WordPress 6.3 is the second major release of 2023. It includes over 350 changes — over 120 enhancements and feature requests, over 200 bug fixes, and more. Almost 70 changes focused on performance, over 20 focused on accessibility, and over 30 sought to modernize code and apply coding standards. Here’s a look at some of the highlights of what’s new in WordPress 6.3.
Block editor changes
WordPress 6.3 brings 10 new Gutenberg block editor releases into the core of WordPress. One of the biggest changes is a new way to manage patterns. Patterns may be kept in sync across your site, and will appear in categorized sections (such as headers and footers). If you make a change to a synced pattern, the change will apply anywhere on the site it is used. This is similar to reusable blocks, which are now included in synced patterns. You can also reuse unsynced patterns, but any changes you make to those will not change the original pattern or other places they are used on your site.
The Gutenberg block editor also has other new features, including a new Grid layout type, layout and block spacing support for post templates, new Footnote and Details blocks, improved padding and margin controls, automatic embedding support for TikTok creator profiles, new faster ways to edit pages, better support for image aspect ratios, new navigation, and more.
The WordPress Command Palette
WordPress 6.3 introduces a brand new feature known as the command palette. Press
Ctrl + K (Windows) or
Cmd + K (Mac) to open it. The command palette includes commands for things like navigating the site editor, creating new posts and pages, toggling UI elements or editor preferences, and more. For example, type
/ (the slash key) in the command palette to navigate your site or type a word like
Add for options like adding a new post or page. You can also search for a post or page to edit it by simply typing its name in the palette. The palette can also gain more capabilities with third-party themes and plugins, as WordPress has created an API for developers to use.
Failed update rollbacks
One other exciting new features in WordPress 6.3 is a new rollback feature for updates. If a plugin or theme update fails, WordPress will automatically revert to the previous version so updates don’t cause a website to crash. The update process will copy the current version of themes and plugins to be updated to a temporary backup folder, ensure that enough space is available, and then delete the temporary backup copies once the update is completed successfully.
Note that this will not allow you to roll back to a previous version of a theme or plugin after a successful update, as it only applies to failed updates. If you are concerned about a theme or plugin removing a feature that is important to you or changing the look of your site, you’ll still want to maintain a backup copy of the theme or plugin in question, and always check your website after an automatic update to make sure your site is still working properly. Remember that a failed update (as far as the new automatic rollback feature is concerned) means that the plugin or theme was not able to install successfully, not that it changed something on your site or altered its appearance.
Revision history for styles
Much like page revisions allow you to view a history of changes you’ve made to a page and revert to a previous one, styles will now include a revision history. The styles panel now includes a Revisions button. Click it and select Revision History to see a list of style changes made to a selected item, and then click one of the previous revisions to preview it.
WordPress made several under-the-hood improvements to increase performance. Images and metadata will now be loaded differently so that the page will render more quickly with lazy loading. WordPress 6.3 also introduces several other improvements in their code to help pages load more quickly. WordPress will also now require PHP 7 or greater, and recommends PHP 7.4 (if you’re unfamiliar with PHP and what it means for your site, read our guide to understanding PHP).
As always, the WordPress 6.3 update includes lots of other new features and bug fixes as well. To see a complete list, read the WordPress 6.3 Field Guide.