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The tireless efforts of the WordPress community have shone through once again. May has been a pivotal month, highlighted by the maintenance release of WordPress 6.5.3 and exciting previews of the upcoming WordPress 6.6. These updates showcase the platform’s commitment to enhancing stability, functionality, and user experience. 

Here’s everything you need to know about the WordPress updates that were rolled out in May 2024. 

WordPress 6.5.3 Maintenance Release 

Released on May 7, 2024, the WordPress 6.5.3 update addresses several crucial aspects of the platform, ensuring enhanced stability and functionality. This release included fixes for 12 core bugs and nine in the Block Editor, making it an essential update for all users. 

For an easy update, users can navigate to the Dashboard > Updates menu in their site’s admin area or directly download the update from the WordPress download page. 

Comprehensive bug fixes 

This maintenance release tackled a total of 21 bugs, focusing on 12 critical fixes in the core functionality and nine targeted adjustments in the Block Editor. These refinements contribute to a more reliable and smoother editing experience. 

Leadership and contributions 

The release was expertly led by Aaron Jorbin and Grant M. Kinney, who coordinated efforts across various teams. The success of this update go to the dedicated contributors who worked asynchronously to roll out these important fixes. 

 The road to WordPress 6.6: A glimpse into the future 

As we continue to enhance the WordPress experience, the roadmap for the upcoming WordPress 6.6 has been unveiled, with an anticipated release date of July 16, 2024. This next major release aims to elevate user experience, refine themes, and polish existing APIs, promising an even more streamlined and versatile WordPress environment. 

Key highlights of the WordPress 6.6 roadmap 

Focused enhancements in user experience 


  • Data views: Ongoing improvements to Data Views will make managing and displaying data more intuitive and efficient. 
  • Global style variations: Users can look forward to more dynamic ways to mix and match color and typography sets, providing greater creative flexibility. 

Theme and design innovations 

  • Synced patterns: Initially planned for the 6.5 release, synced patterns are now set to debut in WordPress 6.6, allowing themes to have more consistent design elements across various parts. 
  • Block style variations: Enhanced support for block style variations will be introduced, including a dedicated /block-styles directory that allows theme developers to offer diverse aesthetic options easily. 
  • Enhanced grid support: Improvements to grid support for blocks and a new Grid variation for the Group block will enable more complex and visually appealing layouts. 

Advanced design tools 

  • Shadow tools and negative margin support: New design tools such as shadow effects and negative margin support will provide developers and designers with more control over the aesthetics of their sites. 
  • Aspect ratio presets: These presets will facilitate media-rich layouts, making it simpler to maintain visual consistency across different devices and screen sizes. 

Innovations in design customization: Gutenberg 18.3 

With the release of Gutenberg 18.3, WordPress continues to push the boundaries of site customization and design flexibility. This update introduces a refined method for defining color and typography style variations that enhance the user’s creative control. 

  • Refined style definitions: In Gutenberg 18.3, when variations are defined in your theme’s /styles folder focusing solely on color or typography, they no longer appear as comprehensive style options. Instead, these specific variations are now accessible directly through the new Colors and Typography panels in the Site Editor sidebar. 
  • Enhanced accessibility: This update makes it easier for users to apply distinct color schemes or typographic styles without navigating through complex settings. By simplifying the process, WordPress aims to empower users, allowing for quicker and more intuitive site customization. 


Significant updates to plugins and tools in May 2024 

May has been an active month for developments in WordPress plugins and tools, showcasing advancements in functionality and user experience. 

HTML API progress report 

A detailed progress report on the HTML API has been released, outlining significant internal enhancements and planned steps forward. Future iterations will enable functionalities such as reading and modifying block attributes, comprehensive HTML support, and the introduction of Bits/Tokens, envisioned as Shortcodes 2.0. 

Stabilizing experimental components 

The focus has been on stabilizing experimental components, which involves rigorous testing and bug fixing to prepare these components for production use. This step is crucial in ensuring that new features are both effective and reliable when officially integrated. 

Innovations in components 

Several new components were introduced, and existing ones received updates to boost their functionality and usability. These enhancements provide developers with an expanded toolkit, enabling more versatile and powerful website creation capabilities. 

Editor unification efforts 

Updates related to the unification of the editor aim to create a consistent user interface across all website editing functionalities. This initiative ensures a smoother, more intuitive editing process for users. 

Advancements in interactivity API 

The Interactivity API received updates designed to improve the responsiveness and interactive capabilities of WordPress sites. These improvements are geared towards enhancing the overall user experience by making sites more engaging and dynamic. 

Additional enhancements 

The month also saw other noteworthy changes, including performance enhancements, security tightening, and increased compatibility across different environments and platforms. These updates collectively contribute to a more robust and efficient WordPress ecosystem. 

Enhancements and innovations in WordPress themes: May 2024 updates 

Upgrade to version 3 

The update now triggers themes to upgrade to version 3 of theme.json when the default font sizes setting is adjusted. This upgrade allows themes to leverage the latest features and improvements available in the theme.json file, ensuring better customization and theme management. 

Layout updates 

Several updates were made to enhance layout flexibility, giving users more control over how their WordPress sites are structured. 

Text alignment block support 

New support for text alignment within blocks has been introduced, allowing for finer control over text presentation within various content elements. 

Background image control 

Enhancements to background image settings offer users more options in terms of handling and displaying images within their themes. 

Usability and interaction improvements 

  • Post classes in the editor: Users can now add custom CSS classes to posts directly from the editor, which simplifies the customization process and enhances the ability to create unique post styles. 
  • Full-Page, client-side navigation experiment: A new experiment with full-page, client-side navigation aims to significantly boost the speed and smoothness of navigating between pages. 

Technical and visual enhancements 

  • Block fixes: Numerous fixes have been applied to blocks to enhance their stability and reliability, ensuring a more consistent performance across user interfaces. 
  • Negative margin support: The introduction of negative margin support offers more creative freedom, enabling more dynamic and visually engaging layouts. 
  • Default theme updates: The default themes have received updates including bug fixes, performance enhancements, and new features, maintaining their relevance and utility for users. 

Stay informed with Bluehost 

As we approach the release of WordPress 6.6, Bluehost continues to be at the forefront of providing up-to-date, reliable hosting solutions recommended by WordPress itself.

Stay connected with us for more updates and consider signing up for our WordPress hosting service to ensure your site benefits from the latest WordPress innovations. 

Sign up today to keep your site secure, responsive, and ahead of the curve.

  • Pawan Kandari

    I'm Pawan, a content writer at Bluehost, specializing in WordPress. I enjoy breaking down technical topics to make them accessible. When I'm not writing, you'll find me lost in a good fiction book.

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