WordPress 4.8 was released just a few hours ago. It is the first major release of 2017, with some long awaited new features and enhancements. In this article, we will show you what’s new in WordPress 4.8 and which features you should try after updating your websites.
4.8 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.
The All New Media Widgets
There are three new default widgets in WordPress 4.8. Users had been asking for these widgets for a long time, and they are finally here.
Previously if users wanted to add an image to the WordPress sidebar, then they had to either use a plugin or write custom HTML.
With WordPress 4.8, you can just drag and drop the image widget to a sidebar. Simply click on the ‘Add image’ button in the widget settings, and it will bring up the familiar WordPress media uploader.
You can upload the image from your computer or select a previously uploaded image from the media library. Once uploaded, click on the ‘Add to widget’ button, and you will be able to see the image in the widget preview. Don’t forget to click on the save button to store your widget settings.
Similar to the image widget, WordPress 4.8 also includes a video widget. It allows you to easily upload videos to the WordPress sidebar or display any video from YouTube, Vimeo, or any other oEmbed provider.
Note: we recommend that you should never upload videos to your WordPress site. Instead, you should use a video hosting provider like YouTube or Vimeo.
The video widget makes it super easy to embed videos from popular video hosting providers. You need to click on the ‘Add video’ button in the widget. This will bring up the media uploader popup.
Next, you need to click on the ‘Insert from URL’ and then paste the video URL. As soon as you paste the URL, WordPress will fetch the video thumbnail and display it.
Click on the ‘Add to widget’ button, and you will see the video thumbnail in the widget area. Don’t forget to click on the save button to store your widget settings.
Similar to the video and image widgets, Audio widget allows you to easily add audio files to your WordPress sidebar. Just click on the ‘Add audio’ button to upload your audio file.
The widget will nicely embed the audio file in a HTML5 audio player. It supports MP3, OGG, and WAV audio file formats.
Visual Editor in Text Widget
Previously, the default text widget was just a plain text area where you needed to add your own HTML even for very basic formatting. WordPress 4.8 ships with the new and improved text widget with visual editor support.
It is the light version of the same visual editor that you use to write posts and pages. It contains buttons to make text bold or italic, add lists, and links. Advanced users can still switch to the text editor to write HTML manually.
Visual Editor Enhancements
When using the visual editor to write posts, many beginners found it difficult to move the cursor away from the link. WordPress 4.8 fixed that issue and now users can just press right or left arrow keys to move the cursor away from a link.
WordPress News and Events Dashboard Widget
WordPress 4.8 also introduced the new ‘WordPress News and Events’ dashboard widget. It appears on the dashboard screen of your WordPress admin area and displays WordPress news as well as WordPress events near your location.
If you have multiple users on your site, then each user will see events near their own location. The widget automatically tries to guess user’s location by sending their IP address, timezone, and locale to
api.wordpress.org. If you are using a VPN service, then you will see the events based on the sever location you are using.
You can also change the location manually to see events near you or from any other place in the world.
Under The Hood Changes
WordPress 4.8 brings some exciting changes for developers as well. Here are some of those under the hood improvements.
Changes in the editor API
A new api for TinyMCE editor to be dynamically instantiated via JS. (#35760)
Variable customizer width
If you have used live theme customizer on large screens, then you may have noticed that the sidebar looks too narrow. WordPress 4.8 makes the customizer sidebar width to be proportional to users screen size. (#32296)
User’s name prominently displayed on edit user screen
Since WordPress 4.8, edit user screen will now prominently display user’s name in the heading. (#28182)
Tag cloud widget will not use title tag
Previously tag cloud widget showed the number of posts filed under a tag in the title popover. The title tag in the code is now replaced with more accessible aria-label attribute. (#35566)
We hope this article offered you a good scope of what’s new in WordPress 4.8. We are particularly excited about the new media widgets. What are you excited about?
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What is the update on rel=”noopener noreferrer” tags in this release?
Anyone else having trouble with the Featured Image option for blog posts now? Since updated to 4.8, I haven’t been able to add a featured image on any of my posts. (Never had a problem before the update). Thoughts?
WPBeginner Support says
No, it is not a WordPress issue. Most likely your theme or some plugin is misbehaving. Please see our guide on the most common WordPress errors and how to fix them.
Keith K. says
Today I updated my WordPress from 4.71 to 4.8.
All seemed to go well but got the server Error 500 and could not get to my admin or dashboard.
I tried all the things that others have mentioned, including renaming the plugins folder, and also the theme so it defaults to another (to eliminate a theme conflict), but nothing would work for me.
I do have CPanel access and on the suspicion that it may be some caching issue, I deleted the plugin W3 Total Cache which I saw had many entries for this day.
I tried, but got some error messages that there were 2 other “cache.php” files that I needed to be removed from the wp-content file. One was object-cache.php but I do not recall the other one.
Since simply doing this WordPress update I have wasted several hours of work time and it has been quite exasperating.
So, when I removed that plugin manually in Cpanel, and deleted those 2 cache.php files, …It worked!
I now again have all dashboard access. Since this was such an unexpected hassle, I thought I would share the solution that at least worked for me, so it may also help others. Good luck.
Hope it goes more smoothly for you. At the very least I might suggest that you deactivate at least any caching, if not all, plugins before updating. If you turn some plugins back on, one at a time, at least you know what is causing the problem, but you may still have to use my solution after it shuts you out too.
Suanlian Tangpua says
I’ve noticed that the text widget stopped working after the WP 4.8 update. It shows perfectly fine on the appearance-widgets (front end) section but on the page widgets section in the back end, it doesn’t show the editable text fields so nothing can be entered in it. Any ideas?
I agree with Dorian, the same thing is happening to me, I use the video widget, and a black rectangle with a play bar underneath (that wouldn’t do anything) when I look at my site via firefox,
When I look at my site via Chrome, the widget does display the video twice: the black rectangle like above and an overlap video thumbnail of the youtube video!
I would think they test their widget before releasing it, so what I am doing wrong?
Hello please I need help.. When ever I activate yoast plugin on my WordPress, I will be unable to login to my admin dashboard.
But when it not activated everything will be fine.
Please I need help and suggestions because it yoast seo that I use to create my Google site map!
Can we discuss here to resolve text widget visual editor because of wordpress new release on 4.8, so it will be useful for all?
Because of the default visual editor in text widget. I have around more than 20 text widgets on my site with so many icon related html with anchor links, all will be deleted, If I save each (currently I have to copy paste from my backup file to modify them).
If text widget opens text editor default – not the visual editor in the text widget, It will be very helpful.
Salvatore Salvia says
What happened to the edit page / view page buttons in the Admin Bar that allowed a logged-in Admin or Editor to edit and view a page, Woocommerce Product, Post, etc. when the published item is displayed in the web browser?
Is there a way to restore this critical functionality in WP 4.8? Why in the world would developers remove this???
WPBeginner Support says
We are using WordPress 4.8 and can still see the edit post, page, product, link in the admin bar. We don’t think it is a WordPress issue.
They totally ruined the text widget with that Visual tab T_T If someone know a way to disable the tab please let me know.
I tried video widget (with youtube videos) last night. There was a thumbnail generated during import, but every time I would attempt publishing it, there was a black rectangle with a play bar ubderneath (that wouldn’t do anything), so I gave up. I am using ET’s Extra theme…
Chris Coyer says
Whats new? Nothing!
3 widgets we are not gonna use (how bout letting us run shortcodes on the text widget) and a feed we have to hide so our clients dont see that
Iyanu Victor says
After utilizing WordPress for my blog for over 6 months, I can say I WordPress is the best cms anywhere. Free support, themes, and plugins, a very big thank you to the WordPress developers community.
Also, WPbeginner has always been the place I visit often to learn more and they’ve really helped me.
Editorial Staff says
Nirav Patel says
Thanks for the article,
This is very useful.
Joshua Orekhie says
The changes are timely. It came at a point when am about to change my theme. Can you tell us the easy steps for beginneer on how to update the Latest WordPress 4.8. I need to this by myself
WPBeginner Support says
WordPress allows you to easily update just go to the Dashboard > Updates page and click on the update button. However, before you do that, you need to create a complete WordPress backup. If something goes wrong, then you can restore your website using the backup.
Thank you so much for this article!
I know WP is amazing and the updates have created many improvements, but I still cringe.
Sometimes it is quit a learning curve for me. This really helped
Thanks again! Mary
Mary, you are not the only one cringing. Being a newbie can be quite a challenge!
WordPress 4.8 is a MINOR WordPress release (5.0 would be a major release)