WordPress 5.8: Paving the way to Full Site Editing

Yesterday, there was another release of WordPress and once again it’s packed with lots of cool features. This release is a big step in the direction of full site editing. It brings us new possibilities to easily change up our pages, spice up our images, and other improvements to our favorite open source platform. Let’s find out what WordPress 5.8 brings to the table!

The latest release of WordPress is here! And it brings us lots of new features, tweaks, improvements and version 10.7 of the Gutenberg plugin. Want to know what’s in there for you? We’ll list the most important changes and explain what you can do with them.

Use blocks to manage your widgets

The first feature we’d like to discuss is the possibility to add blocks to the widget areas on your website. This means that you can add any block in your block library to widget areas like, for example, your footer or sidebar. This gives you even more freedom when it comes to the content and design of your pages. You can now create layouts using columns, spacers or change up the design by adding background colors, different fonts etcetera.

WordPress 5.8: screenshot of new feature block widgets
You can find this new block widget feature at Appearance > Widgets or in the Customizer

This is another step in the direction of making blocks the new standard in WordPress. The goal of the WordPress team is to eventually create a seamless experience where you are able to build your pages with just the use of blocks. This feature is another step on the road to full site editing.

New blocks & patterns to display your posts

There are lots of new blocks and patterns that have been added to the block library and one we’re highlighting is the Query Loop block. This block allows you to display post types on any page and determine what information you want to show. You can display posts from a certain category or create a page with your most popular posts, without having to do any coding. And you decide whether you show the title, featured image, excerpt, publish date etcetera.

WordPress 5.8: screenshot of new query loop block
An example of a post being displayed with the Query Loop block

This new block gives you the option to create pages around a specific subject and stay in control of the design. And when you go to Patterns in your block library and click on ‘Query’ in the dropdown menu, you’ll get suggestions on how to display these posts. Make sure to give this a try, as it will help you easily create new pages with a design that fits your needs.

The new template editor

Another feature that’s part of the full site editing toolkit is the template editor. You will need to use a block theme or theme that has opted in for this feature, but when you do, this editor is available in the post editor and allows you to create and edit templates for your content. This editor makes it possible to edit your pages while working on your posts. WordPress 5.8 also comes with lots of new blocks (13!) that can be useful while creating these templates:

  • Site Logo / Site Tagline / Site Title
  • Query Loop
  • Post Title / Post Content / Post Date / Post Excerpt / Post Featured Image / Post Categories / Post Tags
  • Login/out
  • Page List

Duotone filters

Another fun feature that’s being introduced in WordPress 5.8 is the duotone filter for your images. This filter allows you to select colors for the shadows and highlights of an image. There are a few preset duotone colors that you can choose from, but you can also customize them to create your own duotone filter. You’re able to select this filter when you add an image or cover block to your post or page.

WordPress 5.8: adding a duotone filter to your image
When you select an image, you can now add one of several duotones filters to it

Use this filter to bring some more uniformity to your images, to work on your branding (by using your colors) or to make some of them stand out more than the others. Go and experiment to find out whether it’s the filter for you.

An improved list view in your editor

This may not be the most noticeable change, but it will make editing and selecting your blocks a lot easier. Before this latest release of WordPress 5.8, you were already able to get an overview of the blocks used on your page or in your post. However, this used to be more of a popup that would disappear when you would click anywhere else. Now, when you select the list view at the top of your post editor, this opens a sidebar where you can find all your blocks. And this sidebar stays with you until you decide that you don’t need to see it anymore!

WordPress 5.8: The new list view in your post editor
The list view on the left shows all the blocks on your page

Suggested patterns for blocks

When you’re working on your content and editing one of your blocks, you can also select the Patterns tab. This tab will suggest patterns based on the block that you have selected and fit your current content into the pattern you select. This release brings some new patterns and we can expect more pattern suggestions in later releases.

You can also find these patterns by adding a new block, going to the Patterns tab and selecting one of the dropdown items. At the moment, the block editor offers patterns for buttons, columns, gallery, headers, text, query.

And now for the more technical stuff

Introducing theme.json

This release also introduces the Global Styles and Global Settings APIs. This gives developers the possibility to customize editor settings and styles by creating a theme.json file. In this file, you can configure the existing and new editor settings and determine how much clients will be able to customize. You’ll have control over what features are enabled, the settings for the block editor and blocks, how styles are managed and CSS custom properties.

Also, if you are a theme builder, you can use this early version to experiment with a new feature that might make your life a lot easier.

WordPress is no longer supporting Internet Explorer 11

If you’re a user of Internet Explorer, this is an important piece of news for you. As of now, WordPress is dropping support for Internet Explorer 11. This means that if you are experiencing issues with managing your site in the future, this will no longer be looked into. As this can (and probably will) become a problem somewhere along the way, WordPress suggests looking into using a more modern browser that they do support.

Adding support for WebP

WebP is taking the web by storm and WordPress is jumping on board. You are now able to upload WebP images to your website, but it is good to note that WordPress is not (yet) able to convert your jpegs to WebP. Don’t know what WebP is? This is an image format that’s relatively new and provides improved compression for online images. On average, their file size is a lot smaller than their counterparts (like JPEG or PNG) and this helps keep your pages light and fast to load.

Adding additional block supports

We’ve already seen block supports added in WordPress 5.6 and 5.7 and this latest release brings us some new ones. WordPress 5.8 comes with a few new block support flags and options to customize your registered blocks. Read more about them in the dev note on block supports API updates.

Read more: Learn how to use WordPress without touching any code »

Coming up next!

22 Responses to WordPress 5.8: Paving the way to Full Site Editing

  1. Zeeshan Malik
    Zeeshan Malik  • 3 years ago

    I found it challenging to edit the site. There were a lot of technicalities that I did not understand. By reading this article, I gained a little bit of knowledge and enhanced my site you can check it out.

    • Amy Lees
      Amy Lees  • 3 years ago

      Hi Zeeshan! If you’re new to WordPress, you should definitely check out our free WordPress training for beginners. Good luck with your site!

  2. Sabirah Isam
    Sabirah Isam  • 3 years ago

    Great to get all the updates in one place. Hope all these bring some good news for my website.

  3. Charity
    Charity  • 3 years ago

    This is great. I love and use WordPress already. Can’t wait to update to the latest version 🙂

    • Edwin Toonen
      Edwin Toonen  • 3 years ago

      Hope you enjoy it, Charity!

  4. Dennis Coelingh
    Dennis Coelingh  • 3 years ago

    i did the update on my site and no other page then the home is working.
    Nothing in my menu works and i get a 404.
    Please tell me what happens and what to do?

    • Camille Cunningham

      Hi Dennis, sorry to hear that. I would recommend going to https://wordpress.org/support/forums/ to get the help you need.

      Good luck :)

  5. Kanaram
    Kanaram  • 3 years ago

    Mere website me black bhi ban pa raha hai

    • Camille Cunningham

      Hi there, not sure what issue you’re experiencing but I would recommend going to https://wordpress.org/support/forums/ to get the help you need. Good luck :)

  6. Abhishek Jain
    Abhishek Jain  • 3 years ago

    Site editing was a difficult task for me. I just could not understand all technicalities in it. It was little bit helpful to gather more knowledge through reading this article

    • Camille Cunningham

      That’s great to hear! If you want to know more about how to create and maintain your WordPress website, this article and video can be helpful!

  7. Kapil Banjara
    Kapil Banjara  • 3 years ago

    we are completely new in this field, we need proper guidelines and support. Please how can I get proper direction?

    • Camille Cunningham

      Hi there! If you’re new to WordPress, I would suggest taking our free WordPress training course. This course will help you get a better understanding of WordPress and its possibilities. Good luck!

  8. Fotis
    Fotis  • 3 years ago

    Thank you for the insightful tips and update! Will check them out the soonest. Please keep up the great work!

    • Camille Cunningham

      Thank you, Fotis! We will and have fun with the new update :)

  9. robin
    robin  • 3 years ago

    oh god more stuff that wordpress devs do not want!! 90% of WordPress sites just want to publish a few posts and photos – yet wordpress seems determined to make itself unusable to anyone who isn’t a fulltime designer. What was intuitive and easy is now impossible for a part timer to understand or use.

    • Camille Cunningham

      Hi there, Robin. Thanks for your comment. Sorry to hear that you’re not a fan of the block editor!

  10. Colin
    Colin  • 3 years ago

    This update transformed my text editor area with ridiculous font sizing. I’m not sure if it’s an error or that’s how it was intended, but I do not like it one bit.

    • Camille Cunningham

      Hi Colin, sorry to hear about that. If you’re not sure whether it’s supposed to do that, maybe you can go to https://wordpress.org/support/forums/ to get the help you need. Hope you figure it out!

    RIEVES O GUTHRIE  • 3 years ago


  12. Ayax Nivardo Sobrino
    Ayax Nivardo Sobrino  • 3 years ago

    Do you think that YOAST is going to create soon a new STRUCTURED DATA premier plugin?

    • Camille Cunningham

      Hi there! Yoast SEO already automatically adds structured data for your pages, you can read more about this on our page on structured data in Yoast SEO. We also have a few structured data blocks that add to the data being output and we have many more in development. Hope this answers your question :)