What’s New in WordPress 4.1

This article is outdated, check out what’s new in WordPress 4.6 here.

WordPress 4.1, named “Dinah” after the jazz singer Dinah Washington, was officially released today. Here’s a round up of what you can expect with this latest version.

WordPress 4.1 What's New

Around seven days ago the WordPress 4.1 Release Candidate became available, this article is based on the information shared in that release candidate. Any last minute changes will be updated as soon as possible.

How Do I Get WordPress 4.1?

Most users will be greeted with a message in their dashboard saying “WordPress 4.1 is available! Please update now”. Clicking this link will take you to a page where can download the update and apply it all in one go. Too easy!

As always, I want to take a minute to remind everyone before applying any updates to your live sites, to make sure that you have a full backup and that you’ve tested theme and plugin compatibility with this latest version. Ideally, you should have a separate environment so you can always test anything that’s important. SitePoint has featured articles on VVV (Varying Vagrant Vagrants) and Chasis which makes managing local WordPress development and testing environments a breeze.

Introducing the New Twenty Fifteen Theme

WordPress 4.1 will see the release of a new default WordPress theme called Twenty Fifteen. The theme was designed keeping a strong blog focus in mind and makes use of Google’s Noto web font. This font covers over 30 scripts and was developed to work across multiple languages, making it the perfect fit to help take WordPress closer towards the goal of stronger internationalization.

WordPress Twenty Fifteen Theme

Focus – The New Distraction-Free-Writing

WordPress shines as a publishing platform, so it’s no surprise that content creation will always be a focus (no pun intended) of the WordPress core developers. This new version of WordPress has seen revisions to the existing distraction-free-writing functionality. As with distraction-free-writing, it will probably be a feature that users will either love or hate, but it’s good to see the WordPress team are continuing to refine the publishing experience.

Focus - WordPress 4.1

Focus makes it easier than ever to concentrate on just your content, without the distraction of the other dashboard elements.

WordPress 4.1 New 'Focus' Feature

The animated GIF above can only show you so much, using it is a rather unique experience. I’m still getting used to it, but I’m looking forward to trying it out over time. Focus feature can be turned off if you find you don’t like it.

Updates to Language Support

With the release of WordPress 4.0, you were able to choose your own language on installation. This is perhaps one of the most powerful features of WordPress and it’s exciting to see more work in this area by making switching languages after installation an easy task.

WordPress 4.1 has been translated into 40 languages with other languages yet to come. If you want to change the language your site is using navigate to the bottom of the ‘Settings’ and ‘General’ tab.

Updating Site Language

Recommended Plugins

Since version 4.0 we’re now greeted with a new plugin installation experience which allows you to browse a grid of tiled plugins that more clearly displays information about the number of downloads, ratings, when it was last updated and if it has been tested with your current version of WordPress.

WordPress 4.1 now also provides a filter for ‘Recommended Plugins’ which shows you a list of plugins that are based on other sites that have similar plugins to yours installed.

Recommended Plugins Filter

Suggested Plugins

Log Out of All Other Sessions

Accessible under your profile settings, you can now log out all sessions. This is a handy security feature if you may have left a session open on another device.

Log Out Everywhere

Demo Showing the User Logged Out

Vine Added to oEmbed

Vine is a popular platform where people can upload short 6 second snippets of video. WordPress 4.1 has added Vine videos to the long list of oEmbed support, you can see the complete list here.

Image Alignment Toolbar

WordPress 4.1 brings a new image alignment toolbar, something I think that users will greatly appreciate.

Image Alignment Toolbar

It’s a minor change, but one that will be both a big time saver for experienced users and help newer users feel more comfortable working with images. When I first read about this feature, I didn’t take a lot of notice, but I’ve already started to appreciate it.

Changes for Developers

As with every WordPress update, there are plenty of changes under the hood. Here are some of the more notable changes that developers may be interested in:

You can get a more complete list in the WordPress 4.1 field notes page here.

Your Thoughts

In summary, these updates bring some welcome changes to developers and frequent users of WordPress. As someone who does WordPress training, I haven’t seen distraction-free-writing get much use, so I’m very interested in what everyone thinks of the new ‘Focus’ feature.


  1. Good article! It’s nice to see what is new with wordpress. I think it is always good to know what is changing with technology and software. Thanks!

  2. This is a good article. I can’t wait to try it. However, I cannot do that just yet as I am afraid my existing plugins will not be compatible with the new update. The new feature excites me, especially the distraction-free-writing.

  3. Thanks for sharing useful information…

  4. Jeroen says:

    So if I understand correct, for multilingual websites you will be using WPML for example for the front end, and for the admin panel you can use this feature for different members of your team in the admin end?

  5. Jeroen,

    Okay there are two setups you can do here.
    Deploy WordPress multisite, then configure domains or directories like this.

    Yourwebsite.com -> English
    YourWebsite.fr -> French

    Or if you don’t want to purchase domain, then make directories like
    YourWebsite.com/fr -> French

    The French website will be copy of English one. We can just change the language on .fr domain to French right from the admin settings.

    You can manage both the websites from your WP Multisite Admin. Those who want to work on English website can work on that.

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