WordPress 5.4 May Feature Image Lazy-Loading by Default

New WordPress 5.4 will bring image lazy-loading feature by default. The concept of lazy loading allows a webpage to render without loading certain resources until they are needed. This leads to faster page loads and saves data on the visitor’s end. Lazy loading is particularly useful when rendering images on the web. Lazy-loading, it is a way which tells the browser when to load an image. There are two attributes in lazy-loading which are “lazy” and “eager”. The lazy attribute will wait for the user to come in distance browse the viewport and then load the image. This basically means that when the user is nearer to scrolling where the image is, it will be loaded.

For many years, various JavaScript libraries have handled this feature but not always to success. A native solution is slowly making its way into browsers. Native lazy loading works by adding a loading attribute to an <img> or <iframe> element. Browsers can then decide how to load a resource based on the value of the attribute. Currently, Chrome, Edge, Firefox and Opera all handle the loading attribute. Once the attribute officially makes it into the HTML specification, the feature should be a standard that all browsers support.

How This Lazy-Loading Affects Existing Plugins

Because not all web browsers support the loading attribute, users may not want to automatically drop their current plugins when the feature lands in WordPress. Users may choose to support browsers without native lazy loading for a while

The proposed code within the Lazy Loading plugin attempts to detect whether the attribute exists on an image before applying it. This means the code should play nicely with existing plugins and avoid conflicts in most cases.


Currently, there are three planned major releases for WordPress in 2020:

  • Version 5.4 – March 2020
  • Version 5.5 – August 2020
  • Version 5.6 – December 2020

Each of those dates are subject to change. We should also get more specific dates as each release draws near. The various projects for 2020 should land in each 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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