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After releasing WordPress 5.8 in July 2021, the WordPress team is back with yet another update. The latest update — WordPress 5.8.1 — comes with security and bug fixes to sort out the security issues that have plagued WordPress since version 5.4.

Read on to learn more about:

The Latest WordPress Version: 5.8.1

The Next Major Release: WordPress 5.9

Final Thoughts: WordPress 5.8.1 — Security Updates + WordPress 5.9 Sneak Peek

The Latest WordPress Version: 5.8.1

WordPress 5.8.1 is a short-cycle security and maintenance release that fixes three prominent issues in WordPress versions 5.4 to 5.8. These include:

  • Data exposure in REST API: The REST API allows plugins and themes to interact with the WordPress core. However, it’s been a source of security vulnerabilities. The most recent one, which involved the Gutenberg Template Library and Redux Framework, exposed data from over a million websites.
  • Cross-site scripting in the Gutenberg Block Editor: Cross-site scripting (XSS) attacks are one of the most common security vulnerabilities. These breaches allow attackers to access your website via input forms. The latest update addresses XSS attacks on the Gutenberg Block Editor.
  • Critical vulnerabilities in the Lodash JavaScript library. The Lodash JavaScript library, a set of scripts used by developers, has multiple vulnerabilities. WordPress 5.8.1 addresses these issues by including the latest and safest version, which is Lodash 4.17.21.

All WordPress versions since 5.4 have been updated to fix the vulnerabilities. On top of the three security fixes, WordPress 5.8.1 features 41 bug fixes for core and 20 bug fixes for the Block Editor.

WordPress recommends updating your core software, especially versions 5.4 to 5.8.

WordPress released version 5.8.1 on Sept. 9, 2021. Before that, version 5.8 — WordPress’ last major update featuring Full Site Editing — was released in July 2021.

WordPress’ next update is version 5.9, slated for a Dec. 2021 release.

The Next Major Release: WordPress 5.9

Blocks and intrinsic web design in WordPress 5.9
Image Source

The WordPress core team has started working on the next major release, WordPress 5.9.

The WordPress 5.9 release signals the conclusion of the Gutenberg project’s second phase, which aims to bring Full Site Editing to all WordPress users. The release will focus on block and website editing features such as:

  • Intrinsic web design to blocks
  • Improved block patterns
  • Navigation menus
  • A new default theme
  • Editing flows for block themes
  • More design tools

Excitingly, WordPress 5.9 is going in-depth into responsive design at the block level.

“One of the biggest points of friction for pattern and theme builders are the lack of responsive tools available at a block level.”

Matias Ventura, WordPress 5.9 Project Lead

Thus, the content team is working to make the tools responsive and intuitive.

Other features the team is considering but may not make the release timeline include:

  • Pattern insertion and creation
  • Better compatibility with PHP 8.0 and 8.1
  • PHPUnit tests

The WordPress core team has until Oct. 12, 2021, to decide whether or not to include those proposed features in WordPress 5.9. The first beta version is set for a Nov. 16 release, while the general release is scheduled for Dec. 14.

As of writing, the WordPress 5.9 release is just under three months away. There have been concerns about whether the proposed features will be finished, given the tight deadline. However, initial work on those features has already started with the Gutenberg plugin updates.

Final Thoughts: WordPress 5.8.1 — Security Updates + WordPress 5.9 Sneak Peek

Shortly after the much-anticipated release of version 5.8 in July 2021, WordPress released version 5.8.1, a security update to address issues in version 5.8 and prepare for its next major release, WordPress 5.9.

WordPress 5.9 is the last major release for 2021 and culminates the second phase of the Gutenberg Project, which focuses on Full Site Editing. According to initial plans, the WordPress core team is focusing on responsive block design for version 5.9.

Stay tuned for updates about WordPress 5.9 by following us on Twitter @Bluehost.

  • Devin Sears

    Devin is a Senior Event Marketing Manager for the Bluehost brand. He is our brand steward for all things Bluehost and WordPress. You'll always see him supporting Bluehost at WordCamps around the world!

    Brigham Young University
    Previous Experience
    Social Media, Customer Experience, Field Marketing, Sponsorships, Event Coordinator
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