WordPress 5.6: Accessibility Improvements, Site Health & Development Upgrades


WordPress 5.6 brings a slew of new enhancements for users and developers, replacing 5.5.3 and the separate beta versions.

After the legendary jazz singer Nina Simone, WordPress 5.6 is called “Simone” and it was formed by an all-female team, a first for WordPress.

The new version of WordPress contains block editor enhancements, more usability tools, auto-updates, and back-end programming to make your website run easier on WordPress.

Users will head into 2021 with brand-new features and innovative resources to create a better website with the impressionist-inspired Twenty Twenty One theme and the introduction of WordPress 5.6.

Read on for more detail on new features for 5.6, including:

Block Editor Improvements and More Layout Capabilities

The new version of WordPress provides you with more tools to adjust your layout and make the website design more manageable, including:

More built-in block patterns are also available, making the new block editor more accessible to users still learning to navigate the editor.

Developer Upgrades: Program Keys, PHP 8, and jQuery

WordPress 5.6 addresses a lot of problems faced by developers and coincides with other major releases.

REST API Updates and Application Passwords

WordPress 5.6 is rolling out 28 REST API updates, including a new framework that pools REST API calls together into a single server request. This will help with controls on performance and concurrency.

The introduction of the Application Passwords authorization feature is one of the most significant modifications in 5.6. Apps from third parties will now have better access to WordPress than older versions, making production more seamless.


PHP 8 was released on Nov. 26, 2020, and WordPress awaited its release by checking early on for any potential glitches. WordPress 5.6 provides extended PHP 8 support with bug fixes for backward compatibility issues and problem features associated with the previous PHP version.

The developers of WordPress strongly focus on compatibility. And while WordPress 5.6 has been tested with PHP 8.0, WordPress.org calls it “beta compatible” because in the wider WordPress environment, they are not sure how it will go. So, when updating WordPress, proceed with caution.


In WordPress 5.6, the jQuery update is step two of a scheduled three-part upgrade. To look for any bugs on your website, WordPress recommends running the update test plugin. Use the jQuery Migrate Helper plugin if you run into errors.

Site Health Enhancements

They’ve made 11 changes to Site Health to build on WordPress 5.5, including:

Auto-Update Feature

Auto-updates for major core releases also come with WordPress 5.6. Existing WordPress users will have to opt-in and, upon sign-up, new users will opt-in.

Administrators will receive an email notification on your website that will let them know that their WordPress website has been updated.

You can opt-out of any automatic updates. But it’s important to stay on top of backing up data for your website for those who like the feature. New WordPress releases bring unforeseen glitches that can break down your website.

With a significant update, WordPress is ending the year. WordPress 5.6 is the newest tool to add some artistry to your website with inspiration from Nina Simone and the Impressionists.

With more block editor options, more robust back-end support, and auto-updates, the new year will see your website flourish.

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WordPress 5.6:

WordPress 5.6:

WordPress 5.6:

WordPress 5.6:

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