
  • Click on the “Update File” button.

And you’re done. Check if you can see the version by the methods shared above, and you’ll notice that your site’s WordPress version won’t be visible to anyone who does not have admin credentials.

WordPress Latest Version: What’s New?

WordPress recently had a major release with the 6.0 version on May 24, 2022. The previous major release was the  5.9 version, back on January 25, 2022.

Named after Grammy award-winning Latin jazz and Afro-Cuban jazz musician Arturo O’Farrill, it comes with the twenty twenty-two theme that is activated by default.

While WordPress 5.9 version gave users the option of using the full site editor, the 6.0 version makes significant updates to this feature. WordPress 6.0 promises you an amazing full-site editing experience by letting you use new site-wide blocks, editable templates, and more patterns.

This version also extends the block editing experience beyond posts and pages to all parts of the site, making site modification much easier than ever before.

List of WordPress Versions [Notable Releases]

Since there have been 550+ WordPress version releases, it’s not possible to cover every single one here, so I’ll only list the notable releases post the 5.0 version.

WordPress 5.0

  • Musician: Bebo Valdés
  • Release Date: December 6, 2018
  • Latest Minor Release: 5.0.14 (January 6, 2022)
  • Notable changes Introduced:
    1. New Block Editor.
    2. New Default Theme: Twenty Nineteen.

WordPress 5.1

  • Musician: Betty Carter
  • Release Date: February 21, 2019
  • Latest Minor Release: 5.1.11 (January 6, 2022)
  • Notable changes Introduced:
    1. Improved editor.
    2. Site health.
    3. Multisite metadata.
    4. New JS build processes.

WordPress 5.2

  • Musician: Jaco Pastorius
  • Release Date: May 7, 2019
  • Latest Minor Release: 5.2.13 (January 6, 2022)
  • Notable changes Introduced:
    1. 13 new dashboard icons.
    2. PHP error protection.
    3. Accessibility updates.
    4. Plugin compatibility checks.
    5. New body tag hook.

WordPress 5.3

  • Musician: Rahsaan Roland Kirk
  • Release Date: November 12, 2019
  • Latest Minor Release: 5.3.10 (January 6, 2022)
  • Notable changes Introduced:
    1. 150 new features and improvements in the Block Editor.
    2. New design tools.
    3. New Default Theme: Twenty Twenty.
    4. Admin Email verification.
    5. PHP 7.4 Compatibility.

WordPress 5.4

  • Musician: Nat Adderley
  • Release Date: March 31, 2020
  • Latest Minor Release: 5.4.9 (January 6, 2022)
  • Notable changes Introduced:
    1. Two new blocks.
    2. Clearer block navigation.
    3. Ability to add custom fields to menu items.

WordPress 5.5

  • Musician: Billy Eckstine
  • Release Date: August 11, 2020
  • Latest Minor Release: 5.5.8 (January 6, 2022)
  • Notable changes Introduced:
    1. New sitemap.
    2. Lazy loading.
    3. Auto-updates for Plugins and Themes.
    4. New block patterns.
    5. Inline image editing.

WordPress 5.6

  • Musician: Nina Simone
  • Release Date: December 8, 2020
  • Latest Minor Release: 5.6.7 (January 6, 2022)
  • Notable changes Introduced:
    1. Greater layout flexibility.
    2. New Default Theme: Twenty Twenty-One.
    3. Built-in patterns.
    4. REST API authentication with Application Passwords.
    5. PHP 8 Support.

WordPress 5.7

  • Musician: Esperanza Spalding
  • Release Date: March 9, 2021
  • Latest Minor Release: 5.7.5 (January 6, 2022)
  • Notable changes Introduced:
    1. Block Editor changes.
    2. New color palette.
    3. One-click switch from HTTP to HTTPS.
    4. New Robots API.

WordPress 5.8

  • Musician: Art Tatum
  • Release Date: July 20, 2021
  • Latest Minor Release: 5.8.3 (January 6, 2022)
  • Notable changes Introduced:
    1. Widgets management with blocks.
    2. Page structure overview.
    3. Images styling and colorization.
    4. WebP support.

WordPress 5.9

  • Musician: Joséphine Baker
  • Release Date: January 25, 2022
  • Latest Minor Release: NILL
  • Notable changes Introduced:
    1. Full site editing.
    2. New Default Theme: Twenty Twenty-Two.
    3. Personal paintbox.
    4. Improved block controls.
    5. Theme.json for child themes

WordPress 6.0

  • Musician: Arturo O’Farrill
  • Release Date: May 24, 2022
  • Latest Minor Release: 6.0.3
  • Notable changes Introduced:
    1. Improvements in full site editing
    2. An improved template browsing experience
    3. Web Fonts API
    4. Enhanced navigation blocks
    5. Alternative Global Styles
    6. New hooks

Summary

Given its popularity, WordPress cannot afford to compromise on its security and user experience, and thus frequently updates its versions. Each version release welcomes new changes and immunity to bugs reported in the previous versions.

One must upgrade to the latest WordPress version for smooth usage, and this blog has listed the various methods to check and upgrade your current WordPress version.

Moreover, I have also discussed the steps to downgrade and hide your site’s WordPress version, the difference between the major and minor releases, and a list of the notable WordPress releases.

What is the current version of WordPress?

WordPress 6.0 is the latest version of WordPress. It is a major release that came out on May 24, 2022. WordPress 6.0 introduced new enhancements in full site editing and new features like new blocks, block editor enhancements, styles switching, and better text & writing controls.

Which WordPress version is best?

It is always recommended to use the latest WordPress version. So, as of today, WordPress 6.0 is the best version as it has improved performance and is updated with all the fixes missing in the previous versions.

How do I install the latest version of WordPress?

Follow the steps below to install the latest version of WordPress:

  • Go to your WordPress admin dashboard.
  • Locate the “At a Glance” widget.
  • Click on the “Update to 6.0” button.
  • Click the “Update Now” button.
  • Your website will be instantly updated to the latest WordPress 5 version.

How do I find my WordPress version code?

Follow the steps below to find your WordPress version code:

  • Log in to your site’s WordPress Dashboard.
  • Locate the “At a Glance” section on the top left of your dashboard.
  • There you will find your current WordPress version code.

This blog also mentions the steps to find your WordPress version via page source and RSS feed.

How many versions of WordPress are there?

There are over 550 WordPress versions in total (both major and minor). The major release count stands at 43, the latest 6.0, while over 500 minor versions have been released since WordPress’ official release.

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Sarim Javaid

Sarim Javaid is a Digital Content Producer at Cloudways. He has a habit of penning down his random thoughts and giving words and meaning to the clutter of ideas colliding inside his mind. His obsession with Google and his curious mind add to his research-based writing. Other than that, he's a music and art admirer and an overly-excited person.

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