Underway: Fall 2021 core & third-party updates

99park—sportsjournalists

We’re most of the way through updating WordPress core and third-party plugins on all of our environments. We have zero third-party themes to update, because we have zero third-party themes on our platform.

We aim to do these updates approximately twice per year. It would be nice to do them more often, but it’s time-consuming because we put a lot of work into vetting the changesets. Also it’s nice to lag behind the bleeding edge a bit so that we can learn from the bugs of others.

A common question we get is, well does that mean you’re six months behind on vital security updates? No. We employ several different monitoring services to alert us to security issues in WordPress core and third-party plugins, and we patch those immediately.

This particular round of updates is exciting because it gets us support for the webp image format. Developer Jake Archibald has written an excellent primer on modern image formats. Although his piece focuses on the avif format, it’s also a very helpful introduction to webp.

Why are we interested in webp? Because of Google’s Core Web Vitals. We are finding that webp gives a significant improvement to our CWV scores, most notably Largest Contentful Paint.

We’re not yet ready to announce that you can throw away your jpegs and go all-in on webp. We’ll let you know. And even when it’s confirmed safe to do so, you’ll still be able to upload your jpegs as you normally would because our platform will automatically store them as webp.

Scott Fennell
About the Author

Scott is a WordPress theme and plugin developer with a penchant for connecting the dots between services like MailChimp, Cloudflare, and GoDaddy. He has been published in A List Apart and CSS-Tricks.

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