WordPress version 5.2 delivers more security features, tools to fix ‘fatal’ website errors

WordPress announced Tuesday the latest version is now available for download and includes several security updates.

“There are even more robust tools for identifying and fixing configuration issues and fatal errors,” wrote WordPress co-founder Matt Mullenweg on the company’s blog, “Whether you are a developer helping clients or you manage your site solo, these tools can help get you the right information when you need it.”

Any websites running an old version of PHP (5.6.20 or earlier) will need to update their PHP before installing the new 5.2 version of WordPress.

New safety features. WordPress 5.2 (named “Jaco” in honor of jazz bassist Jaco Pastorius) includes updated Site Health features with the addition of two new pages designed to debug common configuration issues and a space for developers to add “debugging” information for website managers.

The PHP error protection built for administrators lets site owners safely fix and manage fatal errors without developer resources.

“It features better handling of the so-called ‘white screen of death’ and a way to enter recovery mode, which pauses error-causing plugins or themes,” wrote Mullenweg.

General updates. WordPress said its latest versions comes with improved contextual awareness and better keyboard navigation flow for anyone using screen readers or assistive technologies. There are 13 new dashboard icons — including one for Instagram and multiple ones for BuddyPress — and automatic checks to determine if a website’s version of PHP is compatible with installed plugins.

To avoid site errors, WordPress will not allow a plugin to be activated if it is not compatible with the site.

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And for the developers. With this latest version of WordPress, the minimum supported PHP version is 5.6.20 — thus the need for website owners to make sure their site is running a more recent version of PHP before downloading WordPress 5.2.

WordPress has added a new theme page template, a conditional function and two CSS classes which will make it easier to design and customize Privacy Policy pages. There is also new body hook features that allow themes to support code added at the beginning of a body element, and new tools to write modern JavaScript.

Why we should care. WordPress is the most widely used CMS in the world, which has put it in the sites of malicious actors. If you’re among the millions of WordPress users, these added security measures are sure to be welcomed. Not updating your WordPress website leaves it open to vulnerabilities, creating a potential disaster in terms of your online presence. From ‘fatal errors’ that can take down and entire e-commerce site to smaller issues that renders a website unusable, keeping your company’s website platform updated is mandatory in terms of best practices for your online security measures.

About The Author

Amy Gesenhues is Third Door Media’s General Assignment Reporter, covering the latest news and updates for Marketing Land and Search Engine Land. From 2009 to 2012, she was an award-winning syndicated columnist for a number of daily newspapers from New York to Texas. With more than ten years of marketing management experience, she has contributed to a variety of traditional and online publications, including MarketingProfs, SoftwareCEO, and Sales and Marketing Management Magazine. Read more of Amy’s articles.

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