WordPress today released version 4.3, aka “Billie,” which includes a host of improvements to existing features and a number of brand new features that make developers’ jobs easier. You can take a look at all of the changes in the WordPress Codex.

What can you expect in WordPress 4.3?

First, passwords are strong by default in WordPress 4.3. You now start off with a strong password and are given the option to keep it our chose your own. A password strength meter is available as well as the option to hide your password from prying eyes. You will find the new password interface on the password reset screen and the WordPress install screen. Along with this update, WordPress will no longer send passwords via email and the password reset links will expire in 24 hours. And email notifications will be sent out in the event that an email or password is changed.

Additionally, WordPress 4.3 gives site owners the ability to manage their site’s favicon on desktop and mobile; and site icons work out of the box, are theme independent, and do not require theme support.

Also in WordPress 4.3, comments are turned off on new pages by default, eliminating the need to manually turn off comments. And “Billie” introduces a number of editor changes and enhancements, the most significant of which is that the content for both Visual and Text editors is prepared and escaped the same (WordPress runs the textarea content through the JavaScript wpautop() before initializing TinyMCE).

Other updates in WordPress 4.3 include:

  • Changes to Customizer Panels and Sections
  • New Customizer Media Controls
  • A new theme template, singular.php, which can be used for a single post, regardless of post type
  • Several multisite changes

For a full list of updates and changes included in WordPress 4.3, check out the WordPress blog.

How WP Engine handles WordPress upgrades

Here at WP Engine, one of our goals is to make WordPress upgrades as smooth and painless as possible, and to take the weight of upgrades off of your shoulders.

In accordance to our WordPress Update policy for non-security WordPress releases, we will start updating customer sites two weeks from today, starting on Tuesday, September 1. The stability, security, and functionality of your sites are our top priority, and we want to give you time to test WordPress 4.3 against your current configuration to make sure the update goes smoothly.

Here’s how WP Engine performs WordPress updates: our system will send you two notices before the update process starts; one will be sent seven days prior to your scheduled update, and the second will be sent four hours before the update begins.

If you need more time to prepare your site(s) for WordPress 4.3, you can request a deferral for up to 60 days from Tuesday, September 1. We’ve made the upgrade deferral process super easy.

If you prefer to update immediately, you’re welcome to. We just announced our new One-Click WordPress Core Upgrade Button in user portal. This button allows you to safely upgrade WordPress core using our Automated Upgrade Protection. Our Automated Upgrade Protection process creates a backup of the current state of your site, then our automated script performs the update to version 4.3. Once the update is complete, we’ll test the site to make sure it is loading.

If the site comes up without any detected problems, we will notify you that your install has been successfully updated to WordPress 4.3. In the case that something appears off, our script will automatically roll your site back to the previous version, and let you know something has gone wrong. And all of this will happen without any intervention required from you!

Automatic WordPress upgrades are just one of the many benefits you receive as a WP Engine customer. As always, thank you for trusting us to host and manage your WordPress site!