WordPress 5.9: New Features and Improvements

It’s been around six months since the last update, but WordPress 5.9 was worth the wait.

There are plenty of new features to get your hands on. The most notable new feature is full site editing, but there are many more. So it’s time to be creative with your WordPress site and break it out of the mold!

In this post, we will go through what’s new and notable in WordPress 5.9, so you can make the most out of the latest version of WordPress.

New Features and Changes in WordPress 5.9

Following are the new features and changes that are available in WordPress 5.9.

1. Twenty Twenty-Two theme

WordPress 5.9 includes a new default theme called Twenty Twenty-Two.

Twenty Twenty Two WordPress Theme

This block theme allows you to use the full site editing features introduced in WordPress 5.9.

Twenty Twenty-Two includes a variety of page templates, including 404 error pages, single post pages, and archive pages. The template parts also include a footer and three different types of headers – default, dark with a small style, and dark with a large style.

2. Full Site Editing

WordPress 5.8 allowed only partial editing, but WordPress 5.9 included the Full Site Editing (FSE) feature, which allows you to make changes to your full site.

You can design everything on your site in blocks, from headers to footers. If you navigate to the Appearance section of the dashboard and click on the Editor, you will be redirected to full site editor mode.

Site Editor Option in WordPress 5.9

New Site-Wide Blocks

In the full site editor mode, you will find the theme blocks, which will allow you to customize the look and feel of your site like a drag and drop page builder.

Site Editing Blocks

Here is a list of theme blocks introduced in 5.9:

  • Navigation
  • Template Part
  • Header
  • Footer
  • Post-Author
  • Next Post
  • Post Comments
  • Previous Post
  • Archive Title
  • Term Description

Add Site-Wide Styles

Another useful feature of the site editor is creating new styles for your theme that will be used across your site. Click on the Style icon button on the top right corner of the screen when editing any post or page.

Editing Theme Styles

From here, you may edit the typography and colors of your website.

When you’re done, you may save your changes to individual templates, template parts, or your entire website as a global style.

Change Block Styles

You may also change the styles of individual blocks on your website using the site editor.

Click on the Style button and then choose Blocks. You’ll see a list of blocks that you can edit and customize.

Edit Block Style

This helps you to apply different styles to different blocks on your website.

New Navigation Block

WordPress 5.9 introduces a new block called navigation block.

Navigation Menu Block

You can add this block anywhere on the site. When you add the block, the placeholder will present you three navigation options:

  • Choose a block-based menu.
  • Create a new menu with all pages.
  • Start from the beginning.

Suppose you already have classic-style navigation menus. In that case, you can add them with this block, and it will automatically convert the menus into a block-based navigation menu.

Another new feature of the navigation block is placing it on posts. This is useful if you want to create a mini navigation bar for a long article, as you can edit the menu items and links to the article’s headings.

3. Block Editor Improvements in WordPress 5.9

Effortlessly Move Sections

Users will now be able to move sections of the ListView on the toolbar by clicking on an item and dragging it up and down.

Moving Items in Block Editor

This helps you easily move different parts of the content and quickly readjust your layout.

Better Social Icons and Buttons

In the previous versions of WordPress, it was difficult to access parent and child blocks controls while working with social icons and buttons.

In the WordPress 5.9 version, child blocks can use the parent block’s toolbar.

Social Icons and Button Block

Better Headings Controls

You may now select a heading level from a vertical dropdown menu with the headings block. More typography, design, margin, and spacing choices are available for your headers as well.

Heading Block

Rich URL Previews in Block Editor

Previously, you could only see the URL while hovering your cursor over a link in the post editor. WordPress 5.9 now fetches and displays rich URL previews for links within the post editor.

A Better Gallery Block

Every image in a Gallery block may now be treated the same way it would be in an Image block.

You may design each image in your gallery differently from the next (for example, with various cropping or duotones) or make them all the same by clicking on it.

Gallery Block

Featured Image

The featured image block has two new design tools. The first is an image dimension tool, which allows you to specify the picture’s height and width. Plus, there are also three scale choices for fitting the image within the pre-determined block dimension:

  • Cover – scales and crops image to fill the space without any distortion.
  • Contain – scales image to fill the space without any cropping or distortion. This scaling option may leave a blank space.
  • Fill – stretch and distort the image to fill the space.

Another new design tool for featured images is the margin and padding. The margin creates spaces between the previous and next blocks, while padding creates a white space around the featured image.

Feature Image Block

4. Language Switcher During Login

On the login screen, you may now change the language of the site. You can select one of the languages installed on the site.

Choose Language During Login

The switcher will not show on the login screen if you only have one language installed.

5. Improved Lazy Loading

In WordPress 5.5, lazy loading of images was added, and in WordPress 5.7, lazy loading of iframes was added.

Loading=”lazy” will automatically be inserted into the image and iframe tags on the page.

It was noticed that including it in the first image or iframe element resulted in a 7% increase in the LCP Core Web Vitals score.

In WordPress 5.9, the first image or iframe in a page does not load lazily.

Use the wp_omit_loading_attr_threshold filter to change the number of media that will not be lazy-loaded.

The following code changes the number of images skipped for lazy loading from 1 to 3. function change_value_skip_lazyloading( $omit_threshold ) { return 3; } add_filter( 'wp_omit_loading_attr_threshold', 'change_value_skip_lazyloading' );

6. Under the Hood Changes

WordPress 5.9 will include a slew of new features for developers to explore and use in their themes, plugins, and projects.

Here are some of these under the hood changes:


Theme.json is a configuration file used to control the style of block themes in WordPress 5.8.

WordPress 5.9 supports child themes and duo-tone filters in theme.json.

Improved Compatibility With PHP 8.1

WordPress 5.9 was created with PHP 8.1 compatibility in mind. Please double-check that your theme or plugin is compatible with PHP 8.1 before starting.

Newly added functions

  • wp_enqueue_block_style
  • wp_get_post_revisions_url
  • wp_is_block_theme
  • wp_json_file_decode
  • wp_list_users

Newly added filter hooks

  • default_wp_template_part_areas
  • default_template_types
  • display_login_language_dropdown
  • is_post_status_viewable
  • is_post_type_viewable
  • rss_widget_feed_link
  • wp_login_language_switcher_args
  • wp_omit_loading_attr_threshold

7. WordPress 5.9 Bug Fixes

WordPress core contributors are constantly fixing bugs that have been reported in previous versions. They resolved 100 bugs, some of which are listed below:

  • Dark mode bug WordPress 5.9 resolves the Widget screen problem while using dark mode. The bug caused the text to appear grey on a white background, making it difficult to read.
  • Shaking screen on the theme page This bug may be found in the Appearance -> Themes page. If you hover your mouse over a theme thumbnail, the browser screen may shake.
  • Disappeared reusable blocks Many users have reported that reusable blocks have disappeared after WordPress 5.7. Although there are several solutions to this bug, a bug fix is included in WordPress 5.9.


WordPress 5.9 improves the overall site editing experience by including a block editor, new design tools, and UX improvements. The new default theme is also a great starting point for new WordPress users since it has a variety of template and pattern choices.

WordPress 5.9 also includes bug fixes and new compatibility tools and features to improve web development and design.

We hope this article gave you a glimpse of what new in WordPress 5.9. You may also see our article on the best blogging platforms for beginners to start a blog.