Following WordPress 5.0—a major release which introduced the new Block Editor—5.1 focuses on polish, in particular by improving overall performance of the editor. In addition, this release paves the way for a better, faster, and more secure WordPress with some essential tools for site administrators and developers.
With security and speed in mind, this release introduces WordPress’s first Site Health features. WordPress will start showing notices to administrators of sites that run long-outdated versions of PHP, which is the programming language that powers WordPress.
When installing new plugins, WordPress’s Site Health features will check whether a plugin requires a version of PHP incompatible with your site. If so, WordPress will prevent you from installing that plugin.
Introduced in WordPress 5.0, the new Block Editor continues to improve. Most significantly, WordPress 5.1 includes solid performance improvements within the editor. The editor should feel a little quicker to start, and typing should feel smoother. Nevertheless, expect more performance improvements in the next releases.
5.1 introduces a new database table to store metadata associated with sites and allows for the storage of arbitrary site data relevant in a Multisite/Network context.
The Cron API has been updated with new functions to assist with returning data and includes new filters for modifying cron storage. Other changes in behaviour affect cron spawning on servers running FastCGI and PHP-FPM versions 7.0.16 and above.
New JS Build Processes
Other Developer Goodness
Miscellaneous improvements include updates to values for the
WP_DEBUG_LOG constant, new test config file constant in the test suite, new plugin action hooks, short-circuit filters for
count_users(), a new
human_readable_duration function, improved taxonomy metabox sanitisation, limited
LIKE support for meta keys when using
WP_Meta_Query, a new “doing it wrong” notice when registering REST API endpoints, and more!