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!

Why WordPress is still the most popular CMS choice for websites

WordPress as the most popular CMS outhere

WordPress has been around for quite some time now – 14 years to be precise. In the time since its initial release back in 2003, it’s become the most popular CMS (content management system) for everyone looking to build a website. In fact, almost 30% of the entire internet runs on WordPress. And the platform claims almost half of the entire CMS market. So you can’t really argue its dominance.

There are a number of advantages to using WordPress that have allowed it to stay ahead of other CMS out there. Now we’re exploring the five critical factors that have helped the platform maintain its reign on the web

Most Popular CMS

1. It’s open source and free

This is probably the biggest reason why WordPress is the most popular CMS. First off, it’s free to download and free to use, so you’re saving money from the get go. There’s more to it than that though. It’s also open source which means it’s constantly up-to-date and and upgraded. There have been 32 major versions since its inception, with new updates released every five months on average.

Despite being around for over a decade, WordPress is still the fastest growing CMS with over 500 new websites being developed every day on the platform. Every second, 17 users hit the “Publish” button on a new blog post they’ve uploaded onto WordPress.

2. It’s very easy to use

WordPress CMS is very user friendly. If you spend a couple of hours exploring the backend of a website built on WordPress, you’ll see just how easy it is to use. One huge advantage is that it needs little to no coding skills, unlike different content management systems like Drupal. If you have some basic HTML knowledge, you can perform almost any task with WordPress.

This is what really sets it apart and makes it the most popular CMS. Because anyone can just install it and start using it straight away. According to recent data, 50% of users in the US work with WordPress. With the runners-up Drupal and Joomla barley making up half that figure combined.

3. It’s SEO-friendly

WordPress is still the most popular CMS choice. 100% SEO friendly

4. It’s highly customizable

Another reason why WordPress has become the most popular CMS over the years. You can use it to build any type of website imaginable. WordPress powers 15% of the top 100 websites in the world, including major brands like CNN, Time, Fortune and TechCrunch. It’s extremely versatile and highly customizable. Therefore, you can use it to build anything from simple blog-style websites and portfolios to more complex e-commerce sites and large-scale government websites.

5. It has a plugin for almost everything

There are more than 50,000 different open source plugins you can install to add value to a WordPress website. You can find everything from anti-spam filters, SEO tools, popup modules and interactive image plugins online. Many of these plugins are also free and constantly updated by a community of dedicated professionals.

A complete toolkit for Advanced WordPress Users

As time flew by, WordPress has grown and evolved into a sprawling and complex platform. Thus, advanced users need plenty of moving parts to use and manage their projects successfully. Thanks to software like the WordPress Toolkit by Plesk, you can quickly upgrade your WordPress experience. Hence, simplifying the work that goes into setting up, securing and maintaining your websites.

This is thanks to the centralized dashboard where you can monitor several WordPress instances at the same time. It also lets you implement changes across multiple instances at the same time, saving you the hassle of having to do this manually. This also applies to updates and by enabling maintenance mode you can update everything simultaneously.

Staging environment best practices - Plesk WordPress Toolkit

Plesk’s WordPress toolkit lets you identify and secure all of your core data with the click of a button. Moreover, you can restore your site back to previous versions if something goes wrong. On the SEO front, you can enable site indexing for search engines too. And even disable it for those instances where you don’t want Google to crawl your site.

Toolkits like this one are yet another reason why WordPress has prevailed as the most popular CMS. This complete toolkit for WordPress allows you to experience the CMS better than ever before.Learn more about it below and get ahead of the curve.

Customer Expectations and How Hosting Companies Can Respond

What your web host customers want - Plesk

The high quality of server infrastructure became a commodity. The price race to the bottom is already at the finish line. That is why it is not surprising that many hosting companies look for a different value they could offer to their customers.
Additionally, users nowadays expect more than just excellent performance.

Customers Expect #1: Great User Experience

It’s all because of Steve Jobs. He has fostered expectations regarding user experience to an enormous level and made it the backbone of Apple commercial success. It was not only about how the product looks. It was also about how it works and how it is packed. The most important thing was the overall experience the customer had while using the product.

But it isn’t just Apple, both Google and Facebook have acquired digital agencies specialized in design with the sole purpose of understanding the overall experience users expect.

Nowadays, this trend is also visible in Hosting industry. Companies like GoDaddy, WP Engine, Liquid Web, and FlyWheel have all completely redesigned their user interfaces, and several others are already working on their new control panels. But again, it is not only about how the interface looks. It is about smartly-designed customer journey which gives them perfect overall experience from using the hosting company services. What those companies did was to create a completely new environment for their users. An environment where users feel safe, comfortable and well taken care of.

Perfect Dashboard

Customers Expect #2: Great Features

But design is not the only part of the overall user experience. Users also expect more features from hosting companies.

Why? Because they don’t spend their days naming databases anymore. They want to do another thing with their websites. They want to update the cms, update plugin. Or maybe create a safe, verified backup? They want to do security scan, just to make sure, that everything is fine. Finally, they want to test their websites after having done all those things, because they need to be as professional as possible for their customers. And no, with current hour rates that freelancers or digital agencies get they don’t have nor time nor money to test everything manually in a proper way.

And they feel that their hosting provider doesn’t give them tools to do that. It’s a matter of time before they start to think that their hosting provider doesn’t care about them or their businesses.

Safe Automated WordPress Update feature is trending right now as the new must-have for innovating hosting companies. It includes detecting possible updates of a website’s CMS (as well as plugins and themes), updating and – most importantly – testing the website afterward to make sure it looks exactly the way it used to before updating. Again, all those cool, automated features should be put in the right order, creating an easy and simple user journey, complemented by great, proactive support. Users don’t want tools, which are as difficult to use, that it is less time consuming to keep doing their job the old school, manual way.

Perfect Dashboard extension

Customers Expect #3: To Have it All ASAP

Back in 2015 Perfect Dashboard was the first provider to offer a fully automated WordPress update technology with a visual testing engine. As the time went by we’d seen more and more hosting companies using that technology or building their own alternatives. It seems that the possibility of updating website software without worrying about breaking the website is becoming a new standard among the leading web hosting providers.

  • In March 2017, Chris Lema, VP of LiquidWeb, announced their ”Visual Comparisons” feature release.
  • In April 2017 GoDaddy’s ManageWP announced their own solution trying really hard to keep up their competition.
  • In June 2018 Safe Automated WordPress Update solution will be a standard feature provided by innovative hosting companies.
  • In April 2019 it will become a commodity, just as safe infrastructure became a commodity lately.

 

 

Starting today, every hosting company that uses Plesk can offer Safe WordPress Update feature to their customers through Perfect Dashboard extension for Plesk servers. Just make sure that this extension is allowed in your company’s extension directory.

This insight was brought to you by Perfect Dashboard, makers of the Perfect Dashboard extension for Plesk.