WordPress launches locally hosted fonts for legacy default themes in version 6.2 – WP Tavern

In June 2022, WordPress.org’s theme team began strongly urging theme authors to switch to locally hosted web fonts, following a German court case, which fined a theme owner. website for violating GDPR by using web fonts hosted by Google. For years, theme authors have queued Google Fonts from the Google CDN for better performance, but this method exposes visitors’ IP addresses.

The theme team warned that local font hosting guidelines were about to change and many theme authors decided to comply before it became a requirement.

A ticket to bundle Google Fonts with legacy WordPress default themes had patches and was set to be included in WordPress 6.1 in November. WordPress contributor Hendrik Luehrsen demanded more attention to the ticket, saying it “directly affects the core WordPress audience in Germany.” He reported that users in Germany were still receiving emails threatening fines for using fonts loaded from Google.

WordPress Senior Maintainer Tonya Mork suggested exploring the possibility of releasing the updated version of each theme separately from WordPress 6.1.

“When each theme is ready, publish it to the wp.org theme repository,” Mork said. “Users can then upgrade to locally hosted fonts before WP 6.1 is released.”

This changed the direction of the ticket and with more scrutiny, contributors found fixes might need a bit more work.

“Creating new theme versions for this specific change might be a good thing when they are ready“, said Stephen Bernhardt. “The use of locally hosted fonts is already recommended, but we need to fix our own themes before we can make it a requirement for others.” He submitted a list of issues and potential improvements after reviewing the fixes, and the contributors are working on a better approach.

WordPress Senior Maintainer David Baumwald changed the milestone to 6.2 as Beta 2 for 6.1 was released yesterday and the ticket still needs final direction and a fix.

“While I understand the problem, it’s still sad to see,” Luehrsen said. “This is still a serious issue in Germany (and other GDPR territories), as users with active Google Fonts are currently being targeted by people who exploit the law.”

Luehrsen took to Twitter to comment on his disappointment with the ticket missing the window for 6.1.

“That’s why WordPress will probably lose relevance,” he said. “Real users are hurt here, but they’re in GDPR territories and that doesn’t seem to matter.

“Could I have done more? Most likely. But it’s kind of sad to see how quickly the momentum of this post waned. If Squarespace, Wix and others start marketing privacy against WordPress, we’re screwed in GDPR countries.

In the meantime, those using the default WordPress themes can use a plugin like Local Google Fonts or OMGF | GDPR/DSVGO compliance, faster Google Fonts to host fonts locally.

Users can also upgrade to Bunny Fonts, an open-source, privacy-friendly, zero-tracking, zero-logging, fully GDPR-compliant web font platform. Bunny Fonts is compatible with the Google Fonts CSS v1 API and can therefore work as an instant replacement. The Replace Google Fonts with Bunny Fonts plugin allows users to easily do this without modifying the theme code.

Contributors are working to have fully GDPR compliant default WordPress themes ready for WordPress 6.2, due in early 2023.

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