Version 5.1 of WordPress, named “Betty” in honour of acclaimed jazz vocalist Betty Carter, is available for download or update in your WordPress dashboard.

Following WordPress 5.0 — a major release which introduced the new block editor — 5.1 focuses on polish, in particular by improving the overall performance of the editor. In addition, this release paves the way for a better, faster, and more secure WordPress with some essential tools for site administrators and developers.

Site Health

With security and speed in mind, this release introduces WordPress’s first Site Health features. WordPress will start showing notices to administrators of sites that run long-outdated versions of PHP, which is the programming language that powers WordPress.

When you install new plugins, WordPress’s Site Health features will check them against the version of PHP you’re running. If the plugin requires a version that won’t work with your site, WordPress will keep you from installing that plugin.

 

Editor Performance

Introduced in WordPress 5.0, the new block editor continues to improve. Most significantly, WordPress 5.1 includes solid performance improvements within the editor. The editor should feel a little quicker to start, and typing should feel smoother.

Expect more performance improvements in the next couple of releases.

 

Multisite Metadata

5.1 introduces a new database table to store metadata associated with sites and allows for the storage of arbitrary site data relevant in a multisite / network context.

 

Cron API

The Cron API has been updated with new functions to assist with returning data and includes new filters for modifying cron storage. Other changes in behavior affect cron spawning on servers running FastCGI and PHP-FPM versions 7.0.16 and above.

 

New JS Build Processes

WordPress 5.1 features a new JavaScript build option, following the large reorganisation of code that started in the 5.0 release.

 

Other Developer Goodness

Miscellaneous improvements include:

  • Updates to values for the WP_DEBUG_LOG constant
  • New test config file constant in the test suite, new plugin action hooks
  • Short-circuit filters for wp_unique_post_slug(), WP_User_Query, and count_users()
  • A new human_readable_duration function
  • Improved taxonomy metabox sanitization
  • Limited LIKE support for meta keys when using WP_Meta_Query
  • A new “doing it wrong” notice when registering REST API endpoints

 

Of course all DistroServer websites will be automatically updated to 5.1.