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WordPress 5.5.1 Fixes Millions of Broken Sites

WordPress is publishing a maintenance release that fixes issues that broke millions of websites.

Image of a child rejecting spoon of medicine with WordPress logo in background. Symbolic of publisher wariness downloading another WordPress update.

WordPress published new information that describes why WordPress 5.5 negatively affected millions of websites, a staggering amount. WordPress is publishing a maintenance release, version 5.5.1. It is designed to serve as a patch to give time for plugin and theme developers to update their software.

The announcement about what went wrong linked to a spreadsheet naming hundreds of plugins and themes that were affected.

The spreadsheet also notes what the specific issue is for each plugin and theme, which will help software developers fix their plugins and themes.

WordPress 5.5.1 Maintenance Release September 1, 2020

The WordPress 5.5.1 maintenance release is designed to stop sites from breaking. But the errors will still need to be fixed.

WordPress described the issue like this:

“In WordPress 5.5 the global JavaScript objects listed below were removed without being deprecated. WordPress 5.5.1 adds a backfill for these globals so they no longer cause JavaScript errors.”

Plugin and theme developers have until March 2021 to patch the code. Failure to patch the code will result in another round of site failures.

According to WordPress:

“The plan is to remove this fallback code in two major versions, so this will be deleted in WordPress 5.7. This gives plugin and theme developers ample time to remove the conflicting code and switch to using wp.i18n”

Millions of Websites Affected

The spreadsheet revealed the previously unknown amount of sites that were broken.

There initially was casual speculation that the impact was relatively small and limited to thousands of websites. But that wasn’t the case.

WordPress 5.5 negatively impacted millions of websites.

It is for that reason that a patch was urgently released today, September 1, 2020.

Some Plugins Already Fixed

Not all the plugins on the list continue to be broken. Some have been fixed.

Among the affected plugins with millions of users:

  • SiteOrigin Widgets Bundle +1 million users
  • Advanced Custom Fields +1 million users
  • Ninja Forms Contact Form – The Drag and Drop Form Builder for WordPress +1 million users

Partial List of Plugins Affected by WordPress 5.5

  • WordPress Gallery Plugin – NextGEN Gallery
  • Polylang
  • Child Theme Configurator
  • Simple Custom CSS and JS
  • Toolset Types – Custom Post Types, Custom Fields and Taxonomies
  • Max Mega Menu
  • WP AutoTerms: Privacy Policy Generator, Cookie Notice Banner, Terms & Conditions Generator
  • YITH WooCommerce Wishlist
  • Ocean Extra
  • WordPress SEO Plugin – Rank Math
  • Meta Box – WordPress Custom Fields Framework
  • Hummingbird – Speed Optimize, Cache, Minify & Defer Critical CSS & JavaScript
  • Content Views – Post Grid & List for WordPress

Popular Themes Affected by WordPress 5.5:

  • Astra +1 million users
  • Storefront +200,000 users
  • Hestia +100,000 users
  • Neve +100,000 users
  • ColorMag +100,000 users
  • Customizr
  • Hueman
  • Zakra

There were many more themes that were affected. See link below for lists of all affected themes.

Update to WordPress to 5.5.1

This maintenance update is designed to patch a wide range of bugs that were discovered after 5.5 was released. For those that rolled back their sites to a previous version of WordPress because 5.5 was breaking their sites, this is the version that should be downloaded. Problems that were discovered have been fixed.


Official WordPress Announcement of What Went Wrong

Deprecated JavaScript Globals

Spreadsheet with Full List of Affected Plugins and Themes

List of Themes Affected by WordPress 5.5

Category News WordPress
SEJ STAFF Roger Montti Owner - at

I have 25 years hands-on experience in SEO and have kept on  top of the evolution of search every step ...

WordPress 5.5.1 Fixes Millions of Broken Sites

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