WordPress Updates Legacy Default Themes to Include Locally Bundled Google Fonts

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.

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