Another month, another WordPress release. Yes, WordPress 6.1 went live on November 1st so many sites are applying the update. Let’s review what’s new in version 6.1 and whether it makes sense for you to upgrade right away.
New WordPress Default Theme:
The first new feature of WordPress 6.1 is the WordPress Twenty Twenty-Three theme. This is the new default theme for WordPress and it is “accessibility-ready” which means it has undergone an accessibility review. The new theme also has ten styles that you can choose from to further customize the look of your website.
Templates and Tools:
This update also includes new templates and tools to help those that use the full site editing functionality of WordPress. Some of this functionality includes making the menu easier to edit, the ability to lock inner blocks within the block editor, and fluid typography.
Time To Read:
WordPress now includes a time-to-read statistic so you can see how long it’ll take someone to read your post or page. Many sites have this functionality through a plug-in, but it’s more efficient when WordPress includes functionality as plug-ins often come with overhead.
WordPress 6.1 addresses 25 open tickets related to performance. If you’ve ever run a performance test, you might see issues that are related to the way WordPress does things (and a suggestion to use a plug-in to fix it). We’re extensively testing the performance of Version 6.1, but we expect the changes related to caching (among other changes) to help provide a performance boost. Some of the changes to the REST API should improve the performance of both WordPress and some plug-ins.
Should you upgrade?
If you’re using the WordPress default editor (Gutenberg), then you’ll see some productivity improvements with the new version. For everyone else, the performance changes are worth the upgrade (as well as any bug fixes).
Again, we recommend testing on a staging server if your site requires high uptime and/or lacks the ability to easily restore from a backup. Also, if you haven’t upgraded in a while or have abandoned plug-ins, you may want to test the upgrade on a staging server.
If you have any questions or need help with the upgrade, please reach out to us.