What’s new in WordPress 6.5

The release of WordPress 6.5 on March 26th, 2024, is an eagerly awaited update that will attract website creators and developers alike. This new version introduces an updated admin design, previewing the future of data management in the Site Editor.

Developers can expect to enjoy improvements to their development experience with WordPress 6.5. The release brings exciting advancements that will enhance their work. A significant highlight for all users is the introduction of the Font Library, revolutionizing how fonts are managed across websites.

Moreover, WordPress 6.5 has numerous enhancements focused on refining the website building and maintenance experience. These updates aim to simplify the WordPress interface, enhancing its user-friendliness. WordPress 6.5 solidifies its pivotal role in web development thanks to its continued innovations and improvements.

For site builders and users

WordPress 6.5 unveils transformative features for site builders and users, most notably the Font Library. This update streamlines typography management and refines the user experience, making web creation more accessible and efficient. With enhancements to simplify the interface and improve functionality, WordPress 6.5 empowers users to elevate their web projects effortlessly.

Introducing the Font Library in WordPress 6.5: a Site Editor exclusive

WordPress 6.5 introduces the Font Library, revolutionizing how fonts are managed within the platform. Like the Media Library’s ease of use, this feature supports the global management of fonts—enabling the installation, activation, and removal of fonts to streamline typography across sites.

Core aspects of the Font Library

Exclusive availability within the Site Editor

Appearance, Manage Theme Fonts

The Font Library’s innovative features are available exclusively within the Site Editor of block-based themes. This limitation is a strategic decision, focusing on gathering detailed feedback and optimizing the feature’s performance for eventual expansion to classic themes.

For developers: customizing Font Library accessibility

Developers can disable the Font Library feature, tailoring the editing experience to specific project needs. Disabling can be achieved through filtering editor settings:

function disable_font_library_ui( $editor_settings ) { 
    $editor_settings['fontLibraryEnabled'] = false;
    return $editor_settings; 

add_filter( "block_editor_settings_all", "disable_font_library_ui" );

This level of control ensures developers can manage the Font Library’s presence within their workflows, offering flexibility in handling fonts across different projects.

Future directions for the Font Library beyond WordPress 6.5

Elevating Site Design with new views in the Site Editor

WordPress 6.5 is not just about fonts and performance; it brings a new dimension to the Site Editor with enhanced views for pages, patterns, templates, and template parts. This update aims to simplify or complicate your site editing journey as needed, offering many ways to explore, filter, and manage your site’s components. Here’s how WordPress 6.5 is setting the stage for an even more intuitive editing experience:

Feature-packed exploration

Dupliate patterns in WordPress 6.5

What to Expect:

WordPress 6.5 List View improvements: enhanced Block renaming

WordPress 6.5 List View renaming blocks

WordPress 6.5 extends the first introduced feature for group blocks in List View in WordPress 6.4, allowing nearly all blocks to be renamed for enhanced content organization and personalization. This update significantly broadens the scope for modifying block labels directly from the List View, facilitating a more tailored editing experience.

To rename blocks:

  1. Enable List View
  2. Select the block to rename, 3 dots at right
  3. Select Rename
  4. Enter new name
  5. Save

End users benefit from this feature by quickly navigating and understanding their content structure through custom labeling. Meanwhile, theme authors can offer a more intuitive experience within their themes and patterns, and site admins and enterprises gain powerful tools for more precise content management strategies.

Certain core blocks retain their original names to maintain clarity and functionality:

Customization for Developers:

Block renaming is enabled by default. Third-party extenders can opt-out blocks by setting “renaming”: false in the block’s block.json file.

// block.json
	"supports": {
		"renaming": false // disables ability to rename block via the Editor UI

Robust revisions

WordPress 6.5 introduces robust revisions in the Site Editor, significantly improving the tracking and management of changes for site designs. This feature offers a detailed view of the evolution of your site’s templates and parts, presenting a comprehensive history of edits made over time. With more granular timestamps and summaries of changes, navigating through different versions of your site’s design has become more intuitive. Users can now easily see what modifications were made, when, and by whom, streamlining the process of reverting or iterating on designs.

WordPress 6.5 Revisions

Moreover, this WordPress version expands the Site Editor’s capability by introducing pagination for viewing all style revisions. This eliminates the limitation of only displaying the last 100 revisions, allowing for easy access to the full history of changes. Including a Style Book toggle offers an alternative perspective on revisions, enabling users to preview changes more visually and comprehensively. These enhancements act as a safety net, preserving your site’s design history and empowering users to confidently experiment with their site’s appearance, knowing they can meticulously document and retrieve all modifications.

Add a Site Icon or Favicon from Settings

Settings, General, Upload Site Icon

A site icon, often referred to as a favicon, is a small image or logo that appears in the web browser tab, bookmarks, history, and other places that help users identify your website. This tiny but significant graphic is crucial in branding and usability, making your site stand out in a crowded browser environment and reinforcing brand recognition.

Previously, block themes mandated the Site Logo block for setting a site icon. However, the latest update introduces a streamlined method available in General Settings, applicable to both Block Themes and Classic Themes. Classic theme users can still utilize the Customizer for this adjustment, ensuring flexibility across theme types.

To set your site icon under the new system:

  1. From your WordPress dashboard, go to Settings > General.
  2. In “Site Icon,” upload your preferred image.
  3. Press “Save” to confirm your changes.

Unlocking creative control: Appearance tools for Classic Themes

Elevate your design: WordPress 6.5 opens a new horizon for users of Classic Themes by integrating advanced Appearance tools. This update bridges the gap, offering design options previously exclusive to block-based themes.

Key Enhancements:

How to Activate:

WordPress 6.5: advancing image handling and presentation

WordPress 6.5 introduces pivotal updates to media management and gallery functionalities, enriching the platform’s content creation and display capabilities. These updates aim to optimize site performance, elevate visual aesthetics, and streamline user workflows.

Elevating Image Quality with AVIF Support

WordPress 6.5 supports uploading AVIF files

Understanding AVIF:

AVIF (AV1 Image File Format) ushers in a new standard for image compression and quality, significantly outperforming older formats like JPEG, PNG, and WebP. By adopting AVIF, WordPress 6.5 ensures that websites enjoy reduced image file sizes while maintaining superior image clarity. This results in quicker load times and a better browsing experience. To see what browsers support AVIF, refer to Can I Use.

The importance of AVIF:

The integration of AVIF in WordPress 6.5 marks a crucial development in web performance optimization. This advancement allows for delivering sharp, detailed images at a fraction of their original file size. Page speeds and SEO performance are positively impacted.

Simplifying Featured Images with first image option

Innovating Featured Images:

WordPress 6.5 simplifies designating Featured Images with a new feature automatically using the first image in a post.

This update greatly helps bloggers and content creators maintain visual consistency by auto-setting featured images for posts.

Operational insight:

When a post lacks a manually selected featured image but contains images, WordPress will use the first image as the featured image. This smart feature ensures visual representation for each post. It enhances the post’s appeal in themes and listings without extra effort from the user.

Dynamic Gallery viewing with random order setting:

A new setting in the Gallery block lets you display images randomly, creating a unique viewing experience with each page reload. You can activate this feature for each gallery individually, adding a layer of dynamism to image presentations.

Elegant handling of long captions:

WordPress 6.5 introduces styled scrollbars for extended captions within Gallery blocks, visually appealingly addressing caption overflow. We encourage theme authors to test this update for compatibility with their existing custom scrollbar styles.

Unified aspect ratio adjustments across all images:

The update sees the removal of the 10:16 and 16:10 aspect ratios from the image upload options, affecting image presentations site-wide, not just within Gallery blocks. This change promotes design consistency, advising theme authors to review and adjust these aspect ratios in patterns, templates, or anywhere they upload images.

Enhancing the WordPress experience: usability upgrades in WordPress 6.5

WordPress 6.5 brings user experience improvements to the Site Editor. Each improvement aims to make site building and management more intuitive and efficient. Let’s dive into the critical updates poised to transform your interaction with your WordPress site.

More intuitive link editing experience
Linked Editing in WordPress 6.5

WordPress 6.5 revamps link editing to offer a more intuitive and seamless process. This update addresses common pain points, making link management straightforward and less intrusive. Key improvements include:

Design tools enhancement
WordPress 6.5 Drop Shadow
Drag & drop usability improvements

Drag and drop functionality within the Site Editor has received significant enhancements, making it more intuitive and versatile for arranging your site’s elements:

General Site Editor UX improvements

The Site Editor’s overall user experience has seen widespread enhancements aimed at making site editing more accessible and enjoyable:

WordPress 6.5 Distraction Free Mode enabled, demonstrating the top toolbar.

For Developers

WordPress 6.5 introduces significant API changes. It highlights WordPress’s dedication to improving the developer experience. This aligns with user expectations for interactive and responsive websites. Updates include the Block Bindings API, Custom Fields, Data Views package, and the Interactivity API. These changes aim to give developers tools for creating engaging, efficient, and tailored websites. These enhancements mark a new era in WordPress development. They focus on easy integration of complex functionalities and crafting immersive user experiences. With these APIs, WordPress 6.5 enables developers to expand what’s possible with WordPress. It reinforces WordPress as a powerful platform for shaping the future of the web. You can in greater detail about each of these within the Field Guide.

Enhancing data management with the Custom Fields in WordPress 6.5

WordPress 6.5 introduces the Custom Fields package. This enhancement simplifies working with custom fields in WordPress and provides a structured, efficient way to manage custom field data, which is key for creating dynamic and personalized user experiences. Let’s delve into what this package offers and how it can transform data handling in WordPress projects.

Overview of Custom Fields

The Custom Fields offer comprehensive features and interfaces for accessing and displaying custom field data on WordPress sites. It encapsulates functionality for retrieving, filtering, and presenting custom data tied to posts, pages, and custom post types. It is a valuable asset for theme and plugin developers seeking to leverage custom fields in their projects.

Real-world applications

The Custom Fields open up many possibilities for WordPress development, from creating dynamic content listings that automatically update based on custom field values to building complex data-driven applications within WordPress. For example, a real estate website could use this package to display property listings with custom fields for price, location, and amenities, offering users a rich, interactive browsing experience.

Custom Fields are not Core Fields API

Custom Fields and the Core Fields API are distinct components within WordPress. The Custom Fields provide a set of functionalities for dynamically displaying custom field data in the WordPress Block Editor, facilitating the development of enriched content experiences. On the other hand, developers designed the proposed Core Fields API as an extensive framework to define, manage, and retrieve various custom data types across WordPress. Its goal is to enhance data handling efficiency and uniformity across themes, plugins, and WordPress’s core features, thereby fostering improved consistency and interoperability.

Unleashing the power of Block Bindings in WordPress 6.5

With the arrival of WordPress 6.5, developers receive an evolutionary leap in block customization and content management, thanks to the introduction of the Block Bindings API. This breakthrough feature promises to transform how we think about and interact with blocks, offering unprecedented ease in integrating dynamic data directly into core blocks. Let’s explore the capabilities and applications of this exciting new API.

What is the Block Bindings API?

The Block Bindings API is an internal mechanism that connects block attributes to various data sources, including custom fields and potentially any future custom data source. This eliminates the necessity for custom blocks in many scenarios, allowing developers to dynamically populate core blocks like paragraphs and images with data from custom fields, external APIs, or other dynamic sources.

Core features and capabilities

How do Block Bindings work?

Just as Gutenberg incorporates the post meta source, developers can now easily introduce custom sources, such as myplugin/plugin-data. Including a straightforward public API allows for the registration of diverse data sources, opening many possibilities for enhanced block customization and interactivity.

        'label'              => _x( 'Plugin Data', 'block bindings source' ),
	'get_value_callback' => 'my_plugin_block_bindings_plugin_data_callback',
        'label'              => _x( 'Plugin Data', 'block bindings source' ),
	'get_value_callback' => 'my_plugin_block_bindings_plugin_data_callback',

For instance, to display a custom field value within a paragraph block, insert a “bindings” object within the block’s code as follows:

<!-- wp:paragraph {"metadata":{"bindings":{"content":{"source":"myplugin/plugin-data","args":{"key":"plugin_key"}}}}} -->
<!-- /wp:paragraph -->

More about Block Bindings

Connecting Block Bindings with Custom Fields

WordPress 6.5 transforms how developers incorporate custom field data into core blocks like buttons, headers, images, and paragraphs, eliminating the need to create custom blocks. The newly introduced Block Bindings API enables a seamless connection between block attributes and various data sources, including custom fields

Before the arrival of WordPress 6.5, showcasing custom field values in core blocks like paragraphs or images wasn’t straightforward. Developers often had to resort to crafting custom blocks for such purposes.

To leverage this feature, activate custom fields in the editor by navigating to Post Editor -> Options -> Preferences -> General -> Advanced. Although WordPress 6.5 doesn’t offer a UI control for binding custom field values directly, developers can manually link these values to block attributes using the code editor.

Post Editor Options in WordPress 6.5

With WordPress 6.5, you can now display book genres or any custom field data right before your post content, using core blocks such as paragraphs. The introduction of the Block Bindings API facilitates this by allowing block attributes to fetch data from custom fields, a method previously unavailable without additional coding or plugins.

To get started, add this PHP code to your theme’s functions.php or a custom plugin:

add_action( 'init', 'book_register_meta' );

function book_register_meta() {
			'show_in_rest'      => true,
			'single'            => true,
			'type'              => 'string',
			'sanitize_callback' => 'wp_strip_all_tags'

Return to your post. Draft the post as you’d like, and add a custom field.

Custom Fields options in WordPress 6.5

Once you’ve added a custom field with the genre of your book, you’ll need to switch to the code editor of your post. Here, insert a “bindings” object within your block’s code to bind the genre custom field to your block. Here’s how it looks for a paragraph block:

<!-- wp:paragraph 
        "metadata": {
            "bindings": {
                "content": {
                    "args": {
    } -->
<!-- /wp:paragraph -->

Notice that the custom field is now displayed with a purple highlight around the box in edit mode, when this is selected. This is how it will appear in the code editor mode:

WordPress post editor in code editor view. At the top is the code needed to display the custom field with a red box appearing around it to demonstrate where it belongs.

Finally, save and view your post.

An arrow points from the custom fields to the point where the field displays

Currently, WordPress 6.5 supports binding custom fields to specific attributes of the following blocks:

For a detailed exploration of integrating custom fields with block attributes, refer to Block Bindings and Custom Fields – an (almost) no-code example.

Revolutionizing front end interactions with the WordPress 6.5 Interactivity API

WordPress 6.5 heralds the introduction of the Interactivity API, a game-changing feature designed to standardize how developers add interactive elements to the front end of their WordPress blocks. This new API aims to simplify the creation of rich, engaging user experiences by providing a standardized method for implementing functionalities ranging from simple UI enhancements like counters and pop-ups to more complex interactions such as instant searches, dynamic navigation, and e-commerce functionalities like carts and checkouts.

Check out  wpmovies.dev demo website to see the Interactivity API in action.

Key features of the Interactivity API

Empowering Blocks with interactive functionality

Implementing the Interactivity API involves two critical steps: adding directives to your block’s markup to define the desired interactions and creating a store to house the logic governing these interactions. Directives such as data-wp-interactive for activating the API zone, data-wp-on--click for handling click events, and data-wp-bind--aria-expanded for binding state changes illustrate how developers can integrate interactive elements directly within their blocks’ HTML structure.

The store, typically defined in the view.js file, represents the logic behind the block’s interactivity, encompassing state management, actions, and callbacks. This structured approach to defining interactivity ensures developers can craft sophisticated, interactive experiences with clarity and efficiency.

More about the Interactivity API

WordPress 6.5 enhances Block Hooks for greater extensibility

WordPress 6.5 significantly enhances Block Hooks, an extensibility mechanism first introduced in WordPress 6.4. These updates are designed to inject dynamic blocks more effectively into specified locations, defined by an “anchor” block and a relative position, such as before or after the Post Content block. Let’s dive into the updates and the new features that make Block Hooks even more versatile for developers.

Key enhancements in Block Hooks

New features and filters

New filters for detailed control

WordPress 6.5 introduces two new filters, hooked_block and hooked_block_{$hooked_block_type}, offering granular control over hooked blocks, including the ability to set attributes, modify inner blocks, or suppress the hooked block entirely. These filters also consider the anchor block’s attributes, allowing for attribute adjustments based on the anchor block’s properties.

Improved Plugin Block Inspector panel toggles

Updates to the Block Inspector sidebar in the Site Editor address previous usability issues with toggles for hooked blocks. Now, toggles persist correctly, enhancing the user experience when managing hooked blocks within the “Plugins” panel.

Under the hood: maintaining user customizations

Block Hooks in WordPress 6.5 achieve a significant technical milestone by respecting user customizations. WordPress can intelligently manage hooked blocks based on user interactions by storing information about hooked block types in an ignoredHookedBlocks array within the anchor block’s global metadata attribute.

Key performance stats in WordPress 6.5

WordPress 6.5 introduces remarkable performance enhancements that streamline the user experience significantly:

A new, more efficient localization library has been introduced, optimizing translation delivery and improving loading times for non-English content. This ensures a faster, more responsive experience for users globally, emphasizing WordPress’s commitment to accessibility and performance.

Version requirements

WordPress 6.5’s minimum MySQL version requirement has increased from 5.0 to 5.5.5. This update guarantees utf8mb4 support (introduced in MySQL 5.5.3) and sets InnoDB as the default storage engine, replacing MyISAM (effective from MySQL 5.5.5).

Streamlining Plugin Dependencies in WordPress 6.5

WordPress 6.5 Plugin Dependencies

WordPress 6.5 introduces a “Requires Plugins” header, allowing plugin authors to specify necessary plugin dependencies. This addition enhances clarity and user experience by informing users of required plugins, which can now be easily installed and activated from the WordPress.org Plugins Repository links.

Use case scenario

Imagine a user attempting to activate a plugin that enhances a shopping cart but requires a specific e-commerce platform plugin. With the new system, upon activation attempt, WordPress notifies the user that the e-commerce platform plugin is a necessary dependency that needs to be installed and activated first, preventing potential functionality issues or conflicts and guiding the user through the setup process seamlessly.

Read about Plugin Dependencies:

WordPress 6.5 development enhancements

WordPress 6.5 introduces essential updates enhancing script management, block control, and theme configuration, streamlining development workflows and offering greater flexibility.

Script Modules and HTML API

Block.json enhancements

Theme.json updates

Future Directions

Engaging with WordPress 6.5: shaping the future together

As we conclude, it’s worth noting that diving into WordPress 6.5’s features and sharing your feedback is more than a contribution—it’s a partnership with the platform’s future. You play a crucial role in refining WordPress by engaging with the updates, ensuring it remains a robust tool for users worldwide. Armed with our insights and experiences, let’s continue to push the boundaries of what WordPress can do.

Courtney Robertson

An accomplished Open Source Developer Advocate at GoDaddy, a dedicated WordPress Training Team Faculty Member, and a co-founding board member of The WP Community Collective, effortlessly engages audiences with her relatable insights on getting involved and supporting contributors in the open source community. Staying true to her roots as a professional educator, Courtney seamlessly merges her teaching expertise with her passion for technology.


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Over 65,000 WordPress professionals are already using ManageWP

Add as many websites as you want for free, no credit card required. Sign up and start saving time!

Have questions? Get in touch!

Over 65,000 WordPress professionals are already using ManageWP

Add as many websites as you want for free, no credit card required. Sign up and start saving time!

Have questions? Get in touch!