WordPress contributors have updated the legacy default themes to bundle Google Fonts locally in the theme folder, instead of loading them from Google’s servers. In years past, loading fonts from the the Google CDN was the recommended practice for performance reasons, but new privacy concerns have emerged following a German court case, which fined a website owner for violating the GDPR by using Google-hosted webfonts,
All of the default themes from Twenty Twelve to Twenty Seventeen have been updated. The process began nine month ago but the approach took some time for contributors to refine. Updates to default themes are usually done in coordination with major and minor releases of WordPress, as core contributor Jonathan Desrosiers explained in the ticket.
“The reason the updates are usually coordinated is that the themes are usually updated to be compatible with new versions of WordPress, so releasing at the same time makes a lot of sense,” Desrosiers said. “Also, the number of contributors that focus on the tickets within the Bundled Themes component is usually very low unless these compatibility issues are being addressed.”
A dev note to accompany these updates to the legacy default themes was published to WordPress.org. It contains code examples for serving a new stylesheet from the theme directory, fixing the editor style within a custom theme-setup function, removing the font stylesheet, and including a custom set of fonts in a child theme. This change particularly impacts those who have edited or removed the font stylesheet in a child theme of these default themes or a plugin.
WordPress’ Themes Team has strongly urged theme authors to switch to locally hosted webfonts, and is expected to officially ban remotely hosted fonts following WordPress’ legacy default themes getting updated.
This is a nice development. It suprises me how little theme/plugin developers have done till now to implement this.
I’m the developer of OMGF (Optimize My Google Fonts) and most of my users still have to use my plugin, because either the theme or several of the plugin’s they’re using load Google Fonts externally.
I’m not complaining, I’m happy with my 200.000+ active users 🙂 But I would’ve expected other devs to move faster.