Here’s Why You Should Always be Using Only Supported PHP Versions

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Negosentro.com | Here’s Why You Should Always be Using Only Supported PHP Versions | PHP, one of the widely-used scripting languages, powers 78% of all the websites that use a server-side programming language (W3Techs). This literally means that for every 8 out of 10 websites you visit, they are running on PHP. And of course, we cannot forget that the entire WordPress ecosystem is built on PHP.

Even if PHP is so popular, it’s been observed that most businesses are using its outdated versions. 64% of WordPress users are running on old versions of PHP. Using the latest version of any software is important not only for security reasons but also for better performance and support. So in this blog, we’ll discuss some of the good things about using the PHP framework’s latest version.

But before that, let’s talk about the ‘end of life’ concept. 

End of Life: PHP 5.6, 7.0, and 7.1

End of life means these versions will no longer be supported for security and can be easily exposed to unpatched security vulnerabilities.

  • PHP 7.1 reached its end of life on December 1st, 2019.
  • PHP 7.0 reached its end of life on December 3rd, 2018.
  • For PHP 5.6, the end of life date was December 31st, 2018. This officially marks the end of an era because PHP 5 was launched 14 years ago.

Reasons Why You Should Use the Latest PHP Versions

Security

Irrespective of the web framework you use, security is of utmost concern. In the case of PHP, it’s all the more important as it powers so many websites.

When we talk about PHP Website Development it is always under constant scrutiny and improvement. All supported versions are patched regularly for security vulnerabilities. With every new version comes major and minor changes that enhance security and repair any flaws, configuration mishaps, and other issues. Similar to other system-level scripting languages, the best approach is to update regularly and be aware of the latest versions and their changes. 

Now, what if you are not using a supported or patched version?

PHP 5.4 has not been patched since 2015 and PHP 5.5 since 2016. However, some operating system vendors still update older versions of PHP if they offered it.

According to CVE Details, 2016 proved to be one of the worst years for PHP security vulnerabilities. Over 100 issues were reported, including code execution, overflow, DoS, XSS, directory traversal, memory corruption, bypass, and gain information types. 2017 was considered the third-worst year since 2,000, with over 40 vulnerabilities.

Performance

The release of  PHP 7.2, 7.3, and 7.4 brought in huge performance gains! 

After the analysis of PHP benchmarks, analysts saw that: 

  • PHP 7 enables the system to execute twice as many requests per second as compared to PHP 5.6, at almost half of the latency.
  • PHP 7.3 could execute three times faster as many transactions (requests) per second when compared to PHP 5.6. 
  • PHP 7.3 is also 9% faster than PHP 7.2 on average.

Here are the actual results of this study:

  • WordPress 5.0 PHP 5.6 benchmark: 91.64 req/sec
  • WordPress 5.0 PHP 7.0 benchmark results: 206.71 req/sec
  • WordPress 5.0 PHP 7.1 benchmark results: 210.98 req/sec
  • WordPress 5.0 PHP 7.2 benchmark results: 229.18 req/sec 
  • WordPress 5.0 PHP 7.3 benchmark results: 253.20 req/sec

In addition, Christian Vigh has published a report on PHP performance comparison. He found that PHP 5.2 is 400% slower than PHP 7.

Support

Support is very important when you are running your websites on open source frameworks. Often, developers of plugins and themes can only extend support for older versions for a limited period of time. Thus, things will eventually go from bad to worse. And you won’t be able to do anything about it.

The troubles faced by PHP users due to outdated versions are countless. For example, just search for “unexpected T_Function” in the WordPress forums and it returns over 2,000 threads. Here are some of the common threads opened by the users:

  • Hustle Plugin
  • Insert Headers and Footers plugin
  • Content Locker Plugin

You will always keep facing such problems due to older versions. Stay updated to avoid them.

Exciting features for developers

Some of the best features offered in PHP 7 and 7.3 are as follows:

  • Iterable and void returns
  • Combined comparison operator
  • Preloading
  • Anonymous classes
  • New type hinting
  • Nullable types

This list can go on. If you are not from a PHP background, don’t worry about these terminologies. The developers will understand them well and deliver you the best website ever.

Start Moving Your Site to the Current Version Today

As you can see, there is no point in struggling with the older versions. Once you get on board with the latest version and stay updated always, there is no looking back. So, start the upgrade process today. A new world of seamless web experience awaits you. 

Author Bio

Bharat Patel, who heads the digital marketing team at Brainvire Infotech, is armed with over 12 years of experience in the fields of online marketing and project management. He is extremely proactive in implementing the latest technological innovations in his projects. Bharat’s core expertise lies in search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing, and conversion rate optimization, among other things. His immense flare of writing encourages him to consistently pen down words revolving around current trends and innovations that relate to his fields of interest.

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