Performance and Security Enhancements in WordPress 5.5 Release

More than 800 volunteers helped to make the release of WordPress 5.5 “Eckstine” possible. Performance and security enhancements take the top spot in this release. In this blog post, we want to highlight some of the long awaited features:

The New Sitemap

WordPress 5.5 is capable of creating an XML sitemap without the need of a plugin. This new feature should help you to enhance the SEO Score for your website by providing a list of all your URLs to search engines. You can find it under: https://<your-domainname>/wp-sitemap.xml.

Enhanced Speed

When it comes to page load times, lazy loading is a handy tool. It tells your browser when to load which resource while your visitors scroll through the page. This allows you to reduce the initial load time of your page while not compromising on your image selection.

Automated Plugin and Theme Updates

While it is common for the WordPress core to do automated updates, this feature is now also available both for Themes and Plugins in WordPress 5.5. This feature is opt-out, which means you need to manually activate it per plugin or theme in your WordPress Dashboard.

Block Patterns

Following the tradition, the new WordPress release also includes the latest changes to the Gutenberg Editor. Newly introduced is the Block pattern feature. It allows you to easily reuse a combination and layout of various Gutenberg blocks. With this change, the Gutenberg Editor catches up with sitebuilder plugins like Elementor.

Goodbye jQuery Migrate

Ever wondered why there is always that message about jQuery Migrate in your browser console? Following the recommendation of the jQuery team, the jQuery Migrate plugin was removed from the WordPress core. In the upcoming releases of WordPress, we see an update of jQuery and jQuery UI. 

Keep In Mind Before You Update

Benefit from all the features of the new WordPress 5.5 release but keep in mind to not simply hit the update button inside your WordPress instance. Especially due to the removal of the jQuery Migration code, it might lead to unwanted issues on your website. Our recommendation is to:

  1. Create a 1-to-1 staging environment of your website.
  2. Do the update on the stage.
  3. Check for errors and issues.
  4. Fix if needed.
  5. Repeat step 1-4.
  6. Update your live website with the fix.

Or, use Smart Updates and let Plesk automate your update process. Learn more about how you can optimize processes and your revenue with Smart Updates in this article.

Already running the latest WordPress release? Let us know your experience in the comments below!

The Complete Guide to Your First Joomla! Installation from Plesk panel

Joomla! Installation

Joomla! ranks as one of the most popular Content Management Systems worldwide. But running a secure Joomla! installation is not a one-shot task. Join us for a session on how to build, secure and run your first Joomla! installation on a fresh Plesk Server. In order to help you streamline the process a bit, we recommend that you first install our Joomla! Toolkit.

Build your first Joomla! on Plesk

Installing your first Joomla! on a Plesk server became one of the easiest tasks since we introduced the Joomla! Toolkit. Because it can perform menial and repetitive jobs. You can start the installation directly from “Websites & Domains” as below.

joomla-toolkit-screenshot-your-guide-to-your-first-joomla-installaton-using-the-plesk-joomla-toolkit

Joomla! Installation

The Installation itself is simple. Because you only need to select the domain, subfolder, username, password and whether you want to install demo data. After installing, we’ll head straight into the new Joomla! instance. You can either log in from http://{{your-url}}/administrator or use the single Sign-On feature of the premium Joomla! Toolkit.

Joomla! wrapped in a secure environment

Security’s one of the main tasks for an administrator of a Joomla! website. This little checklist should help you with the first batch of security tasks.

  • Use the “protect folder” function to create an .htaccess protection for your Joomla! backend.
  • Activate https for your website by using an SSL certificate.
  • Use the latest PHP Version.
  • Force strong passwords in Joomla! and activate an 2FA extension.
  • Create separate user accounts for Administration and Content Creation.

On top of these tasks, you should always check to keep the system up-to-date. This includes the Joomla! installation, extensions, PHP, Plesk and the OS itself. To double-check, you can even use the Security Scanner from the Joomla! Toolkit. In order to identify any potential to up your security.

Follow the steps from our Advisor to learn more about security and how to stay on top of yours. But don’t forget to come back from time to time, as our Advisor’s always learning new things too!

Time to run your Joomla! Website

Now that you’ve installed Joomla! and completed the first batch of security tasks, we want your Joomla! website to run. And for this, we need it to be highly available and fast. Therefore, we can tweak Joomla! itself and the server to gain the best performance. Maybe you’ve already activated HTTP/2 from the Advisor. But there’s more to tweak right from your Plesk installation.

Inside the Joomla! Toolkit

You can now activate the caching on file level inside the “System”-Configuration. But the best trick to keep your Joomla! instance fast? Use as few extensions as possible. Because most extensions bring their own JavaScript and CSS files, which are then loaded on your pages.

Next up: Caching. Select “Apache & NGINX settings” from your domain overview and scroll down to enable the Microcaching of the NGINX server.

And there you have it – your first Joomla! installation: Complete. Let us know how it’s worked for you in the comments below. We love feedback! <3