The first release candidate (RC1) for WordPress 6.4 is now available!

This version of the WordPress software is under development. Please do not install, run, or test this version of WordPress on production or mission-critical websites. Instead, it’s recommended that you evaluate RC1 on a test server and site.

Reaching this phase of the release cycle is an important milestone. While release candidates are considered ready for release, testing remains vital to ensure that everything in WordPress 6.4 is the best it can be.

You can test WordPress 6.4 RC1 in three ways:

  1. Plugin: Install and activate the WordPress Beta Tester plugin on a WordPress install (select the “Bleeding edge” channel and “Beta/RC Only” stream).
  2. Direct download: Download the RC1 version (zip) and install it on a WordPress site.
  3. Command line: Use the following WP-CLI command:
    wp core update --version=6.4-RC1

The current target for the WordPress 6.4 release is November 7, 2023. Get an overview of the 6.4 release cycle, and check the Make WordPress Core blog for 6.4-related posts.

The WordPress 6.4 release is brought to you by an underrepresented gender release squad to welcome the participation and partnership of those who identify as gender-underrepresented in the WordPress open source project.

What’s in WordPress 6.4 RC1

This release contains 420 enhancements and 445 bug fixes for the editor, including more than 260 tickets for WordPress 6.4 core. Browse the technical details for all issues recently addressed using these links:

Highlights

WordPress 6.4 is the third and last major release of 2023. It introduces a multi-purpose default theme, new features, and a keen focus on details to enhance every aspect of your creation journey—from site editing and design to writing flows.

  • A new flexible default theme brings together the latest and greatest of WordPress. Discover its vast collection of templates and patterns to tweak and match your brand. Built for versatility, Twenty Twenty-Four is an ideal fit for nearly any type of website.
  • Enable lightbox functionality in images for immersive viewing experiences.
  • Organize your patterns with your own custom categories. Find them all more intuitively with advanced filtering in the Patterns section of the inserter.
  • Enjoy more writing improvements, including new keyboard shortcuts, smoother list merging, and enhanced control over your link settings. A revamped toolbar experience for Navigation, List, and Quote blocks ensures cohesive and organized access to the tooling options you work with.
  • A redesigned Command Palette with new commands helps you find what you need, perform tasks efficiently, and speed up your workflow.
  • Rename Group blocks to organize and distinguish areas of your content easily.
  • See and locate your content’s media assets at a glance with new gallery and image previews in List View.
  • Build beautiful yet functional layouts with an expanded set of design tools. Play with background images in Group blocks for unique creative designs, keep image dimensions consistent with placeholder aspect ratios, and effortlessly add buttons to your Navigation block without custom CSS—among other new capabilities.
  • Block Hooks enable developers to automatically insert blocks at their chosen content locations, enriching the extensibility of block themes through plugins. While developer-centric, this new feature improves your building experience with blocks and gives you complete control to customize Block Hooks to your needs.
  • Over 60 accessibility updates, including significant List View enhancements, aria-label support for the Navigation block, and upgrades to the admin user interface.
  • More than 100 performance updates, focusing on template loading performance for classic and block themes, usage of the script loading strategies “defer” and “async,” and optimization of autoloaded options.

Are you looking for a deeper dive into details and technical notes? These recent posts cover a few of the latest updates:

Ways to contribute

WordPress is open source software made possible by a community of people collaborating on and contributing to its development. The resources below outline various ways you can help, regardless of your technical expertise.

Get involved in testing

Testing for issues is critical to developing the software and ensuring its quality. It’s also a meaningful way for anyone to contribute—whether you have experience or not. Check out this guide for detailed instructions on testing key features in WordPress 6.4.

If you encounter an issue, please report it to the Alpha/Beta area of the support forums or directly to WordPress Trac if you are comfortable writing a reproducible bug report. You can also check your issue against a list of known bugs.

Curious about testing releases in general? Follow along with the testing initiatives in Make Core and join the #core-test channel on Making WordPress Slack.

Search for vulnerabilities

During the release candidate phase of WordPress 6.4, the monetary reward for reporting new, unreleased security vulnerabilities is doubled. Please follow responsible disclosure practices as detailed in the project’s security practices and policies outlined on the HackerOne page and in the security white paper.

Update your theme or plugin

Do you build themes and plugins? Your products play an integral role in extending the functionality and value of WordPress for users worldwide.

You most likely have already been testing your latest themes and plugins with the WordPress 6.4 betas. With RC1, you will want to complete your testing and update the “Tested up to” version in your plugin’s readme file to 6.4.

Please post detailed information to the support forums if you find compatibility issues.

Help translate WordPress

Do you speak a language other than English? ¿Español? Français? Português? Русский? 日本? Help translate WordPress into more than 100 languages. This release also marks the hard string freeze point of the 6.4 release cycle.

A haiku for RC1

RC1 in hand
WordPress evolves and takes shape
Testing, a sneak peek, in place

Thank you to the following contributors for collaborating on this post: @meher, @rmartinezduque, @webcommsat, @annezazu, @cbringmann, @priethor.