Menu Close

Managed WordPress – 5.3

All hosted sites (Managed WordPress Hosted and Advanced plans) have been upgraded to this latest release. Self-Hosted sites will be upgraded individually between now and December 31, 2019. To prioritize or defer the update on your site, please reach out to our team.

What’s New

5.3 expands and refines the block editor introduced in WordPress 5.0 with a new block, more intuitive interactions, and improved accessibility. New features in the editor increase design freedoms, provide additional layout options and style variations to allow designers complete control over the look of a site. This release also introduces the Twenty Twenty theme giving the user more design flexibility and integration with the block editor. Creating beautiful web pages and advanced layouts has never been easier.

Block Editor Improvements

This enhancement-focused update introduces over 150 new features and usability improvements, including improved large image support for uploading non-optimized, high-resolution pictures taken from your smartphone or other high-quality cameras. Combined with larger default image sizes, pictures always look their best.

Accessibility improvements include the integration of block editor styles in the admin interface. These improved styles fix many accessibility issues: color contrast on form fields and buttons, consistency between editor and admin interfaces, new snackbar notices, standardizing to the default WordPress color scheme, and the introduction of Motion to make interacting with your blocks feel swift and natural. For people who use a keyboard to navigate the dashboard, the block editor now has a Navigation mode. This lets you jump from block to block without tabbing through every part of the block controls.

Expanded Design Flexibility

WordPress 5.3 adds even more robust tools for creating amazing designs.

  • The new Group block lets you easily divide your page into colorful sections
  • The Columns block now supports fixed column widths
  • The new Predefined layouts make it a cinch to arrange content into advanced designs
  • Heading blocks now offer controls for text color
  • Additional style options allow you to set your preferred style for any block that supports this feature

Introducing Twenty Twenty

Immediately available to all hosted sites – note that changing your theme will cause any customizations of your current theme to be lost. Contact our team to run a quick backup before testing out any new themes/plugins.

As the block editor celebrates its first birthday, we are proud that Twenty Twenty is designed with flexibility at its core. Show off your services or products with a combination of columns, groups, and media blocks. Set your content to wide or full alignment for dynamic and engaging layouts. Or let your thoughts be the star with a centered content column!

As befits a theme called Twenty Twenty, clarity and readability is also a big focus. The theme includes the typeface Inter, designed by Rasmus Andersson. Inter comes in a Variable Font version, a first for default themes, which keeps load times short by containing all weights and styles of Inter in just two font files.

Plugin Updates

All of our premium plugins (Forminator, Smush, Hummingbird, Snapshot, WP101, Hustle, and Smashstar SSO) have been updated to support this release. If you run into any issues with these plugins, please reach out to our team – support@smashstarmedia.com

Technical Notes

WordPress 5.3 adds support for PHP 7.4. Hosted sites will be upgraded from PHP 7.3 to 7.4 in January 2020. Our team will reach out if we find any plugins or themes on your account that do not support the change.

Our Managed WordPress + Managed G Suite connector (Smashstar SSO) will require an update to support the latest WordPress release. If you have an active maintenance subscription, this will be handled automatically with no action needed on your part.