The biggest change in this version of WordPress is auto-updating. Make no mistake, this is a big deal. Security and maintenance updates will happen seamlessly in the background.
Many WordPress updates close security holes or make your site stronger against online scammers, spammers and hackers. When you don’t update your own site, you leave it vulnerable to cyber-attack. Worse, when you don’t update and you’re on a shared server — as the vast majority of websites are — you increase the risk for everyone else on that server.
Sadly, there are lots of sites out there that don’t get updated. Either the owners don’t know how (here’s how to update) or just don’t care.
Auto updates will eliminate that risky behavior. And that’s a good thing!
A new WordPress user will now be prompted to come up with stronger passwords. (Choosing strong passwords is important in your defense against internet bad guys.) While WordPress hasn’t changed their instructions, they’ve quietly gone behind the scenes and made it much more difficult for you to choose dumb passwords.
Like password or 123456789. Believe it or not, those are two of the most commonly used online passwords! The new password checker will even pick up common pop culture references.
They advise using passwords at least seven characters long. I recommend 10 — minimum. Strong passwords also include:
- both upper and lower case letters
- special symbols — !, #, $, %, and &
Better Support for Languages
If your first language isn’t English, WordPress has just made it easier for you. Local translations will be ready faster, and they’re making it easier to install and automatically update the right language files. Since you’re reading this in English, this probably isn’t a big deal for you.
I generally wait a few days before updating. While I can honestly say I’ve never had a problem with an update, I always like to wait a little bit after release to make sure there aren’t reports of any big snafus. (Remember, I’m talking days here, not weeks or months!)
Remember to do a complete backup — files and database — before updating. You’ll find complete instructions here.