WordPress 5.5 “Eckstine” is the second major release for WordPress this year, and it’s jam-packed with exciting features and functionality—it’s also now the current default version of WordPress for all new sites built on WP Engine’s managed WordPress platform.
If you’re a current WP Engine customer and you’re unsure which version of WordPress you’re running, simply 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 WordPress version you’re currently using. As always, if you need help, our Support team is available 24/7.
Content blocks were a major part of the WordPress 5.0 release in December 2018, which saw a new, block-based editor (Gutenberg), replace the classic editor as the default editing experience in WordPress. Since that release, the ecosystem of available blocks has taken off, and block-based page building has expanded beyond just the editor.
With version 5.5, the block editor enjoys a new round of improvements across the board, to both its User Interface and overall functionality. The major UI improvements ensure that you’re able to find, edit, and organize blocks so you can create pages faster.
One of the items we’re especially excited about is a block directory built-in to the “Add New block” search. If you’re building out a page and need a block, the block directory will allow you to access a list of plugins available in the Plugin Directory if you don’t have what you need already installed. This means that if you have a new site and you haven’t already installed Genesis Blocks, you can now add that library with a click of a button in the editor!
Image editing has also gotten a whole lot easier with 5.5. Before, if you wanted to crop, resize, rotate, or scale your images, you had to leave the editor and go to the media library. Now you can do all of your image editing inline within the block editor.
Another great feature is the default XML sitemap. An XML Sitemap is used by search engines like Google to index your site and has a significant impact on SEO. While this feature will be turned on by default, you may already be using a WordPress SEO plugin like All in One SEO Pack and Yoast SEO. These companies have decided to continue providing their own sitemaps because they offer advanced customization features to help you get higher rankings.
You can find out more about all of the new features included in WordPress 5.5 here. As mentioned above, new sites built on WP Engine’s platform, as well as sites that are migrated over, will now default to this version of WordPress.
While 5.5 has been available since mid-August, we always perform rigorous testing on all new WordPress versions and features to make sure they won’t have unintended impacts on our customers’ sites.
At the same time, we always encourage our customers to run updated versions of WordPress, once that testing has concluded, so they can reap all of the benefits WordPress has to offer.