WordPress 5.1 “Betty” was released just three days ago on the 21st, and as part of our “eat your own dogfood” ethos, we’re already running it! ! honoring American jazz singer Betty Carter. This is the first major release since Gutenberg came into core. As part of WordPress’ 2019 “tighten up” theme, this release was focused on improving performance in the editor and helping users update outdated versions of PHP.
WordPress 5.0 had been downloaded more than 35 million times prior to 5.1’s release. Users who have adopted the block editor will notice that it is much more responsive and writing posts should feel smoother. WordPress 5.1 includes the performance improvements from Gutenberg 4.8 – faster page initialization time, improved typing performance, and optimization of various background processes.
This release introduces new features from the Site Health project. WordPress will now detect if a site is running on an insecure, outdated version of PHP and display a notice in the dashboard with information about how to update PHP. It also includes checks for PHP version compatibility with plugins. WordPress 5.1+ will prevent users from installing plugins that require newer versions of PHP than they have running.