Howdy, everyone. We’re back with yet another edition of The WordPress Update for July 2018.

In case you’re not already familiar, this is our monthly roundup where we collect all the latest and greatest WordPress news from the past month, pepper in some of our own thoughts and analysis, and share it with you both in our newsletter and here on the blog.

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, WordPress 4.9.8 rolled into beta status. We’re finally going to get a “Try Gutenberg” prompt, and it also fixes some memory leak issues that were introduced in WordPress 4.9.7.

Google is also getting even more aggressive about HTTPS, and there were some more big acquisitions in the WordPress space – Genesis framework users should be especially interested, here!

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

We really are getting a “Try Gutenberg” prompt, this time

A couple of months ago, I shared some news about a more aggressive “Try Gutenberg” prompt that the core team was planning to add to the WordPress dashboard.

That prompt never happened…

But now the idea is back and we really are about to get it in the upcoming WordPress 4.9.8 maintenance release.

The goal for this prompt is to drive adoption of the Gutenberg plugin so that the team can get more data and feedback on how Gutenberg functions.

Matt Mullenweg wants Gutenberg active on over 100,000 sites before the team starts merging it into the core. Given that the Gutenberg plugin is currently only active on 20,000+ sites according to WordPress.org, it’s important for the team to get a little more aggressive.

Hence, this prompt…

Gutenberg prompt

Beyond pushing users to try Gutenberg, the prompt also introduces the Classic Editor plugin, which lets users opt out of using Gutenberg if desired.

If you want to follow along with the prompt’s progress, you can check out this Trac ticket.

WordPress 4.9.8 is scheduled for release on July 31st.

WordPress 4.9.8 will fix a memory leak, too

While the Gutenberg prompt is the juiciest front-end feature in the upcoming WordPress 4.9.8 release, it’s not the only new thing we’ll get with WordPress 4.9.8.

WordPress 4.9.8 will also fix a memory leak that’s been a problem with some users since WordPress 4.9.7.

So if you’ve been encountering “memory exhausted” errors on your site since WordPress 4.9.7, you can rest happy knowing that WordPress 4.9.8 will significantly reduce the issue.

WP Tavern has more on the issue and what the core team has done to fix it.

Google Chrome rolls out not secure warning for all HTTP sites

Ok, this one isn’t exclusive to WordPress, but it will affect a ton of WordPress sites, which is why I think it’s worth giving a top billing in this month’s news.

For some time now, Google has been using Chrome as the proverbial “stick” to increase HTTPS usage on the Internet.

They’ve been slowly ramping up their aggressiveness. And moving to HTTPS just became even more of an imperative with their most recent change…

As of July 24th, ALL sites running on HTTP will now be marked as Not Secure. Previously, this warning only applied to HTTP pages with input forms.

But now, every single HTTP page on your site is going to look like this:

Chrome warning

And it’s going to get even worse…

Come October 2018, Google will change the warning to red on any pages where a user enters data.

If you need help moving your WordPress site to HTTPS, check out our guide to SSL certificates and WordPress.

Some huge acquisitions in the WordPress business space

Last month, we shared the news that Automattic/WordPress.com had officially acquired Atavist. Well, it turns out that was only the start of some big acquisitions in the WordPress space.

In late June and July, we saw a few large players in the WordPress space get acquired by…even larger players.

The biggest acquisition was definitely WP Engine’s decision to snap up StudioPress, the makers of the popular Genesis framework, as well as the StudioPress sites service.

WP Engine plans to continue to invest in developing Genesis as well as building “future solutions that leverage the framework”. Additionally, the Genesis framework will be “integrated tightly into the WP Engine Digital Experience Platform”. And WP Engine will offer customers StudioPress themes as an add-on to the hosting service, which offers great value.

StudioPress wasn’t the only big acquisition, though.

In mid-July, we also got word that Southern Web officially acquired the popular WordPress maintenance service, WP Site Care.

Southern Web is a digital agency specializing in WordPress design and development.

The acquisition means that Southern Web clients will enjoy maintenance through WP Site Care, and WP Site Care clients will get access to all kinds of new services like SEO, marketing, design/development, and more.

For more on how these changes will affect existing clients, check out Southern Web’s official announcement.

An awesome client-side React app to help you write WordPress posts

Gutenberg isn’t the only tool that’s aiming to change how you write WordPress posts. In July, Jason Bobich created an awesome client-side React app for WordPress called Just Write.

The editor offers a stripped-down writing experience with Markdown support and a basic preview.

Just Write then uses the WordPress REST API to let you manage your WordPress site’s content.

You can see a preview of the Just Write editor below:

Just write

To learn more about Just Write, check out its dedicated GitHub page.

Some stellar WordCamp Europe recaps

In last month’s edition of The WordPress Update, I promised you some WordCamp Europe 2018 recaps.

Now, I’m back to deliver…

Here are some of the best recaps I found for what happened in Belgrade…

New WordCamps thanks to WordCamp Incubator Program

Speaking of WordCamps, the relaunched WordCamp Incubator Program from February 2018 officially announced its new WordCamp locations for 2018.

They are:

  • Montevideo, Uruguay
  • Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia

If you’re located in South America or Southeast Asia, consider supporting these upstarts!

iThemes enters the WordPress hosting market

iThemes, makers of popular plugins like BackupBuddy, iThemes Security, iThemes Sync, and others, was acquired by Liquid Web back in January 2018.

Now, we get to see part of what that acquisition opens up because iThemes has officially entered the WordPress hosting market.

With plans starting at $15 per month, iThemes offers an integrated solution that includes their popular Sync, BackupBuddy, and SecurityPro plugins.

While we’re already a bit spoiled for choice when it comes to quality WordPress hosting, iThemes and Liquid Web might be able to bring something new, especially for people managing multiple sites who can benefit from the inclusion of iThemes Sync.

Check out the plans here. And if you want more info, WP Tavern interviewed Cory Miller about the new hosting plans, as well.

Pixelgrade Transparency Report #7

If you enjoy a voyeuristic look into running a WordPress business, you’ll love Pixelgrade’s latest transparency report.

Pixelgrade makes a number of popular WordPress themes. And in their transparency report, they share a ton of in-depth behind-the-scenes information, including a detailed look at their revenue and expenses, broken down by different channels.

If you run a WordPress business, it’s a must-read. And even if you don’t, it’s still pretty neat to see what happens behind-the-scenes with the companies that help make WordPress sites possible.

Check out the transparency report here.

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

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.