The WordPress version 5.5 was rolled out sometime around the beginning of August.
It’s developers boast there are 157 enhancements and feature requests and 307 bug fixes. Those may seem like high numbers – especially the bug fixes. However, WordPress is enormously complex, so it really isn’t a huge number of fixes.
The new WordPress 5.5 is touted as having three major areas of improvement: speed, search and security.
This version has apparently changed the manner in which images were loaded. The change helps pages load more quickly. This is important to give a better user experience viewing pages. The process they use is called “lazy loading”. It’s even supposed to help with battery life and bandwidth use on mobile devices. This is welcomed mostly by those who pay for the amount of data consumption in their cell phone plans.
Being effectively found in the search engines is the heart of SEO (Search Engine Optimization). This WordPress upgrade also now generates what’s called an XML sitemap. The file can be seen at https://yourdomain.com/sitemap.xml and is generated on the fly. That means that if pages are removed or added to the site, the sitemap.xml file is immediately updated. A sitemap dramatically helps search engines to find the pages in your site. That, in turn results in more traffic to your site. Getting more people to visit your site is always a good thing.
An important feature that is now incorporated into this WordPress version is auto-updates for plugins and themes. You can decide whether to activate this on a per plugin or theme basis. Updates are extremely important for protecting your site from hacks and security breaches. In most cases, having updates automatically happen will prevent the costly situations of having to fix things when the site is hacked due to known software exploits. Software exploits are pieces of code that have been discovered in software that allow unintended functionality to occur. Such exploits, once found, are exactly what are disabled, removed or overwritten by software updates.
The bottom line here is to keep your systems updated. Whether we are talking about servers, workstations, phones, tablets, laptops or websites – keep them updated with the latest updates. It’ll save you many headaches in the long run.