WordPress 5.9 Beta 1 and 2 released

WordPress 5.9 Beta 1 was released on 11/30/2021. and 5.9 Beta 2 2021. 12.07. Alpha, beta and RC versions should not be installed on online sites, only in test environments. Before the final version of WordPress is released (probably on January 25, 2022), there is still plenty of time for extensive testing to identify and fix as many bugs and incompatibilities as possible before release.


To test, install WordPress 5.9 Beta 2 in a secure test environment using the zip archive or the WordPress Beta Tester plugin. A third option is to use WP-CLI: wp core update --version=5.9-beta2.

Over the next few weeks, the Make WordPress Core blog will be posting major development changes.

To see all the features in Gutenberg since WordPress 5.8, read What’s New in Gutenberg 10.8, 10.9, 11.0, 11.1, 11.2, 11.3, 11.4, 11.5, 11.6, 11.7, 11.9.

In addition to the mentioned changes, which include 580 improvements and nearly 450 bug fixes, Beta 1 fixed 297 WordPress 5.9 tickets, including 110 new features and improvements. Beta 2 fixed 24 bugs. More bug fixes are on the way.

Full site editing

Styles interface

Combine all the features introduced in 5.8 with those added in 5.9 and you have a complete site edit. Formerly known as Global Styles, the styles interface allows you to instantly interact with blocks and elements right in the WordPress admin interface. From typography to color palettes, this unified design interface means design changes—even drastic ones—can happen without switching themes. No code is required for this.

theme.json file

Introduced in WordPress 5.8, the theme.json file has been completely redesigned to enable features and default styles for your site and its blocks. As of version 5.9, theme.json can support child themes and the two-tone method. Matching style layers to theme.json minimizes the CSS required for your theme.

Other features supported by theme.json include:

  • Border: Color, Style, and Width extend the border-radius properties introduced in 5.8. in point
  • Flexible Layouts: block gap support thanks to spacing.blockGap.
  • Typography: font families, font style, font weight, text decoration and text transformation.
  • Images: Duotones.

New navigation block

Below are the features you should check out the most.

  • Adaptive menu options that you can disable, always enable, or only use for small screens.
  • Integrated keyboard accessibility. For availability, speed, or both.
  • Add additional blocks like search and website icon blocks (and customize them to your liking).
  • Submenu items with style options.
  • Horizontal or vertical orientation.
  • Reusable cross-topic navigation. The created navigation block is saved as a custom content type.

Developed gallery block

You can now edit each individual image in the Gallery block in the same way as in the Image block: with cropping or duotone included and changing layouts using drag and drop.

notification: Have you developed a plugin or theme based on the gallery block functionality? Then you should definitely read this developer note, which describes what you need to do to ensure the necessary compatibility.

Focused template part mode

Creating parts of a template can require special focus because you’re making decisions about the entire site. That’s why WordPress 5.9 offers a focus mode that shows only the part you’re currently working on (and you can return to normal view with a keystroke).

Lock template directory

The template directory offers a range of ready-made block templates, from single blocks displaying an image and text to a full page layout with columns and sections. Since the release of version 5.8, the directory has become an experimental UI and template repository that accepts submissions (including yours) and makes them available to the public.

New default theme: Twenty Twenty-Two

WordPress 5.9 introduces full site editing features and the first default block theme, Twenty Twenty-Two.

With minimal CSS, theme styles are stored in the theme.json file so you can configure them in the WordPress admin interface styles interface. The theme can be customized with a choice of color schemes, font combinations, page templates, ready-made components and image editing options.

Some changes from beta 2

  • Block Editor: Remove navigation panes (#54506)
  • Block Editor: JavaScript error in navigation block view (#54456)
  • Block Editor: Block template theme bug related to child themes (#54515)
  • General: Fix existing links to customizer when site editor is activated (#54460)
  • Media: Media library only shows selected image (#53765)
    Media: Fatal error when uploading media on PHP 8 (#54385)
    REST API: Add Gutenberg Global Styles REST API endpoints to Core (#54336)

how can you help

Stay tuned to the Make WordPress Core blog in the coming weeks for 5.9-related development notes that will break down these and other changes in more detail.

Check, check, check

Bug testing is an important part of polishing a release during beta and a great way to contribute to the WordPress open source project.

Report a bug

If you think you’ve found a bug, you can post it in the alpha/beta sections of the support forums. If you know how to write a reproducible error report, you can create one in WordPress Trac, which also has a list of known errors.