WordPress 5.5.1: Platform Tune-Up and Bug Fixes | October 2020

As the leaves change colors, temperatures drop, and pumpkins dominate beverages and desserts, WordPress updates in 2020 are rolling in during the home stretch of the year. 

Last month, WordPress released core software version 5.5 and moved events online. This month, the updates keep coming with bug fixes and a new default theme. 

Get up to speed with all the latest WordPress core version updates: 

  • Latest WordPress version, 5.5.1 Maintenance Release 
  • WordPress 5.6 default theme, Twenty Twenty One
  • Opt-in emails for plugin updates
  • New features from the Themes Team 

What is the Latest Version of WordPress in October 2020?

WordPress 5.5.1 is now available. It is a maintenance release with updates to WordPress 5.5.  

The short-term-cycle release fixes 34 bugs and includes five enhancements and five fixes for the block editor. 

This WordPress update resolved issues including:

  • URLs incorrectly paginated
  • Inconsistencies between browsers
  • The ability to disable email auto-updates
  • Site health indicator updates
  • Missing excerpts
  • Typos that lead to warning messages
  • Adjusting color discrepancies on darker themes
  • Correcting aria description in list view
  • Fixing editor preview for mobile and table options, with meta boxes enabled

Find the update on your dashboard or directly download WordPress 5.5.1.

The next major update will be WordPress 5.6, with a target release date of December 8. It’s expected to have features including automatic updates for major core releases, widget editing capability, and nav menu block.

New Year, New Default Theme

The new default theme for WordPress 5.6 will be Twenty Twenty One

Default themes are meant to showcase the latest WordPress upgrades’s different features. Twenty Twenty One serves as a blank slate for the block editor. 

The Twenty Twenty One theme’s design is straightforward. It empowers users with a system of CSS variables to easily create child themes, support international styles, and allow for full-site editing.  

The motivation was to provide the user a clean page for a digital environment for WordPress beginners or veterans. 

As WordPress designer Mel Choyce-Dwan says about the design: 

“After trying some designs heavily inspired by print resources, @kjellr remarked to me, ‘why not try something natively digital?’ I added even more ideas to my increasingly unwieldy pinterest board and gave it a shot. The concept ended up being the most natural, usable design of the bunch. It was simple and un-opinionated, yet still refined. It felt like a fresh canvas, waiting to be painted.”

The default theme has changed every year since 2010, except 2018 (likely due to delays with Gutenberg). The new designs are an effort to add variety and alleviate pressure from having one definitive default theme. 

In case you missed them, take a look over the default themes released over past years:

Safer Plugin Approval

Authors of WordPress plugins now have the ability to confirm plugin updates via email. Creators can opt-in to release confirmation emails and approve any update over email before the release. 

This feature acts as another layer of protection. It will increase security and ensure that any updates are intentional. The original Trac ticket requested this feature to help avoid potential issues with accidental or malicious plugin releases. 

You can explore the feature in the official WordPress Plugin Directory. 

Themes Team Updates

The Themes Team introduced two new features: the ability to delist themes and a new loader project for web fonts. 

The delist feature temporarily hides a theme from search, but it still stays available. This function allows the team to delist themes if they violate the Theme Directory Guidelines.

In a major update when it comes to using fonts within themes, the Themes Team is making it easier to implement locally hosted web fonts and give you more control over your WordPress website.

This WordPress update will help to improve site performance because it makes it easier to host theme fonts directly on a WordPress site instead of pinging a third-party server. It will also increase privacy and decrease tracking concerns. 

WordPress Updates October 2020

This month, the Make WordPress team launched the latest WordPress upgrade to fix bugs with core maintenance release 5.5.1, designated a default theme for its newest update, and added a delist feature to the WordPress Theme Directory.

The next major release in 2020 will be WordPress 5.6. Stay tuned for updates
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Machielle Thomas
Machielle Thomas | Content Manager
Machielle Thomas writes and curates web and email content for marketing professionals, small business owners, bloggers, and more.

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