The WordPress Development Team, following through the conversations about the new editor and browser support within WordPress core, has reached an important conclusion. Earlier today, Matt Mullenweg announced that WordPress is officially ending support for Internet Explorer versions 8, 9, and 10, starting with WordPress 4.8.
It has crossed a year since the Internet Explorer versions 8, 9, and 10 were discontinued and Microsoft itself ended support to these browsers since January 12, 2016.
Matt said, “Attempting to continue supporting them ourselves has gotten to the point where it’s holding back development. I realize that folks still running these browsers are probably stuck with them because of something out of their control, like being at a library or something.”
The market share of Internet Explorer has declined steadily in the past years and the number of users has gone well below the threshold. It is no longer helpful for WordPress to continue testing and developing against these browsers.
Google Chrome continues to have the highest market share of browsers in both desktop and mobile browsing applications, followed by Internet Explorer 11, Microsoft Edge and Mozilla Firefox. (Source)
The current market share of Internet Explorer according to StatCounter’s GlobalStats are:
- IE8: 0.41%
- IE9: 0.26%
- IE10: 0.26%
- IE11: 3.79%
Although it is generally thought that you should support a browser if it’s market share is statistically more than 1%, the said browsers perform very poorly in comparison to all other updated browsers. They also provide an inferior user experience. The decision, therefore, seems completely plausible and valid. It is high time that all users upgrade to advanced and better web browsers.
The Internet Explorer versions 8, 9, and 10 are also highly insecure and contain security vulnerabilities that cannot be patched as Microsoft has already ceded support for them.
Nevertheless, wp-admin will still work in these older browsers. But the capabilities will be fewer as WordPress will no longer test the new features and enhancements in the said browsers.
Therefore, the next versions of TinyMCE that is targeted at WordPress 4.8 will not support Internet Explorer versions 8, 9, and 10.
In addition, WordPress will now work towards updating Browse Happy to show that these browsers are no longer supported. Hence, WordPress wants to encourage users of Internet Explorer versions 8, 9, and 10 to upgrade to the latest versions or to switch browsers completely.