Hey there, WordPress friends. We’re back with yet another edition of The WordPress Update for August 2018.

If you’re not already familiar with what we’re doing here, this is our monthly roundup where we scour the web for all the latest WordPress news, throw in some of our own thoughts and analysis, and then share it with you both here and in our newsletter.

If you want to stay on top of the latest WordPress news and make sure you get all the future versions of The WordPress Update, the best thing to do is to sign up for the newsletter.

This month, we finally got that big “Try Gutenberg” prompt and, as a result, the Gutenberg plugin is up over 200,000 active installs. That’s 100,000 active installs above what Matt Mullenweg was hoping for!

We also saw a developer fork WordPress over his disagreement with the direction of Gutenberg. And don’t worry – we did manage to round up a few non-Gutenberg news bits for you, as well!

Keep on reading to catch up with everything noteworthy that happened in August 2018.

WordPress 4.9.8 helped boost Gutenberg over 200,000 active installs

Last month, we shared news of the “Try Gutenberg” prompt coming in WordPress 4.9.8. After a short delay, WordPress 4.9.8 shipped at the beginning of August, officially launching that callout prompt, as well as fixing some other bugs and issues.

As you’d expect, Gutenberg downloads shot up immediately following the release, jumping from ~1,000 per day up to ~30,000 per day:

Gutenberg Download Count

Now, the Gutenberg plugin is officially active on over 200,000+ sites.

Interestingly, and perhaps in response, the Classic Editor plugin has also shot up to 200,000+ active installs…despite not really having a use right now. I guess it could be people who want to use both editors, or developers firing a preemptive strike against their clients accidentally installing the Gutenberg editor plugin.

Matt Mullenweg’s goal for Gutenberg pre-WordPress 5.0 was for it to be active on 100,000+ sites, so we’re well above what he was hoping for.

The WP Tavern comments section for this news has some good thoughts, as well as a comment from Matt himself.

Scott Bowler forks WordPress into ClassicPress

No, we’re not talking about cutlery for this news bit.

In this case, a fork is basically a new copy of WordPress as it currently is that will receive separate development. Basically, it’s like a split in the path, where WordPress goes one way, and ClassicPress, the name of the fork, goes another.

The impetus for the fork is the impending addition of the Gutenberg editor into the WordPress core, which a vocal segment of users are strongly against.

Now, it’s unlikely that this fork ever picks up steam, but who knows with how much some people are opposed to Gutenberg.

If you want to follow along, you can check out the ClassicPress website or subreddit. And you should also give the WP Tavern comments section for this news a read, as you can find lots of good thoughts from people on both sides of the argument.

Mario Peshev explains the advantages of the Gutenberg editor

Still not sure what this whole Gutenberg fuss is all about? Mario Peshev of DevriX recorded a 10-minute YouTube video that explains what Gutenberg is and, more importantly, how it will change how you interact with WordPress. You can see the video here.

Sami Keijonen’s Foxland themes are now 100% free

The name Sami Keijonen might not ring a bell, but he’s the man behind Foxland themes, which used to offer a selection of both free and premium themes.

I’m a fan of most of his themes, and they all have a nice unique, minimal look.

As part of him accepting a new job at the WordPress agency, 10up, Sami decided to make all his themes 100% free as he no longer has the time to dedicate to running a profit-driven theme shop.

If you’re interested, go check out all of Sami’s themes. And you can read his reasoning in this announcement post.

Yoast SEO 8.0 is out – hopefully you like smileys!

Yoast SEO 8.0 is officially out. And in addition to some new smileys, the big news is that it officially supports the Gutenberg editor.

If you have Gutenberg, Yoast SEO will now show up with most of its settings in the Gutenberg sidebar, rather than as a separate meta box.

As part of those changes, the Yoast SEO team also revamped the existing meta box for non-Gutenberg users.

The new meta box features:

  • Smiley faces to show you how optimized your post is.
  • Collapsible sections for a more compact interface.

The Yoast SEO team also shared what’s on the roadmap for upcoming versions. And one cool addition is its own set of Gutenblocks that will make it possible to add more types of schema markup without the need for a separate plugin.

Check out the full Yoast SEO 8.0 announcement here.

Syed Balkhi launches a WordPress growth accelerator fund

If you’re not familiar with that name, Syed Balkhi is the guy behind brands like OptinMonster, WPForms, and WPBeginner.

He recently announced the WPBeginner Growth Accelerator Fund, which will invest between $100k-$500k in a group of five WordPress businesses.

If you run a WordPress business and want to apply, head over to the application form.

Note – you have to have been in business for at least six months to apply.

New rules for sharing to personal Facebook profiles

Since August 1st, the Facebook API no longer allows third-party developers to share posts automatically to individuals’ Facebook profiles.

As a result, some WordPress plugins that you’ve been using – like Jetpack – will have ceased to function if you were sharing content to your personal Facebook profile.

It’s not your plugin’s fault – it’s just the way things will work with Facebook from now on.

Note that this only affects personal profiles. You’ll still be able to automatically share content to Facebook pages using Jetpack and other similar plugins.

Learn more about the change here.

Advanced custom fields adds Gutenberg support

If you’re not a WordPress developer, you might not be familiar with the Advanced Custom Fields plugin. But while Advanced Custom Fields isn’t a very sexy plugin for casual users, it’s massively popular and important for people who build WordPress sites for a living.

To keep up with all the Gutenberg talk from above, the Advanced Custom Fields team announced that version 5.0 will officially support Gutenberg…and the implementation is pretty slick!

Now, developers will be able to easily spin up their own blocks for custom fields without the need to write any JavaScript.

Here’s an example of what an Advanced Custom Fields block might look like in Gutenberg:

Gutenberg Blocks

Check out the full announcement here.

Oakley Capital set to acquire cPanel

This news isn’t WordPress-specific, but is still relevant to a large percentage of WordPress users.

If you use shared hosting to host your WordPress site, you probably manage your server using cPanel.

On August 20th, Oakley Capital announced that they’ve acquired cPanel. That news isn’t especially noteworthy by itself. But Oakley Capital is also the same company that acquired Plesk, another popular server control panel, back in 2017.

It will be interesting to see if we get any changes to cPanel as a result. I’d love a little bit of the Plesk WordPress Toolkit in cPanel!

WordPress.com Pexels integration

Pexels is one of the better free stock photo sites. And if you’re a WordPress.com user, or a Jetpack user who composes posts via the WordPress.com interface, you’ll now be able to insert free images from Pexels right through the Add Media button.

Check out the news here. And if you want something similar for your self-hosted WordPress site without the need to use Jetpack, you can check out the WP Pexels plugin.

Check out WooSesh if you’re a WooCommerce user

Finally, if you’re a WooCommerce user, you might be interested in the upcoming WooSesh conference in October.

Like the more general WordSesh, WooSesh is a virtual conference that’s free to attend.

The conference will be held on October 18th and 19th and features a list of speakers including:

  • Chris Lema from Liquid Web
  • Beka Rice from SkyVerge
  • Bryce Adams from Metorik
  • Plus plenty more

Check out the details at the WooSesh website.

And that wraps up all of the most important WordPress news and articles from August 2018.

Make sure to subscribe to the newsletter by using the box below. And also check back next month for all the exciting news that’s bound to drop in September.

Posted by Colin Newcomer

Colin Newcomer is a freelance writer for hire with a background in SEO and affiliate marketing. He helps clients grow their web visibility by writing primarily about digital marketing, WordPress, and B2B topics.