What happens if you don’t migrate to PHP 7.2?

Oct 11, 2019

Risk gumming up your website with outdated versions of PHP

PHP is a very popular scripting language around the world and is used in almost 79% of the websites available on the net today. 8 out of 10 websites are using PHP in some way or another. In fact, it plays an important role in the WordPress ecosystem as the entire CMS is built on PHP itself. Though PHP 7.2 was released a while back, many businesses, hosts, and developers have fallen behind when it comes to supporting the latest version. Almost 25% of the websites are still running on the unsupported older versions of PHP. An upgrade to PHP 7.2 will ensure that you are working on the supported version of PHP, as well as many other performance benefits.

Disadvantages of using an older version of PHP

1. Security
When a version of PHP reaches its End of Life (EOL), it stops being supported and does not get patched for security and vulnerabilities. This implies that when using an older version of PHP, your website is prone to face security issues such as DoS, code execution, overflow, memory corruption, XSS, directory traversal, bypass, and gain information types.

Even the PHP team themselves encourages users to update often and to stay current with the PHP version to avoid security flaws.

2. Performance
The older versions of PHP have almost half of the latency as the newer ones. PHP 7.2 is demonstrating such a substantial performance improvement over the previous iterations of PHP that it can execute twice as many requests per second.

Keeping your website running on the older version of PHP will not let you compete in the fast-moving world and will slow the performance of your website as compared to your competitors. As published by Christian Vigh, PHP 5 is almost 400% slower than PHP 7.

3. Support
Another important reason to upgrade to the latest version of PHP is support. When you are running on the older versions things will eventually break, for example, functionalities in WordPress such as:

  • Unexpected T_Function
  • Hustle Plugin
  • Content Locker Plugin
  • Insert Headers and Footers Plugin

Though there are some compatibility concerns faced when running on PHP 7, the WordPress community is working to solve these issues.

Scarcity of Features
Between PHP 5 and PHP 7, many new features have been added. Due to this, there are many developers who prefer working on the newer versions of PHP.

A few of the star functions of PHP 7 include:

  • Combined comparison operator
  • Null coalesce operator
  • New type hinting
  • Anonymous classes
  • Nullable types
  • Iterable and void returns
  • Multi-catch exception handling
  • Keys usable in lists
  • More negative string offsets
  • Number operators and malformed numbers
  • HTTP/2 server push

4. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Google directly considers both website speed and security when ranking for its Search Engine Pages. The older version of PHP means slow speed, decreased performance and security directly affecting a website’s Search Engine Optimization.

Conclusion
In conclusion, it is advisable to update to the advanced versions of PHP. Doing so will instantly improve your website’s speed, performance, and SEO along with providing many security and compatibility benefits. Before you move ahead with updating your site’s PHP version, make sure that you know the PHP version your site is currently running on and understand the site elements (including the plug-ins and themes) and their compatibility with PHP 7.2. You can check your site’s compatibility by using tools such as PHP Compatibility Checker by WordPress.

Need help upgrading to PHP 7.2? We can help! Contact TechArk today!

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