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What We Have Newly Learned About WordPress in the First Half of 2018 

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WordPress website owners and end users see a lot of changes each year as the platform evolves to keep up with changing expectations and protocols on the web. Most of the upgrades and changes to the WordPress CMS are based on security and improving the User Experience (UX.) Keeping up with the changes to WordPress can help you make the most the Content Management System and give your users added value. Read on to find out what’s changed and been discovered about the popular website platform so far in 2018.

Changes to WordPress Security in 2018 

The first half of 2018 has seen many upgrades to the core WordPress code and administrator dashboard. There have also been new categories of plugins hitting the market each month as developers find creative ways to make use of new technologies like machine learning. Perhaps the most impressive thing we’ve learned about WordPress so far in 2018 is how responsive the WordPress development team is to security concerns.

Since the WordPress platform has amassed millions of users over the past couple years, bug reporting and security vulnerabilities have greatly improved. There are plenty of users who seek out bugs and vulnerabilities, in fact, with the goal of reporting the potential issues to the developers of WordPress to make the web a safer place.

The first major update to WordPress in 2018 came about in mid-January with the release of WordPress version 4.9.2. This important update focused on security as well as routine maintenance. Some of the added security features in this release include the removing of an XSS vulnerability, the removing of all Flash files from the default installation package, and about two dozen fixes for bugs that were discovered.

Some of the bugs discovered and fixed in WordPress in January 2018 include JavaScript errors, Firefox incompatibility issues with certain plugins and post types, and widget organization issues across themes.

Toward the middle of 2018 WordPress users were asked to update their websites to run the WordPress 4.9.5 release which included additional security features not included in any previous version of the CMS. The most important security issue we learned about with this release includes previous vulnerabilities in the way WordPress handled redirects, particularly with websites that have SSL.

As we’re nearing the second half of 2018 we’ve seen WordPress release version 4.9.7 of the CMS and it included even more security fixes such as the resolution of a buggy user account authorization system that allowed users to access files they weren’t assigned to.

New Features and Plugins 

There have been several new features released for WordPress CMS in the first half of 2018. One of the first changes you’ll notice as a WordPress administrator in 2018 is a change in the admin user interface. The text editor is being replaced with a block-style editor and the WYSIWYG editor found new buttons for easier importing of images and media. Shortcodes are becoming increasingly popular and many new plugins have utilized a shortcode system to allow you to insert plugins and features on your website with a single word or line of code.

As web users move nearer to a virtually all-mobile basic web use for things like shopping or looking up quick facts you’ll notice WordPress has kept up with the trend with most themes and templates being released this year being fully responsive. It seems static themes are mostly being left in 2017 as developers at nearly every WordPress software company are heavily advertising mobile-first designs. It’s also becoming increasingly important to get WordPress hosting that’s been optimized for the modern web because fast load times are important to these mobile users who are often on the go as opposed to sitting at a comfortable desk.

Several new and exciting plugins have been released so far in 2018 as well as some big changes to plugins we all already know and use. The Gutenburg editor for WordPress is a new plugin that has many users excited as it allows for the combining of several existing text and content editors into a single and simple interface. WordPress administrators who spend a lot of time on their websites will also appreciate the new Dark Mode plugin that allows you to change your admin dashboard theme to a darker style that’s thought to be easier on the eyes.

The JetPack plugin that comes pre-installed with the CMS has seen some major changes allowing for more relevant and detailed usage statistics and security features. JetPack has been making use of machine learning in 2018 and has brought new features to WordPress sites including easier payment form integration for those with secure WordPress hosting and an SSL certificate.

WordPress Communities 

We’ve learned that support for the WordPress CMS is anything but dwindling as 2018 progresses. There have been hundreds of meetups and community events for WordPress users and administrators to gather and share ideas concerning the platform this year. WordPress even sponsors some of these events and has included a place on the admin dashboard for you to find community events near your location. At these events new features and plugins are discussed as well as new methods for gaining and retaining traffic and customers on WordPress websites.

There has also been an influx of development communities joining the WordPress CMS in 2018 as the CMS continually proves that its massive popularity is justified. These WordPress meetups and events are often open to the public with scheduled keynote speakers who have worked on the WordPress core or are otherwise significantly involved in the CMS.

With all the changes and new discoveries regarding WordPress in 2018 there is definitely reason to be excited if you’re currently using the platform to run your website. Users are seeing a more convenient system on many of their favorite websites and admins are able to bring new features and value to the public through these innovative plugins and updates. One can only imagine what the second half of 2018 will see for WordPress but it will certainly include more security features and fixes and even more creative ways to utilize some of the updates we’ve seen to the core system so far this year.

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