WordPress announced that the upcoming March updates, WordPress 5.4 might feature lazy-loading images by default. Lazy-loading HTML attribute tells a browser whether to wait before downloading an image or download it right away.

This feature will enable the “loading” HTML attribute on all IMG elements. WordPress publishers will no longer need to use JavaScript or third party plugins to implement lazy-loading with their images.

WordPress first considered enabling lazy-loading for images in WordPress content in 2018. But at the time, the feature required a custom JavaScript-based approach, and this would have introduced many edges and failures.

What is Lazy Loading?

Lazy loading is the best practice to delay loading or initialization of resources or objects until they’re actually needed to improve performance and save system resources.

For example, if a Web page has an image that the user has to scroll down to see, you can display a placeholder and lazy load the full image only when the user arrives to its location.

Benefits of lazy loading

Reduces initial load time
Lazy loading a webpage reduces page weight, allowing for a quicker page load time.

Bandwidth conservation
Lazy loading conserves bandwidth by delivering content to users only if it’s requested.

System resource conservation
Lazy loading conserves both server and client resources, because only some of the images, JavaScript and other code actually needs to be rendered or executed.

About WordPress 5.4 Release

WordPress 5.4 is currently set to release on March 31, 2020. That date is subject to change depending on how ready the release is. But WordPress has been very good about meeting their deadlines.

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