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The amazing developers and volunteers at WordPress have gotten off to a great start in 2024. February has been an eventful month, with several updates, including the beta testing of WordPress 6.5.

While the new version is only available in beta formats for now, it’s slated for release in March. We’ve also got Gutenberg 17.6 to discuss, so let’s dive right into all of the updates WordPress released in February 2024.

WordPress 6.5 beta released

WordPress 6.5 Beta 1 was released on February 13, and beta testers have been exploring its features ever since. Version 2 quickly followed on February 20, and version 3 came out on February 27. These beta versions set the stage for the official version to be released on March 26.

There are several new features in WordPress 6.5 that we’re thrilled to explore. Many of these updates are due to the new application programming interfaces (APIs) WordPress will be using, so keep an eye out for those in the coming weeks.

Let’s explore these new features in detail.

Font Library

The Font Library (originally planned to be released in WordPress 6.4) lets you play around with the fonts installed on your WordPress theme.

WordPress 6.5 will see the addition of a Font Library in the Style tab of your page editor.

You can also browse and install Google Fonts directly from WordPress, making it a lot easier to customize your typography.

Custom fields come to blocks

WordPress has long been known for its high level of customization, both on-page and behind the scenes. But while the platform’s content is customizable, this hasn’t always been the case for blocks.

Users have had to work with a few blocks that offer a limited number of attributes to play around with.

But with WordPress 6.5, things are starting to change. WordPress has finally brought custom fields to core block attributes. This means you can add your own attribute fields to blocks. For instance, adding a “mood” field allows you to assign a unique mood to individual blocks.

The details of this update aren’t yet finalized, but custom fields are a useful feature we look forward to working with.

Plugin dependency notifications

Have you ever uninstalled a plugin you thought you didn’t need, only for your website to come crashing down the next moment? If yes, you aren’t alone. But with WordPress 6.5, this could be a thing of the past.

WordPress will now notify you if you’re attempting to uninstall a plugin that other plugins depend on. This way, you can’t accidentally uninstall a plugin that is crucial to the proper functioning of other plugins on your website.

Faster loading times

WordPress 6.5 Beta is already clocking in some impressive loading times. There are over 110 different updates, each of which positively impacts website performance.

For example, in WordPress 6.4, it took an average of seven seconds for the first block to load in the Site Editor. But in WordPress 6.5, the average block load time is down to 4.6 seconds.

In addition to faster block loading, WordPress 6.5 also features faster text and pattern loading. You’ll spend less time waiting for these elements to load, which means you’ll be able to build your website quickly.

Gutenberg 17.6 unifies editors and prepares for WordPress 6.5

Gutenberg 17.6 was released on January 31, so we had little time to discuss its features when we reviewed WordPress updates in January.

Most of the changes to the latest version of Gutenberg are forward-thinking and aim at getting it ready for WordPress 6.5. Several of these updates, like fonts and Interactivity APIs, will help out with those features we mentioned previously. For example, the new APIs allow users to make more interactive blocks.

In addition to prep work for the next release of WordPress, Gutenberg 17.6 also unifies the Post Editor and the Site Editor. Previously, there were actions you could take in the Post Editor but not in the Site Editor. Now, you can access all page edit features using either of the two editors.

WordPress developer updates in February 2024

Since we have a major release coming up, there’s been a lot going on for WordPress developers in February.

Here’s a roundup of some of the major changes:

You can now add inner blocks to existing blocks in Gutenberg.
  • The official release of WordPress 6.5 is slated for March 26. The first beta version was released on February 13, with version two released on February 20 and beta version three revealed on February 27.
  • Block Bindings API now allows you to connect block attributes to different sources.
  • You can add inner blocks via the allowed block property. This means you can insert specific blocks (e.g., a shopping cart block) into existing blocks (e.g., a drop-down menu).
  • An update to the WordPress Playground Block allows you to easily insert the interactive code block into your posts and pages.
  • Plugin dependencies will show you all the plugins others depend on to work as intended.
  • JavaScript modules API is coming to WordPress 6.5.
  • The Gutenberg Font Library allows you to uninstall font collections.
  • The Rest, Interactivity and Block Hooks APIs were all updated or released ahead of WordPress 6.5.
  • New block settings and design tools, including the ability to add aspect ratio to blocks or add new taxonomy options to a post’s navigational link.
  • A new shadow effect was added. You can include this under the Style tab for blocks that work with the feature.
  • The gallery block now has a new Random Order option, letting users view your images in any order.

Security updates

The WordPress 6.5. Beta versions have been released on schedule, and there has been a lot of positive news so far this year. But that doesn’t mean everything is running without a hitch.

Major changes from the past few weeks includes a recent security update. WordPress released this as a compressed ZIP file, but the file would always return an error message if you tried to use it.

WordPress has rolled out a solution. But you still need to use a workaround like a plugin, custom script or file transfer protocol (FTP) before you can upload a ZIP file.

If you don’t want to deal with this, consider downgrading to WordPress 6.4.2 while you wait for WordPress 6.5 to be released. If you do decide to revert to an older WordPress version, be sure to back up your website first.

While it’s best practice to create a full website backup every few months and before any major changes, smaller backups can be done more frequently.

Stay up to date

As you count down to WordPress 6.5’s release on March 26, Bluehost can help you keep tabs on all the major WordPress updates.

You’ll find more than just WordPress updates here, though — Bluehost is one of the few web hosts recommended by WordPress.

Sign up for our WordPress hosting service, and we’ll automatically install the latest WordPress version for you, helping you create a secure and responsive website.

  • 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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