WordPress 5.7 “Esperanza” was released on March 9th. This is the first release of WordPress in 2021! With this new version, WordPress brings you fresh colors. The editor helps you work in a few places you couldn’t before without getting into code or hiring a pro. The controls you use most are right where you need them. Layout changes that should be simple, are even simpler to make.
This version of WordPress is named after Esperanza Spalding, a modern musical prodigy. To celebrate her mastery of the musical arts, we put together a Spotify playlist for you to enjoy while you read all about what’s new in WordPress 5.7, Esperanza! 🎧🎶🎶
Top New Features, Improvements, and Upgrades for WordPress 5.7
Version 5.7 is a major version release of WordPress and includes 68 new features, enhancements, and feature requests, plus 127 bug fixes, among other items of note. Additionally, for fans of Gutenberg, you’ll be pleased to know the last seven major Gutenberg plugin releases have been baked into WordPress’s core functionality.
In the Gutenberg project, WordPress 5.7 represents Phase 2. This year, WordPress’s team of contributors and developers will be focusing on the development of WordPress core features with the goal of full site editing being available before WordPress 5.8.
Upgrade a Site from HTTP to HTTPS with a Single Click
One of the most difficult things in WordPress can be the upgrade from HTTP to HTTPS and having to manually fix any hard-coded HTTP URLs to avoid mixed content warnings. To spare users from this agony, WordPress has made upgrading a site from HTTP to HTTPS so simply, it’s now a one-click option. Additionally, as part of the upgrade process, WordPress will automatically update database URLs!
To upgrade a WordPress site to HTTPS, use the steps below:
Step 1: On your WordPress Dashboard, look for the Site Health Status area. Click the link for “Site Health Screen” to open that Utility.
Step 2: Once the Site Health Screen opens, the Utility will run scans on your WordPress site to determine if there are any issues with the Health and Performance of your Site. Let the utility run.
If your site is not using HTTPS, you will see a screen that looks similar to the one below:
Click the downward-facing arrow next to the warning about your site not using HTTPS.
Click the blue-button titled Update your site to use HTTPS.
If WordPress detects that HTTPS is already supported for your Website but your Site Address isn’t using HTTPS by default, simply click the update your site to use HTTPS button and WordPress will upgrade itself to HTTPS and automatically change all your Site URLs in the process + migrate the content to the new HTTPS URLs.
That’s it! WordPress will modify itself to use https:// instead of http:// in all of the URLs referencing itself on your site! No other trickery or configuration needed. It’s like magic!
A better way to send Password Reset Emails & Links
If you’re an administrator for a WordPress site, you’ve no doubt had that call from one of your users, “Oh my gosh Mike, I can’t remember the password to my WordPress login and I need to get this article edited and published like yesterday… can you help?”… Why yes, yes I can quickly and easily with the new way to send a password reset email built into the Users function:
Once you click that Send password reset link, the user will get an email with a link to create a new password on their own. This does not automatically reset their password and send the user the new password, the user has to complete the password change.
There’s also another way to send the password reset link directly from the user’s profile page.
Improvements for Full-Site Editing Workflows
Full Site Editing, or FSE, is coming to WordPress in version 5.8, this release paves the way for it. The goal of the full site editing project is to utilize the power of Gutenberg’s block model in an editing experience that goes beyond just content on a page or post. The editing mode will understand the structure of your website and provide suggestions for ways to modify the global elements, like your headers and footers.
For those who live and die by the Block Editor, you’ll be thrilled to learn this change will bring block editing to the entire site, not just posts, and pages. 🎉
Other notable improvements to the block editor in this release include:
- Now you can drag & drop blocks directly from the inserter panel into your post or page.
- You can set custom icon and background colors AND sizes for social icons!
- You now have the ability to customize the font size for lists and code blocks.
- Button blocks now have the ability to have their width set as a percentage.
- If you use the Block Variations API, you may see a new option to transform your button blocks into a new arrangement featuring a new vertical layout!
- The spacer block is now semi-transparent. This is a huge UI upgrade!
- You can now turn on text labels in a block toolbar, rather than having icons only.
Also, in design news, a standardized and simplified WP-Admin color palette has been introduced.
Ain’t she a beaut?
This new streamlined color palette collapses all the colors that used to be in the WordPress source code down to seven core colors and a range of 56 shades that meet the WCAG 2.0 AA recommended contrast ratio against white or black.
The colors are perceptually uniform from light to dark in each range, which means they start at white and get darker by the same amount with each step. Half the range has a 4.5 or higher contrast ratio against black, and the other half maintains the same contrast against white.
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.
Ryelle also published a tool called PostCSS which can be used on any CSS file to either replace or create a secondary CSS File with the new 5.7 color palette. Now that the color palette has been reduced, the next step will be to switch to CSS variables for better maintainability of WordPress Admin CSS colors.
A few other notable features:
- The new Robots API lets you include the filter directives in the robot’s meta tag, and the API includes the max-image-preview: large directive by default. This means search engines can show bigger image previews, which can boost your traffic (unless the site is marked not-public).
- By default, WordPress will add a loading=”lazy” attribute to iframe tags when both width and height are specified to let the iframe lazy load.
- Major cleanup in jQuery 3.5.1 has taken place and in WordPress 5.7 it gets more focused and less intrusive, with fewer mixed-messages in your console.
How to Update to WordPress 5.7
There’s nothing like getting a shiny new toy, especially one that’s loaded with all the updates in this release. There’s also nothing like crashing your site and having to rebuild from a backup that is from a week ago or maybe more because something wasn’t compatible and you upgraded anyway.
As always, with any release of WordPress (or software in general), it’s best practice to take a backup using Softaculous, before upgrading. In case anything goes wrong for any reason, we’ve got you covered! With our WordPress Hosting, you get free daily backups.
Another option is to do the update in a staging environment. If you are a ChemiCloud customer, we’ve got you covered. Our WordPress Staging feature will help you create and manage staging copies with one just click.
It’s also important to ensure any/all plugins installed in your WordPress site are compatible with the new release. Sometimes, it’s best to wait a few days or a week or so to let plugin developers catch up. Of course, if you like to live on the edge, upgrade away!
Updating to WordPress 5.7 is as easy as any other core update. All you have to do is click on the Updates icon in your admin dashboard and then click on Update Now.
So what are you waiting for? WordPress 5.7 is out, go back up your site and update to play with all the shiny new toys.
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