Posted on — Last updated on December 22, 2023

WordPress Popular Posts 5.5: Quality of Life Improvements + PHP 5 End-of-Support Announcement

Version 5.5 brings more goodies for the WordPress Popular Posts block and also an announcement on dropping support for PHP 5.

This release introduces some quality-of-life improvements for the WordPress Popular Posts block. Also, the plugin will no longer support PHP 5 after WPP version 6.0 so brace yourselves.

It’s been a few months since the last update so I guess it’s about time for a new one!

Block Improvements

5.5 implements yet some more enhancements for the WordPress Popular Posts block, bringing it feature wise up to parity with the classic WordPress Popular Posts widget.

Sorting posts by average views count

Version 5.5.0 brings back the ability to sort posts by average daily views.

Sort Posts by Average Daily Views option

This sorting option was purposely left out of the WPP block since it seemed that very few people / nobody used it but apparently some of you out there still do so here it is 😛

WordPress Date Format

Version 5.5.0 also brings back the WordPress Date Format option from the classic WordPress Popular Posts widget into the block version.

WordPress Date Format option under the Date Format section

Note that this change affects the classic WordPress Popular Posts widget as well: there were some code logic improvements related to this specific date format option that are not backwards-compatible and so you may need to reconfigure the date format settings of your popular posts list(s).

New Content Tags: author_name & author_url

Two new Content Tags have been added to the roster with version 5.5.0: author_name and author_url.

author_name renders the name of the author of the post in plain text, while author_url returns the URL to the author’s archive page URL.

Figured these two tags would allow for even more flexibility so those out there interested in building their own custom popular posts list with their own layout can do so without limits. Have fun!

The End of Support for PHP 5 is coming

If you’re not familiar with web development in general, PHP is the programming language both WordPress and the WordPress Popular Posts plugin are built on. At the time of writing WordPress Popular Posts’ minimum required PHP version is 5.4.

While the current version of the plugin runs fine with PHP 5.4, 5.5 and 5.6, using an outdated version of PHP on your website implicates not only leaving performance gains on the table (see Kinsta’s PHP benchmarks for example) but also exposes your website to security vulnerabilities that have been patched up by the PHP community over the years.

To help promote the adoption of newer & more secure PHP versions, WordPress Popular Posts 6.0 (planned for the first quarter half of 2022) will drop PHP 5 support. The minimum required PHP version will be 7.0 or even 7.2 so if your website uses PHP 5 please make all the necessary preparations and update your PHP version as soon as you can.

Minor Updates & Hotfixes


Version 5.5.1, released on January 11, 2022, fixes an issue where the WordPress Popular Posts block may break the layout when inserted in a post/page under certain conditions (thanks @shoelaced and @themosaurus for the report!)

Additionally, version 5.5.1 cleans up and minifies the inline style tag the plugin inserts on the header section of the page. This style tag is used to provide the necessary CSS rules for the loading animation to work.

Lastly, I also took the chance to clean up some of the code, updated dependencies, etc. Your usual good old codebase maintenance routine.