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What’s New in WordPress 4.4

WordPress 4.4 was released just a few minutes ago. This will be the last major WordPress release of 2015 and as expected it comes with a new default theme and some other great features. In this article, we will show you what’s new in WordPress 4.4, and which features you should try after updating your websites.

This is a major WordPress release, and unless you are on a managed WordPress hosting service, you will have to manually initiate the update.

Important Don’t forget to create a complete WordPress backup before starting the update.

Features and screenshots of the new WordPress 4.4

Responsive Images Out of The Box

The number of devices, screen resolutions, and display sizes add to the complexity of serving better quality images. Using CSS and other solutions can make images fit on mobile devices, but you really don’t need that anymore.

WordPress 4.4 comes with responsive images out of the box. WordPress will automatically serve the right image size for the user’s browser, device, and screen size.

This is done using the srcset attribute in img HTML tag. It allows client’s browser to display an image based on device capabilities. Since it works out of box, you don’t need to do anything. It uses a filter to add srcset attribute on the fly.

WordPress powers more than 25% of all websites on the internet. Users accessing WordPress powered websites will not waste bandwidth on loading images too large for their screen.

You will still need to optimize your images to speed up WordPress.

Externally Embeddable

WordPress has been using oEmbed to embed videos, tweets, status updates, and content from other sites that supported oEmbed.

Starting from 4.4, all WordPress sites will become an oEmbed provider. This means WordPress users will be able to embed posts from other WordPress sites.

Embed posts from other WordPress sites in your blog

If you don’t want to use this feature, then you can disable it with the plugin called: Disable Embeds.

Twenty Sixteen

In 2010, WordPress 3.0 came with a new default theme Twenty Ten. Since then, each year WordPress releases a new theme.

As the last release of 2015, WordPress 4.4 comes with a brand new Twenty Sixteen default theme. Here is how it looks:

Twenty Sixteen the new default WordPress theme for 2016

This theme is beautifully designed with a mobile first approach. It is fully responsive on all screen sizes and devices.

Twenty Sixteen comes with the traditional content+sidebar blog layout. It has built-in color schemes, and you can also use your own colors to make it uniquely yours.

Twenty Sixteen in theme customizer

Under The Hood Improvements

The best thing about WordPress is that it can be easily extended with plugins and has thousands of themes that you can use.

WordPress 4.4 brings some exciting changes and improvements for developers. This means that you can expect more features and updates from your favorite WordPress plugins.

Phase 1 of Rest API

WordPress 4.4 initiates the inclusion of REST API plugin into WordPress core. This will allow WordPress developers to create new APIs or work on the existing WordPress APIs in their own applications. Plugin authors will also be able to take advantage of the REST API by adding custom end points. (#33982)

WP_Network for Multisites

There are many under the hood improvements for multisite networks in WordPress 4.4. Most important one is the introduction of WP_Network class. It provides a better way to handle multisites and fixes several bugs. (#31985)

Taxonomy Term Metadata

With WordPress 4.4, Terms in taxonomies (like Categories and tags or any custom taxonomy) can now have metadata associated with them. (#14162)

Improved Comment Queries and Output

Comment object and query is improved with the introduction of WP_Comment class. (#32619)

Comment form output is now changed to display the comment textarea first and then name, email, and URL fields. (#29974)

New comment form output displays textarea first and then name, email, and website fields in comment form

We hope this article gave you a good overview of what’s new in WordPress 4.4. We are particularly excited about responsive images and improved embeds. What are you excited about?

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Reader Interactions

23 CommentsLeave a Reply

  1. After updating my max file upload size for my media library is only 2mb. I’ve tried every solution I could find online and none of them work. No php.ini file, adding code to the .htaaccess file didn’t work, adding code the functions.php file didn’t work, creating a php.ini file did not work, and altering the wp-config.php file also did not work. I contacted my host (bluehost) and the issue is not there.

    Does anyone have any idea of a workable solution to increase the maximum file upload size on 4.4? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

  2. I updated wordpress 4.4 i am using this style to render menus ‘bwp-option-box-inside’.

    But its now not formatted.. What i need to do suggest me plz..

  3. Thanks for you detailed work on this update. After reading this I have updated my wordpress version. Thanks again.

  4. Could this update be causing my images to no longer be larger when clicked on? This just happened with my most recent post, but my older posts are still larger when clicked on.

  5. I just updated my website to the new WordPress 4.4 version, and everything is fine except the comments on my homepage now do not show. All comments on other pages are showing just fine. Must be a bug. Who do I report this to?

  6. Does this mean we will no longer need a responsive plugin such as WPtouch Mobile Plugin or is this only for the WordPress default themes?

  7. Yea! Welcome WordPress 4.4..!

    That is why WordPress is the best. It is dynamic and versatile in nature.

    I want to use this medium to tell web developers who are not yet using WordPress that they are really lagging behind indeed..!

    Kudos to Matt and the entire WordPress Community.

    Proud that I belong to the Community.

  8. Do you know how the new responsive images will be handled by themes that are already responsive?

    Thanks.

    • Peter,

      Most existing responsive themes use CSS to limit the maximum size that images are displayed on the screen (using max-width: 100%;). This could still mean that a really large image (for example, 3200x2400px) gets loaded in the browser, just that CSS will not let it break outside of your containing area.

      With responsive images in 4.4, your browser will detect the size of your containing area, and download the appropriately sized image. So if your area is only 800px wide, the browser downloads a 750x500px image instead of the 3200x2400px one. — This saves on bandwidth, as the image file size is smaller. It also means your page loads faster. Those are the big differences between 4.4 resp images and current theme’s responsiveness.

  9. I changed to the new theme and panicked when my menu went away. It took a bit of experimenting as I am not very sophisticated to get it back. Still looking for simple things to do with the site, like putting an image within an image and filling some of the white space.

    Thank you for your site. It does help a lot.

  10. Thanks for this overview! I noticed after updating to 4.4 that the Insert Link command is no longer (for a Mac) Alt-Shift A .

    Any idea what it’s changed to? Thanks for any help you can offer. I appreciate it.

    • Wayne,

      You can use Ctr-Alt-A or Ctr-K for adding links on a mac.

      A lesser known trick is that if you have a URL copied to your clipboard, you can highlight your text in WordPress, and just hit Ctr-V. That will automatically link up the text with the URL on your clipboard.

      • Thanks so much, Dave! I love that Command-V trick. I wish there was a way to do that trick with opening a new window. Thanks again.

  11. I updated to WordPress 4.4 last night and my website stopped working. My web host had to roll back to the last time it backed up my site. They say a plugin is causing the problem. We deactivated all the plugins, and I have reactivated them one by one. I am quite nervous updating again.

    Thanks!

  12. Good overview, thanks for this. Our team was waiting for this version for a long time. Like it very much. Now, need to update properly, do the backup and tests… A lot of work but worth to do!

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