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This month in WordPress, there’s been plenty of excitement. WordPress 6.4 is quickly progressing through its release cycle; a release candidate is already available for testing. Gutenberg has also received significant updates.

WordPress volunteers are finally turning the tides on the infamous plugin backlog. And users will be voicing their opinions because the annual WordPress survey is available to gather feedback.

Several WordPress-related events kicked off recently, from WooSesh 2023 to WordPress Accessibility Day. Last but not least, applications for the Bluehost Bluehost Creators Awards are open.

Read on to get the WordPress highlights for Oct. 2023.

WordPress 6.4 release candidate 1: A host of new features

WordPress 6.4 is the latest iteration of the platform.

WordPress 6.4 is flying through development, with three beta releases launching across September and October, culminating in WordPress 6.4 release candidate one. The new update will be finished after a few more rounds of testing.

For now, try it on a development website to test the Command Palette redesign, new design tools, writing upgrades and over 60 accessibility improvements.

A series of dev notes covered various aspects of the upcoming release in detail, from performance optimization to new functions to block hooks. Read over them if you’re interested in seeing what WordPress 6.4 offers.

In other update news, WordPress Core 6.3.2 was released with several critical security fixes, so make sure you have it installed.

Gutenberg 16.7 & 16.8: Font Library, pattern enhancements

Gutenberg 16.7 included updates to its font library.
Screenshot (Source)

Gutenberg 16.7 launched in late September and is filled with exciting features — plus several bug fixes.

Its new Font Library allows users to manage and upload fonts for use across their website. A major restructure to pattern filters has made them easier to use. You can also import and export patterns as JSON files.

Gutenberg 16.8 came out and centered on quality-of-life enhancements such as adding a template toggle when editing pages.

Developer updates for October 2023

As WordPress 6.4 quickly approaches and the first release candidate has entered the public, developers are eagerly exploring the new technical features for October. Here’s a quick overview:

  • A new Plugin Check tool was released to help developers identify common errors and streamline plugin approvals.
  • Block updates: Group blocks now support naming and background images. Navigation blocks support buttons. Furthermore, button block variations are easier to access.
  • Block patterns can now be imported and exported as JSON files.
  • Image lightbox settings are no longer enabled in theme.json; they are now block-level specific attributes.
  • WordPress developers are looking into developing Gutenberg as a framework.
  • A small update was made to WordPress Coding Standards 3.0.1.

Notably, the Font Library feature has been moved to WordPress 6.5 as it needs more development time. You can test out the current iteration in Gutenberg.

You may have noticed that the live preview button was cut from plugin pages. A recent proposal suggests making this an opt-in feature to accommodate plugins with dependencies that break in the live preview environment.

Major vulnerabilities in Royal Elementor Addons and tagDiv Composer plugins

On Oct. 13, Wordfence identified a major vulnerability in Royal Elementor Add-ons and Templates, a plugin installed on over 200,000 websites.

The vulnerability allows attackers to upload malicious PHP files and execute remote code. This exploit has been attempted at least 40,000 times since late August.

The plugin’s versions up to 1.3.78 are affected, but the issue has been patched out of later versions. Ensure this plugin is current (version 1.3.79 or later) and run a malware scan on your website.

Additionally, over 17,000 websites were hacked in September using an exploit known as Balada Injector. This campaign targeted the tagDiv Composer plugin used with the Newspaper and Newsmag WordPress themes.

If you use these, update tagDiv Composer to version 4.2 or later, where the exploit is fixed. Also, consider installing Wordfence, the best security plugin.

New strategies to address the plugin review backlog

Plugin Check launched in October.

As we reported in August, the Plugin Review team has been struggling with a lack of volunteers for months, culminating in a backlog of over 1,200 plugins and potential wait times close to three months.

Despite the volunteers’ best efforts and over 40 new applications, cutting the backlog has proven difficult.

At this point, the team has unveiled a new plan to tackle the backlog. They’ve released the Plugin Check tool, which developers can use to ensure their plugin is up to WordPress standards. This will save plugin reviewers time by weeding out errors common to most submitted plugins.

The volunteers hope the crushing backlog will be conquered by their diligence in onboarding new members, documenting their processes and developing new tools.

Get a professional email with bells and whistles

You can enjoy professional email services from Bluehost.

Last month, Bluehost launched a professional email service for people whose business runs better with a custom inbox and email domain.

While Bluehost’s Google Workspace plan also offers a custom email domain, the professional email plan takes it above and beyond with custom contacts, calendar and tasks features.

The Google Workspace service focuses more on a suite of Google apps fit for professionals — like Forms, Meet and File Vault — so the two plans make excellent companions.

Take the 2023 annual WordPress survey

Taking the annual WordPress survey is a great way to share your opinion.

Would you like to help the WordPress project by providing valuable feedback? Take the 2023 annual WordPress survey. You can let it be known which functions you find frustrating to use and which WordPress plugins are the most essential.

The survey is open until early November and available in 10 languages. The data will be presented in December at State of the Word.

NASA relaunched its flagship website on WordPress

The NASA website recently moved to WordPress.

Last month, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) relaunched its flagship website,, which is now built with WordPress. Previously, NASA’s website ran on Drupal; now, its fresh new look uses the Gutenberg editor.

The overhaul involved managing over 450 users, migrating nearly 70,000 pages and building more than 50 custom Gutenberg blocks to streamline the design process. You can read the NASA case study as told by the project’s creators.

Exciting WordPress events abound

WordCamp, the most popular global WordPress conference, will run strong, starting in late October and lasting until early December. Check the WordCamp 2023 schedule for nearby events; conferences will arrive in Spain, Canada, Hong Kong, the Philippines and more.

Last month was also an exciting time for WordPress events. WordPress hosted its 2023 Accessibility Day, and video recordings will be available soon. If you missed it, you can still attend the virtual Zoom meetups twice a month.

WooSesh 2023 also held State of the Woo 2023, covering several vital milestones WooCommerce has reached — and touching on AI, VR and many other eCommerce trends.

Strut your stuff in Bluehost’s Creators Awards

The Bluehost Creators Awards are now open for submissions.
Custom image (Source)

Last month, we launched our second annual Bluehost Creators Awards, designed to showcase some of the WordPress community’s best talent. It’s a fabulous chance to display your remarkable WordPress contributions and be rewarded for your hard work.

Apply for awards, clout and cash; submissions end on Nov. 16, 2023.

Stay up to date

Follow Bluehost to learn all the latest news in the WordPress community, and don’t forget to sign up for the 2023 Bluehost Creators Awards before Nov. 16.

For those whose WordPress masterpiece is yet to manifest, start with an affordable, reliable and robust hosting plan tailored to WordPress. It comes with custom themes so your website will look award-winning from day one.

  • Tiffani Anderson

    Tiffani is a Content and SEO Manager for the Bluehost brand. With over 10 years experience across all facets of content and brand marketing, she strives to combine concepts from brand marketing with engaging content through the lens of SEO.

    University of North Texas
    Previous Experience
    Content Marketing, SEO, Social Media
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