These changes affect the way you use and experience WordPress, including plugins. WordPress plugins allow you to customize the look, feel, and functionality of your WordPress website, without having to write or edit a single line of code.
Powering over 40% of the web, WordPress also supports thousands of plugins. Hence, with each new WordPress release, plugin and theme developers are required to test their plugins and themes against it.
WordPress 5.7 Is Out, Plugin and Theme Developers Follow Suit
Following the release of WordPress 5.7, plugin and theme developers have begun to test their plugins and themes against it.
Here’s what’s new, changed, or fixed in your favorite WordPress plugins.
Yoast SEO plugin is one of the most popular WordPress SEO plugins with over 5 million active installations. It supports WordPress 5.6 or higher and has been tested up to Esperanza.
Here’s what’s new in Yoast SEO 16.0:
1. Yoast SEO Premium Now an Add-On to Yoast SEO
Previously, Yoast SEO Free and Yoast SEO Premium were separate standalone plugins. In Yoast SEO 16, however, Yoast SEO Premium is now an add-on to Yoast SEO.
2. Full Access to Yoast SEO Academy
Similarly, both Yoast SEO and Yoast SEO Premium now come with full access to the popular Yoast SEO Academy, where you can learn more about search engine optimization (SEO).
3. Full Integration With Elementor
Also, Yoast SEO now offers you limited access to Yoast SEO tools in Elementor, while Yoast SEO Premium offers you full integration with Elementor.
In a related development, the fatal error that previously occurred upon activating the Yoast SEO plugin has been fixed, as well as the unsolicited automatic upgrade of the auto-installed Yoast SEO 16 to Yoast SEO 16.0.1.
You can read the full list of features, changes, and fixes in the Yoast SEO change log.
Next up is the Elementor plugin, by far one of the best and most robust WordPress website builders. It has 5+ million active installations to date. Elementor 3.1.4 and Elementor Pro were recently released, support WordPress 5.0 or higher, and have been tested up to WordPress 5.7.
These are all the new features in Elementor and Elementor Pro:
1. 89 Widgets and Counting
There are now 89 widgets in Elementor that you can use for your web design projects comprising: 29 basic elements, 27 pro elements for Pro users, 14 theme elements, and 19 WooCommerce elements.
2. PayPal Button Widget
With the new PayPal button widget, you can start collecting payments (as checkout, donation, or subscription) for your online business, products, services, or causes you care about.
3. Code Highlight Widget
You can now easily create more readable and visually appealing code snippets in Elementor Pro using the new Code Highlight feature.
Other interesting new features include Form Submissions, a Price and Table widget, and Inner Sections Improvements (e.g. Stay In Column and Customized Sticky Layouts).
You can view the detailed changelog at WordPress.
The Jetpack plugin is another widely used WordPress plugin with more than 5 million active installations. Jetpack is a robust all-in-one plugin built by Automattic. It supports WordPress 5.6 or newer and has been tested up to 5.7.
Here are some updates you can expect in Jetpack 9.5:
1. Custom Recommendations for Your Site
Jetpack Assistant will now make custom recommendations for your site. In previous versions, Jetpack turned on all features by default. Now, you can pick and choose which items to turn on or off.
2. Jetpack SEO Now Free
Jetpack SEO Tools are now free to use. You can use them to tweak your content and site’s SEO for better visibility in search and for improved SERP rankings.
3. Better Visuals for Jetpack Search
Jetpack Search now has improved visuals and better UI for enhanced site search with a Featured Image display.
Additionally, you can now access Jetpack Security and Jetpack Backup using your Android or iOS device from anywhere. Also, the Jetpack Dashboard no longer fails to load after reconnecting. The Cookies and Consent widget is now editable from the new block-based editor.
You can view the full changelog on the WordPress website.
With over 4 million active installations and counting, the Wordfence Security plugin is a leading WP security plugin. Its Web Application Firewall (WAF) runs at the endpoint, monitoring traffic to or from your site. Wordfence also scans your site for malware and protects you from other attacks. It supports WordPress 3.9 or higher and has been tested up to 5.7.
Let’s go over some of the improvements in Wordfence Security 7.5.0-7.5.2.
1. Local GeoIP Database Updated
The local GeoIP database has been updated allowing for improved GeoIP tracing of computer terminal locations.
2. Translation Readiness
With Translation Readiness, all user-facing strings will now be run through WordPress’ i18n functions.
3. Lynwood IP Range Removed From Allowlist
The Lynwood IP range has been removed from the allowlist, and a new AWS IP range has been added. Also, the Remove Legacy Admin functions will no longer be used within Wordfence UI.
In addition, you can now set cookies for the correct roles when enabled on previously used devices, plus you can now dismiss PHP 8 notices.
The full changelog is available on the Wordfence website.
Contact Form 7 is another top WordPress contact form plugin with more than 5 million active installations. This plugin supports WordPress 5.5 or higher and has been tested up to Esperanza. Contact Form 7 easily integrates with Akismet, reCAPTCHA, Constant Contact, among others.
Here’s what’s new in Contact Form 7 v 5.4:
1. Sendinblue Integration
Contact Form 7 is now fully integrated with Sendinblue, allowing you to collect information that you can plug into your marketing activities in Sendinblue.
3. Improved Process for Uploaded Files and New Spinner Icon
An improved process for uploading files and a new spinner icon with modern CSS have also been added to the Contact Form 7 plugin.
Additionally, Contact Form 7 no longer resets after sending mail, and the issue with non-activation of reCAPTCHA by whitelist has been fixed.
The full pull request for Contact Form 7 is available at GitHub.
Which WordPress Plugins Should You Add to Your Website?
There are thousands of WordPress plugins you can choose from depending on your needs, skills, and design goals.
However, too many plugins can slow your sites down, and increase maintenance hassles, as well as security threats.
Therefore, ensure that you only use plugins like Yoast SEO, Jetpack, Elementor, Wordfence Security, and Contact Form 7, or others with a large user base, active support, and frequent updates tested up to the latest WordPress versions.
Jetpack is one of the most popular WordPress plugins. We explain how to install and set up Jetpack on your WordPress site.
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