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Introducing WordPress 6.4

The WordPress 6.4 release, nicknamed “Shirley”, was the third and final major WordPress release of 2023. If you haven’t yet updated to the latest version or explored its new features, we suggest you add it to your to-do list for January.

WordPress 6.4 was released on November 7, 2023, and introduces new features and enhancements that make managing your WordPress website quicker and more intuitive.

In the words of Josepha Haden Chomphosy, the Executive Director of WordPress, “Many of the features and enhancements in WordPress 6.4 fall in the “small but mighty” category. Along with the adaptable beauty of the Twenty Twenty-Four theme, these updates help content creators and site developers alike save time and effort while delivering the high-value, low-hassle WordPress experience the world has grown to expect.”

In this article, we’ll explore the key features and improvements introduced in WordPress 6.4 and how the update will affect website security and performance.

What are the key new features in WordPress 6.4?

The new features are the most exciting and game-changing part of every new WordPress release. Whilst plenty of other important updates and fixes go into every new release, it’s always the new features that get everybody talking.

So, let’s break it down and find out what new features and improvements you can expect after updating to the latest version of WordPress.

Undoubtedly, the improvements to the Site Editor take the limelight with WordPress 6.4. From a new default theme to enhancements to blocks and a new lightbox functionality. Let’s find out how WordPress 6.4 can boost your website’s appearance and performance.

New default theme Twenty Twenty-Four

WordPress 6.4 introduces a new default theme called Twenty Twenty-Four. The new theme has a clean and modern design and is hailed as being the ultimate versatile theme. Featuring a collection of over 35 templates and patterns, a few simple tweaks can make the Twenty Twenty-Four theme a perfect fit for almost any type of business or website. 

Enhancements to blocks

The blocks you create within the WordPress Editor make up your website’s content, layout, and overall design. WordPress 6.4 introduces several improvements to blocks to help streamline content creation, including the introduction of background images for group blocks and the ability to rename group blocks within the List View and add categories to block patterns.

WordPress patterns are collections of predefined blocks that can be easily inserted into WordPress pages and posts. Patterns make it quick and simple to create page layouts and designs that look great and function well. WordPress 6.4 allows you to organise patterns using custom categories and find patterns more easily using advanced filtering.

WordPress website builder shown on a laptop screenLightbox functionality

High-quality imagery can make or break a website. For some businesses, their imagery is key to their website or business’s success. For example, e-commerce websites that sell highly visual products like art or businesses selling photography services. When it’s important to showcase high-quality imagery in detail, but you don’t want to break up the flow of your website’s layout or design, the lightbox function comes into its own. 

Lightbox makes your website imagery interactive. It lets users click an image to view it in a larger format, enhancing user experience and engagement. 

WordPress’s new lightbox functionality can be applied sitewide to all images or specified images only.

Other content creation enhancements

Several other notable tweaks and improvements have been made to streamline and simplify how you create and manage content in the Site Editor.

  • Select ‘Open in New Tab’ within Link Preview

It is now possible to set a link to open in a new tab by simply checking a box within the Link Preview rather than going into the advanced options.

  • Command Palette design refresh and new commands

The Command Palette is a handy tool introduced in the WordPress 6.3 release to streamline your workflow within the Site Editor and help speed up the editing process. The Command Palette’s design has been subtly changed, increasing the contrast between the text and background to make it easier to read. Several new block commands have been added, including commands to duplicate, transform, delete, or insert blocks.

  • Preview images in List View

You can now preview gallery and image blocks within the List View, making it easier to locate where images are within your content at a glance.

  • Share custom patterns across sites

If you’ve created a custom pattern for one website that you would like to use on another, it is now possible to import and export custom patterns as JSON files across sites.

WordPress 6.4 for developers

Many of the updates introduced by WordPress 6.4 will help to make life easier for developers by streamlining and optimising the workflow.

  • Advanced block hooks – Block hooks allow developers to insert dynamic blocks automatically at specific content locations within a website. This new feature allows WordPress plugins to add their own options to a block. These options, once added, are accessible in the block settings panel, allowing users to toggle them on or off as needed. This enhancement simplifies the process of customising content and expands dynamic content management capabilities.
  • Configurable typography controls – This new feature is particularly useful for theme developers, as it allows them to set custom default minimum and maximum viewport widths for calculating fluid font sizes. This level of control over typography helps developers create responsive themes across a wide range of devices.
  • Nofollow link setting – Recognising the importance of SEO in web development, the release also introduces a new option within its advanced link settings – the “Mark as nofollow” feature. This addition enables developers and content creators to quickly and easily tag certain links as ‘nofollow’, an important process to SEO. Allowing links to be marked as ‘nofollow’ directly from the link settings streamlines the process, saving time and effort in optimising for search engines.

WordPress developer working at a desk in an agencyHow does WordPress 6.4 improve website security?

While a release’s new features often steal the spotlight, security improvements usually form the backbone of each update. So, what are the WordPress 6.4 security improvements?

WordPress 6.4 doesn’t just streamline website management; it also fortifies your website’s defences. The WordPress 6.4 release has polished the platform by fixing numerous bugs to improve its overall stability, security, and reliability.

On December 6 2023, WordPress also released an additional minor update called WordPress 6.4.2, which contained a security patch to resolve a remote code execution vulnerability.

How will WordPress 6.4 affect website performance and speed?

While all these new WordPress 6.4 features and functionalities sound great, you may wonder whether any changes have been made to enhance speed and performance.

The answer is a resounding yes. This update features over 100 performance-related updates.

While WordPress doesn’t list all of these behind-the-scenes updates, it says that notable enhancements have been made to template loading performance, usage of the script loading strategies, and optimisation of autoloaded options.

How do you get WordPress 6.4?

To access all the new features introduced in WordPress’s latest release, you must download, install, and update WordPress 6.4.

WordPress provides instructions on its website for safely updating WordPress to the latest version.

WordPress recommend that all users ensure that they update to the latest version of WordPress when it becomes available – not just to improve their experience managing their website but also to maintain website performance, security, and user experience as new releases include important security updates and bug fixes as well as useful new features.

Upgrade to WordPress 6.4 with Create8

Need help upgrading to WordPress 6.4 or getting to grips with any of its new features and functionalities?

Here at Create8, our WordPress web designers have already had plenty of experience playing with the new features from the latest release. Whether you need help with the WordPress web design process, upgrading to WordPress 6.4, or building a new website from scratch using the latest WordPress 6.4 features and functionalities, we’ve got you covered! Our team can help you leverage WordPress 6.4’s powerful new tools to create a website that is visually stunning and offers an exceptional user experience.

Contact our team today to learn more about how we can help you optimise your website with WordPress 6.4.

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