WordPress 4.8 update is now available! The latest WordPress upgrade launched on June 8 provides exciting new features over its predecessor 4.7. Have you already upgraded to the new version or pondering if it is safe to do so? Let us quickly evaluate the WordPress 4.8 version and how well you can adopt it for your website.


WordPress has recently released the 4.8 update which is the first key release of 2017. WordPress users are jumping on the bandwagon and upgrading to the new release. But beware! A hasty and unplanned upgrade may make your website unusable. The update offers some great features and enhancements like new widgets, enhanced visual editor, etc. There are also some issues that might break your WordPress site. While users have reported many issues with the 4.8 release, there are a few notable ones to be considered. Here at Templatetoaster WordPress theme builder, Let us consider the new features provided by the WordPress 4.8 update and what issues and fixes you need to be aware of.


What’s new in WordPress 4.8

Improved Visual Editor Experience

In the previous versions, you might have had issues in editing inline hyperlinks. There were issues like the text not correctly attached to the hyperlink or extra text attached to the link text. WordPress 4.8 has an improved version of TinyMCE plugin, with new inline link boundaries. Users can now use right or left arrow keys to move the cursor away from a link.


Visual Editor Text Widget

WordPress 4.8 adds visual editor support and rich-text editing capabilities to the text widget. The new and improved text widget now has buttons to make text bold, italic, add lists, and links. This reduces the coding skills required to use this widget. Advanced users can continue to use the text editor to write HTML code.


New Media Widgets

There are three new media widgets added in WordPress 4.8 i.e., image, audio, and video widgets. Shortcodes and HTML codes are no longer needed to add audio or video. It is now possible to insert audio, video or text on sidebars and footers with the help of the new widgets.


News and Events Widgets

WordPress 4.8 includes a Widget “WordPress Events and News” to guide the WordPress users about news and events near their location.


Accessibility on the Admin Screen

WordPress 4.8 update comes with a cleaner header on the admin screen as an unnecessary content is no longer added to the header. This improves the user experience for people using assistive technologies.


What’s more for developers?

WordPress 4.8 has some under the hood changes for developers. Here are some of those improvements:

  • Removal of Core Support for WMV and WMA Files: File formats which need the Silverlight plugin will be removed from core WordPress support. Files will still display as a download link, but will no longer be embedded automatically.
  • Multisite Updates: New hooks and tweaks have been added for more granular control of the site and user counts per network.
  • Text-Editor JavaScript API: New JavaScript API is added for instantiating the text editor after page load. You can add an instance of the text editor to any text area. You can also customize it with buttons and functions.
  • Media Widgets API: The new base media widget REST API schema opens the potential for adding more media widgets in the future.
  • Customizer Width Variable: The Customizer sidebar width is now proportional to the screen size. New responsive breakpoints in the Customizer sidebar make it wider on high-resolution screens.


Things to look out for in the WordPress 4.8 Update

Apparently, there are some issues with the WordPress 4.8 Update. If you are running a customised WordPress website and have not updated to WordPress 4.8 yet, then you might want to wait. There are some issues with the Text Widgets, links, CSS and the login screen that may cause you a whole lot of trouble. Issues are being reported as users encounter them and some of them may already have a fix in the works. If you have updated to WordPress 4.8, you will want to carefully avoid getting into these issues. Let us delve into the details of the issues, the impact and the workaround available.


WordPress 4.8 Issues – Common Problems and Fixes

WordPress 4.8 Text Widget Issues

  •  Text widget strips HTML tags: Switching between the text editor and the visual editor removes the HTML associated with the widget.

Fix: Replace the text widget with the classic text widget as shown here.

  • Need to disable the Visual Editor in the Text Widget and use JS and style tags with the old text widget.

Fix: There is no way to do disable the Visual Editor. A stand-alone text-only widget is expected to be part of the next WP release.

  • Script code disappears from the text widget.

Fix: Do not add scripts to text widgets, use a plugin instead. Use an administrator account to add code or else it will be removed for security reasons. Use the Text tab of this widget, add the code there. Ensure that there are no double-line breaks as those will break the code.


WordPress 4.8 Text/Visual Editor Issues

  • Text/Visual editor is shown as a half screen or not visible properly.

Fix: Try deactivating all plugins and then reactivate one by one as one or more plugins may be conflicting.

  • The text editor is not working normally: The spacing between lines is irregular and changes with adding or removing formats and links. The size of the letters is not the same on the published page.

Fix: Try to add a fixed line-height in the theme’s editor-style.css.

  • After updating a post on the visual editor, closing the tab displays “Changes you made may not be saved.”

Fix: You can try with a default theme or removing all plugins and enabling one by one.


WordPress 4.8 CSS Issues

  • Failed to load content CSS: The error means that the editor was unable to load some resources, usually added by themes or plugins, using the editor_styles function. This issue can exist due to non-existing or incorrect resource paths or any of other several issues.

Fix: This is a warning and will not affect the website performance. However, the text editor window won’t be able to show previews accurately. Theme and Plugin developers should take handle these scenarios properly.


WordPress 4.8 Login Issues

  • Issues with accessing dashboard or browser: You might not be able to view the admin dashboard even though the pages load fine. You might also be facing issues with some browsers.

Fix: Try to disable and enable the security plugins one by one. Try deleting all cookies for the WordPress domain. The ‘iThemes Security’ plugin also has some issues. You might need to revert the settings and then disable the plugin.


WordPress 4.8 Link Issues

  • Link Boundaries feature does not allow adding plain text after links: If you want to add some text after an existing link, the text is not added outside the link. In previous versions of WordPress, adding 2 or 3 spaces after the link would let you type extra normal text outside the link. You could then remove extra spaces.

Fix: Use the -> arrow key to move over to the end of the link. Then type the text which is not to be included in the link.

  • All Text Widgets that contain images and “Save” span code have disabled links: Text widgets or other widgets with text links work fine. The image links do not work if the widget also has a “Save span” code.

Fix: Delete all “Save” span code from the text widgets.


WordPress 4.8 Plugin Issues

  • Contact Form 7 plugin not working: The loader of sending form keeps circling without completing the submission of the form.

Fix: Rollback to 4.7 version of Contact Form 7 plugin.


WordPress 4.8 Theme Issues

  • New media widgets do not work: This issue occurs if the active theme hides widgets by default like in a slide-out panel. The new media widgets may not be displayed properly.

Fix: Try to reinitialize the media element players as shown in the code sample here.

  • When using custom themes, the text from the text widget is displayed outside the designated area.

Fix: The theme needs to be updated to work with the new HTML that the new editor will wrap content in.

  • The color scheme of the website changes from that of the active theme. In other cases, the option to change the page layout may disappear or cause other layout issues.

Fix: If you are using a custom theme which is not updated then you may need to add custom CSS to retain the color schemes. For other issues, you might need to contact the developers and users of the theme.


WordPress 4.8 Generic Fixes

It is possible that WordPress 4.8 update may seem to break your website. We have already discussed the most common issues reported with this update. If your issue is not listed here or not even reported on WordPress.org then you need to be cautious before you proceed. Update the plugins and themes, clear the browser’s cache and cookies etc. Then try a login into the WordPress dashboard. If that does not work you can try these generic fixes.

  • Flushing any caching plugins

Tyr flushing any caching plugins you use, and the server and the browser caches. You can also clear all op cache or content network cache such as Cloud flare. This will resolve many JavaScript issues.

  • Flushing Managed host caches

If you are using managed WordPress hosting, then you might need to clear the special caches. Try a “Purge Varnish” or “Flush Memcache” tool if available for your host. You can also ask your provider do it for you.

  • Troubleshooting with your browser

The browser can help identify JavaScript issues or conflicts and Visual Editor issues as well. When the issue is identified, you can look for solutions on the forum.

  • Deactivating all plugins

You can deactivate all plugins and if this works, re-activate the plugins one at a time till you find the problematic plugins. If you are unable to get to the admin dashboard, you can try to reset the plugins folder by SFTP/FTP or PhpMyAdmin.

  • Switching to the Twenty Sixteen theme

You can try to switch to the default Twenty Sixteen theme to rule out custom theme-specific problems. If you are unable to log into the dashboard, you can use SFTP/FTP to delete all the theme folders except the Twenty Sixteen theme folder. This would ensure that the Twenty Sixteen theme is loaded.

  • Manually upgrading

When nothing works, download the latest.zip file of WordPress 4.8 update and try a Manual upgrade using the Manual Update directions.


Final Thoughts

The latest WordPress 4.8 update has multiple advantages and some issues. However, many theme and plugin developers must make changes to be compatible with the latest update. With the introduction of media widgets most of the third-party plugins, providing these features, will not be needed. The WordPress team will continue to work on reported issues and providing fixes in the next releases. If you want a hassle-free upgrade, then you can opt to use TemplateToaster, a website builder software  and WordPress website builder that is a complete tool for creating WordPress websites. It will provide you with a tested option to move your websites to the upgraded WordPress 4.8 version.