📆 This is the October 2021 edition of “This Month in WordPress with CodeinWP.”
Hey folks, hope you’re staying safe and healthy. We have another round of WordPress news and stories from last month, including notes on the recent WordPress update, expanded functionality of the block editor, a recent security patch for Ninja Forms, and a report on some of the most exciting acquisitions in the WordPress space!
October 2021 WordPress News with CodeinWP
Acquire all the things!
Let’s start with the fun stuff. September was very rich in the number of acquisitions that happened in the WordPress space.
It was only last month when we reported that Yoast got acquired by Newfold Digital, but we now know that this was only the tip of the iceberg in terms of acquisitions.
This September, companies like Jetpack, Awesome Motive, and our very own Themeisle expanded their product families with interesting new members.
On September 8, Jetpack bought the Social Image Generator plugin. This plugin automatically generates social media images optimized for Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and other social media sites. The plugin will be integrated directly with the existing Jetpack social media tools.
This is great news for anyone using Jetpack’s social media automation tools. Once the integration is complete, you’ll be able to schedule a post and have Social Image Generator automatically create an image to go with it. You’ll also get access to a variety of image templates and the intuitive template editor, allowing you to create a branded look for all of your images with minimal effort.
The Social Image Generator plugin will no longer be sold separately from Jetpack, but existing users will continue to have access to the plugin. Social Image Generator will also continue receiving regular updates and support through the Jetpack team.
All in all, this is an exciting addition to Jetpack, especially when you consider that none of the other major social media automation plugins offer image creation.
Next up, Awesome Motive – the parent company behind WPBeginner – acquired the Sandhills Development family of products.
This includes several WordPress plugins, such as Easy Digital Downloads (EDD), AffiliateWP, Sugar Calendar, WP Simple Pay, and more.
EDD, for instance, has been the most popular ecommerce plugin for selling digital goods on WordPress. While you can still sell such goods through WooCommerce, EDD offers a more tailored experience that’s been purpose-built for digital only.
The Awesome Motive team is planning to grow on the expertise and knowledge of the Sandhills Development team and bring more features to these plugins while integrating them with the rest of the WPBeginner product line.
Lastly, Themeisle – a sister company to CodeinWP – acquired the WP Landing Kit plugin and the Multiple Pages Generator plugin.
These two plugins expand on Themeisle’s catalog of plugins and aim to make the company’s offering more attractive to agency clients and site owners looking for professional-level features that would make their work more efficient vs what’s possible in the stock version of WordPress.
As you can see, the acquisition market is basically crazy right now! With WordPress nearing 50% of market share, we can only expect to see more and more exciting moves in the industry by existing players and other companies that want a piece of the WordPress pie.
WordPress security update
WordPress 5.8.1 was released on September 9, 2021. This update fixed over 60 bugs and a variety of security issues, including XSS issues with the block editor. You can see the full list of improvements on Trac.
Sites with automatic updates enabled will have already switched to the newest version of WordPress. If you don’t have automated updates, you’ll want to manually update your site right away to ensure its safety. Just be sure to back up the site first.
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Expanded functionality of the Featured Image block
The most recent update to Gutenberg included a major update to the Featured Image block, adding several new features:
- Full control of the size and scale of the image in your post, allowing you to give each post a different layout (without customization, the size of your featured images is pre-determined by your theme).
- Ability to add Featured Images to the Query Loop block, an advanced WordPress block that lets you display groups of posts based on certain parameters. This can be used to create a visual portfolio of your most popular posts or posts within a certain category.
- The ability to add a duotone filter with a wide variety of color options. You can also use this to apply a duotone filter to a full post.
These changes give you more control over the layout of individual posts and pages. In some cases, like the duotone filter, they can even be used to change the overall feel of your blog.
You can see a demo of these features in action at WordPress.org.
Security patch for Ninja Forms
A major security issue was discovered in Ninja Forms, a plugin installed on over 1,000,000 sites. This vulnerability made it possible for anyone logged into your WordPress site to export all of a site’s forms data using the plugin’s built-in data export feature, regardless of that user’s permissions. Depending on the content of those forms, this could include highly sensitive data that aids in attacks against your audience.
The vulnerability also allowed users to send emails from the vulnerable website to any email address. This made it possible for a hacker to use the trust your audience has in your domain to lure them into phishing campaigns, which could, in turn, ruin that trust.
On September 7, Ninja Forms 22.214.171.124 was released to eliminate this vulnerability. If you’re using an older version of this plugin, you should update it immediately to protect your audience. You may also want to explore other ways to protect your WordPress site.
That sums up our October 2021 WordPress news roundup. Anything we missed?
Don’t forget to join our crash course on speeding up your WordPress site. With some simple fixes, you can reduce your loading time by even 50-80%:
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