WordPress (current version – 5.2) – is a powerful Content Management System, which works great for the development of various web projects due to the abundance of extensions. The engine is used to build blogs and information portals, but it’s also possible to launch even a web store with it by means of plugin integration.
The amount of WordPress extensions keeps growing steadily, but the system is also regularly updated, which eliminates the need to install some plugins. The recent powerful system 5.2 version has become available for download directly in the WordPress dashboard and is named “Jaco” after the well-known jazz bassist Jaco Pastorius. The update has notably changed the process of content management via the introduction of advanced features and tools. These innovations have made it easier to fix your newly-created website in case there are any bugs in the process of its development or further management. The system now offers multiple effective tools used to identify and fix serious errors and configuration problems.
Is it simpler to develop a website with WordPress 5.2 now? What exactly has changed after the system update and are the changes worth user attention? Let’s answer all the questions in our review.
1. Ease of Use
You can use WordPress to launch blogs, company websites, landing pages, online stores and portals that imply the need for user registration. Functionality of the system depends a lot upon the plugins installed as well as upon web master’s skills: an open code lets experienced web developers customize the system with regard to their needs.
Many users start their web development career with WordPress. This is not the simplest solution as there is much to learn here to create and set up a website. However, the platform’s updates clearly demonstrate that it is moving towards the simplification of the web design process, although, you still won’t go without programming knowledge for deep website customization.
What’s New About WordPress 5.2?
The updated WordPress 5.2 version has continued to develop the Site Health feature introduced in the previous version. The feature aims at boosting website security and performance speed. The essence of the Site Health feature is that it will generate notices to the administrators of websites, which keep using the outdated PHP versions.
After the installation of new plugins, Site Health will automatically check them to identify their compatibility with the PHP version you are currently using. If the new plugin uses the updated version (which makes it incompatible with your website), Site Health will not allow installing it to avoid further problems.
The updated 5.2 WordPress version additionally adds two new pages to help you successfully debug problematic website and plugin configuration issues. What’s more, it adds space that lets project developers include debugging information web designers might need, while working on the project. Mind, by the way, that the minimum currently supported PHP version now constitutes 5.6.20, so, if you use another version, then you may face system incompatibility issues. If you don’t wish to brother about complex web coding nuances, you may transfer wordpress site to wix to feel on the safe side and avail multiple advantages the website builder offers.
2. Features & Flexibility
Before you start building a website with WordPress, you have to choose suitable hosting and get a domain name. Some hosting providers offer special plans optimized well to work with the platform, but it’s not a must to buy them – standard virtual hosting will be enough for your first website.
When it comes to WordPress installation, even a newbie won’t face any problems – the system is easily installed on most hosts in a couple of minutes and with one click only. This also concerns the latest version. However, you should be careful with the updates. The major risk is the incompatibility of the platform and plugins after the update.
If you have already had a website created with the old WordPress version, but you have decided to switch to 5.0, it is recommended to deactivate all the extensions before the update to further activate them one by one to check their functionality. WordPress 5.0 has been under the development for quite a long period of time. So, the majority of plugin and template designers have managed to update their products. However, there are still exceptions, especially when it comes to free solutions.
Right after installation, WordPress is quite a rough system, which requires extra set up. Among the must-have things you’ll need to do, the following ones should be the first to mention:
- Browse all the settings sections to specify website name and address, the type of regular links, the home page format and other parameters.
- Choose and install a template.
- Add and set up plugins for anti-spam protection, SEO optimization, sitemap creation, transliteration of titles etc.
You will do all these steps in the administrative panel. Not to overlook important nuances, we recommend using WordPress website creation and set up tutorial, when launching the first project. All the major aspects are revealed there.
For experienced users, who can work with CSS and PHP, WordPress offers integrated code editor. By using it, you can deeply customize a website, adding widgets and blocks or replacing standard comments with an external application, for example. However, it makes sense to export template files from hosting and edit them on your computer, having created a backup copy of it when making serious edits. This makes it possible to get the initial template design if needed.
After the introduction of 5.0 version, the need for code editing has notably decreased due to the implementation of the Gutenberg block editor. As soon as you create and preliminary set up a website, it will become a major tool you can use to launch web pages and posts. A classic editor initially provided limited content management functionality. To add extra features, users had to install plugins. This was not always convenient because of multiple factors, including the increased server load. Gutenberg editor solves this problem, offering functional content blocks, namely:
- Title, paragraph, quote, list;
- Image, gallery, audio, video and file;
- Layout code and elements;
- Widgets and add-ons from popular services.
Each block can be set up individually. From now on, you don’t have to work with the code to add a widget on a web page or a post to your Twitter feed. You just have to choose a corresponding block and specify the link to the content you are interested in to see it in the editor field. Regular block combinations can be stored as templates, increasing the speed of post publication.
Basically, Gutenberg lets WordPress users complete the task that has been offered by popular website builders for quite a long period of time – focus on content design without distracting to complex configuration settings. When working in the visual editor, you can see the way your web page or post is displayed and make the required changes in the interface without code editing.
Many WordPress users didn’t like the replacement of a classic editor with Gutenberg. Those, who prefer traditional text/HTML editor, can get access to a new Classic Editor extension available in the plugin list. Right after you add it to the system, Gutenberg is deactivated and you will see a standard window to work with text and tags.
The new WordPress 5.2 version has introduced the enhanced PHP Error Protection, which matter a lot for website administrators. It lets them safely and effectively fix coe-associated errors and bugs without the need to hire web developers. The feature also makes it possible to get rid of the well-known “white screen of death” and helps activate the recovery mode to pause or disable templates or plugins, which may potentially threaten website safety.
After the update of the system, there appeared 13 new dashboard icons to boost user engagement rate. Having updated the system, you’ll get access to set of BuddyPress icons, Instagram, rotated Earth icons and many more. Apart from that, WordPress 5.2 has introduced the new wp_body_open hook, which makes it possible for new templates to support code injection option at the beginning of the <body> element.
WordPress 5.2 SEO
Basic WordPress complectation is not the best sample of SEO optimization. However, if you work with the system a bit, you will eventually get high website positions in the search engine results with no problems at all granted that you publish useful and interesting content.
The first step to website optimization is the choice of a SEO-friendly template. Such theme should comply with a set of requirements, some of which include standard CSS3/HTML5 website coding as well as fast web page loading speed. If you buy or download a free template from a third-party website, pay attention to its description. It should specify, whether the theme is SEO-friendly or SEO Optimized.
Right after you select a suitable template, you’ll have to change a standard configuration of using WordPress.
Reach the general settings to specify website address in the same style – either with or without WWW. To make the search engines clearly define the website on a specified address, add it to Google Search Console. Set up the following link format «website/category/post title». Access the “Regular Links” section in the settings, select the “Random” option and insert the following meaning into the field /%category%/%postname%.html.
Further system optimization is possible via plugin integration only.
For decent website optimization, installation of one of powerful plugins – All in One Seo Pack or Yoast SEO – will also be required.
Right after you add them, a new section will appear in the editor, where you can specify the title, description and keywords for the post. The impact of SEO plugins upon WordPress is not limited to this functionality only. There are many options in their settings and there are also separate tutorials on how to work with them.
- All in One Seo Pack covers all the website optimization needs, starting with meta tags for the search robots and up to the creation of XML sitemap.
- Yoast SEO offers almost the same functionality, which may complicate the choice.
Anyway, you will get powerful tools for your WordPress website development.
|Number of Themes:||10k+|
|Free Themes||✔ YES|
|Paid Themes Cost:||$25-$299|
|Responsive Design||✔ YES|
|Sort by Industry:||✔ YES|
|CSS Code Editing:||✔ YES|
Websites are built on the basis of templates WordPress abounds in. Standard template catalogue is available in the dashboard of the system, namely in the “Design” section. This is where you can choose and set up a template from the library as well as upload files downloaded from other resources.
It’s not a problem to find a WordPress theme. Compatibility of versions is a far more serious problem. Right after the introduction of Gutenberg editor, not all free templates will work with the system without any errors. That is exactly why, the new 5.0 version now additionally offers a new standard Twenty Nineteen theme.
To avoid the unneeded problems, you have to make sure the selected template is optimized for the latest WordPress version prior to installing it. If there are no suitable variants, that’s not a problem. You can use Gutenberg for template customization, which would previously require code editing.
When reviewing functional WordPress options, we have discussed the features the new editor provides. Basically, you can use it to set up your website interface, creating new pages and adding widgets and blocks to them. If you’ve had the experience of working with website builders before, you will instantly realize how it works. Even if this WordPress website is your first try, you won’t face problems anyway. By using widgets, plugins and shortcodes, you can quickly create the required web page design.
Apart from that, each WordPress theme comes with individual settings, which make it possible to upload website logo, change color scheme, create main menu and enable/disable the display of separate widgets. The amount of parameters you’ll need to set up changes with regard to the template you work with, but the basic set is still available in each theme. If you are lucky to have CSS/PHP coding skills, then you’ll get more design customization options due to the open-source system code and integrated code editor, which comes with all the template files.
4. Customer Support
When it comes to customer support, WordPress doesn’t have it at all. As a free service, it has an extensive worldwide community that is always ready to help newbies find answers to their questions. You can also come across multiple text and video manuals, guidelines and tutorials compiled by other system users. Regardless of the abundance of these materials, you will still have to explore the system nuances, making the required changes and taking care of support options on your own. This concerns both the system itself and extra functionality, such as integrable plugins, templates and other extensions.
That is exactly why, users, who are not competent in the web design niche, frequently face situations, when they are just unable to use the system with maximum efficacy, even if they wish to. As a result, they have to change the system for a simpler, more intuitive and user-friendly commercial alternative – website builders.
5. Pricing Policy
The platform is available for free. You can download it from the official website or install right from the administrative panel of the hosting. The prevailing amount of hosts provide this option. You don’t have to pay for plugins and templates as well. Even if any extension is provided at certain cost, there is always a free alternative to it that will let you complete the task on a decent level. However, you won’t go without investing into website development at all: you will have to get a domain name and pay for the hosting plan chosen.
A standard cost of .com domain name constitutes around $10-$15 per year. Prolongation will cost you around $5-$15 more depending upon the registrar. If you wish to buy a domain name in another zone, get ready to pay more. For example, the cost of .club or .net domains starts with $20 per year.
The cost of hosting also depends upon the number of websites you intend to create and the data storage you need. For example, the cheapest Bluehost plan offers an opportunity to launch one project with unlimited traffic and free SSL at $3.95 per month. 50 GB of disk storage space will be more than enough to create a promo site or a portfolio. Thus, an annual server rent will cost you $47.4 only.
The more storage space your website needs, the more expensive the hosting will be. The use of the unlimited Choice Plus plan, for example, lets you create a large information portal, which will cost you $5.45 per month. If you feel the lack of storage space for some reason, then you can try VPS/VDS options and dedicated physical server. Mind, however, that they work well for large-scale projects.
6. Pros and Cons
WordPress 5.2 keeps making use of the benefits provided by the Gutenberg editor. The latter adds visual content editing mode. Its introduction reveals the system transition to simplification and decrease of the learning curve for newbies. Gutenberg makes installation of a set of extensions senseless, offering similar functionality in the basic CMS set.
Other advantages of the system have remained unchanged after a serious system update:
- Simple administrative panel;
- Integrated file manager, which has become easier to use due to the introduction of Gutenberg editor;
- Extensive plugin library that expands the basic system functionality;
- Competent community and abundance of tutorials.
However, a new editor doesn’t appeal to all users. The main complaint is simultaneous deactivation of a classic editing tool. To restore it, you need to install a Classic Editor plugin. Gutenberg is automatically disabled in this case. Simultaneous availability of both editor versions – old and new – could be a reasonable solution.
With the introduction of WordPress 5.2 and the change of update policy, there emerges another disadvantage – frequent problems with incompatibility of templates and plugins. Site Health feature somewhat helps solve the problem, but it still remains a burning issue for the majority of WordPress users. Previously, large updates were released twice a year. From now on, the developers will issue them more often. The way out exists, however: you don’t have to update at once – just store the versions with their changes to do that.
Due to the open-source code and large amount of extensions, WordPress offers functionality that can be provided by the limited number of web building tools. When it comes to website creation, however, the power of the tool is less important than its efficacy for project realization. From this point of view, there are many services, which are simpler and make it possible to complete a variety of tasks not worse than WordPress.
Regardless the fact that the latest WordPress version moves towards the simplification of content management tools, it still lags behind top website builders in this respect. Basically, Gutenberg is also the extension, which adds the features of the visual editor to CMS, which are provided in the basic set.
Simplicity of website builders is not restricted by web page and content design only. When creating a website with cloud website builders, a user doesn’t have to care about things except for design and content, which are completely set up in the visual editing mode. On the other hand, this gives more customization options not all website builders can currently boast.
WordPress is one of the simplest web building tools, which has become much simpler with the release of the fifth version due to the introduction of the visual editor. As to website development and preliminary settings, there are no serious changes. Users still need to choose hosting, take care of website security on their own and watch the updates.
WordPress 5.0 offers unlimited functionality, which is based on the open-source code access and rich variety of extensions. However, not each project requires such power and universal nature. For example, if you need to create a landing page, a company website or a small online store, then the use of website builders will be a more effective and reasonable solution.
Anyway, WordPress is one of the major web creation tools, which is in demand both with newbies and experienced web designers. It can be applied to solve various tasks and it’s only up to you to decide, if it comes up to the realization of your idea.