WordPress 5.4, orAdderley” (named for jazz great Nat Adderly), was released at the end of March, and after extensive testing and evaluation by our engineering teams, it’s now the default version of WordPress for new WP Engine customers and sites created.

To find out which version of WordPress you’re currently running, log into your User Portal and go to the site you want to review. Scroll down under “Environment stats” and you’ll see a box on the right-hand side displaying the version of WordPress you’re currently using. As always, if you need help, our Support team is available 24/7.

New Features 

WordPress 5.4 adds exciting new features to the “Gutenberg” block editor, which rolled out with WordPress 5.0, and it adds two new blocks to a growing library—one for adding social icons and another that makes adding interactive buttons fast and easy. 

5.4 also offers new ways to affect color, including gradients which can be added in the Button and Cover blocks, toolbar access to color options in Rich Text blocks, and for the first time, color options in the Group and Columns blocks. 

Background gradient options for the Button Block in WordPress 5.4
Color options for the Columns Block in WordPress 5.4
Color options for the Paragraph Block in WordPress 5.4

WordPress 5.4 also streamlines the process for placing and replacing multimedia in different blocks—it now works the same way for almost every one. Another cool feature that’s been added in 5.4? The ability to link images in the Media & Text block out to any URL—meaning, still images on your site can link to another page or prompt a download. 

On the user experience side, 5.4 offers the cleanest WordPress UI and easiest navigation to date. Block breadcrumbs enable faster navigation throughout the block structure and improved tabbing means you can tab to the sidebar of almost every block. Another navigation note—the post/page editor now defaults to full-screen mode. Users who want to exit this mode should click the “⋮” button for tools and options. Then, select the editing mode you want.

While many of the above features were brought into WordPress core after being tested via the Gutenberg plugin, you can always see the latest features WordPress core developers are tinkering with by installing the plugin on your site.   

Faster, Less Disruptive Workflow

Outside of the feature set, 5.4 also offers what everyone really wants—speed. Users are seeing the editor load 14% faster and they’re experiencing 51% faster time-to-type! 

Tips have also been removed, in an effort to be less disruptive, and in their place, a Welcome Guide window is available, when you need it. You’ll also be able to quickly tell whether you’re in a block’s Edit or Navigation mode, and if you have restricted vision, your screen reader will tell you which mode you’re in.

Developer’s Delight

WP Engine’s own Anthony Burchell, committer and Media Maintainer in the WordPress project, and Benjamin Moore, an Associate Software Engineer at WP Engine who was able to jump in as a first-time contributor, both worked on the 5.4 release. We’re proud of their efforts alongside the entire WordPress team, which is filled with world-class developers, engineers, and many others who are constantly working to make WordPress better than ever.    

On that developer side, WordPress 5.4 has a few goodies in store for you too. Adding custom fields to menu items can now be done—natively— without a plugin and without writing custom walkers: 

On the Menus admin screen, wp_nav_menu_item_custom_fields fires just before the move buttons of a nav menu item in the menu editor.

In the Customizer, wp_nav_menu_item_custom_fields_customize_template fires at the end of the menu-items form-fields template. 

5.4 also offers simpler block styling—negative margins and default padding are gone, allowing you to style blocks just the way you need them. As a bonus, a refactor got rid of four redundant wrapper divs. 

Finally, 5.4 also two new APIs: block variations and gradients. Furthermore, in embeds, the block editor now supports TikTok—CollegeHumor is no longer available.

Looking Ahead

WP Engine is dedicated to the future of WordPress, and in addition to offering developer time and talent, we’re also working hard to make sure our platform works best with the latest versions of WordPress and the new features that follow. 

Visit WP Engine to find out more about our Digital Experience Platform for WordPress as well as our premium, Genesis-built themes, which are designed to work seamlessly with the new block editor. Because slowing down is not an option, and WP Engine has the tools to help you move quickly, and help you win with WordPress.