Why upgrading PHP 7 is important for WordPress?

Why upgrading PHP 7 is important for WordPress?

It is quite evident and known to everyone that PHP powers WordPress. We can say that PHP is the steel structure that keeps WordPress standing.

What if I say you could twice your websites speed and reduce the memory consumption significantly? Sounds brilliant, right? The recent PHP 7 version has it all.

WordPress.org statistics suggest that 36.4% of the WordPress site work on PHP 5.6 but did you know, PHP 5.6 will become the minimum requirement in April 2019 and PHP 7.0 will replace it as early as December 2019?

To you surprise, Only 18.6% of websites currently are running on the latest supported versions of PHP 7.1 and PHP 7.2. WordPress no longer would leverage security support to PHP 5.6 version built websites.

The obvious thought would be “Wasn't PHP 7.0 just released?”! But let me tell you, it was released long back in 2015. The latest release solves myriad of problems which the earlier versions couldn’t.

Why update the website from an older version?

There are a number of noticeable perks that this PHP version offers. It is constantly being updated and patched for bug and security vulnerabilities.

Let’s explore some of the major reasons to update to PHP 7:

The newer version offers an important reduction in memory usage;

  • New Zend Machine now called Next Generation implementation to increase the speed;
  • It has an Abstract Syntax Tree;
  • PHP 7 offers Consistent 64-bit support;
  • It is compatible with OpenSSL 1.0.2e onwards;
  • Support for Anonymous classes;
  • Reduction in throwable errors.

Some of the above features might be mumbo-jumbo for you, but to know more in detail let’s read further.

The Next Generation Engine:

Next Generation(NG), the extensible object model and performance enhancers are the core for the actual speed increase in PHP 7.

NG achieves this by changing its behavior of operating with pointers to operation with structures.

This change reduces Memory consumption, garbage collection, and performance. In addition to the above advantages, NG is also responsible for lower memory consumption as it reduces the time it takes for the scripting language to process the information.

PHP 7 with improved speed and data processing:

You can judge your website with the number of requests it processes per second. The more requests your server can serve, the faster is your website.

PHP 7 doubles the performance by using less CPU time to process each request, as compared to that offered by PHP 5.6.

And to add more it is now directly competing with HipHop Virtual Machine (HHVM) developed by Facebook.

Error Handling made easier:

Handling of errors in previous versions has been critical always. This improved version uses throwable exceptions which allow developers with better error handling mechanism and a more clear picture about the actual error.

PHP 7 now shows support for 64bit integers.

Support for Anonymous classes:

Like any other scripting language Java and C#, PHP too, added anonymous classes which can speed up the execution. This practice is followed in almost all the major object-oriented languages.

No one likes their websites to be insecure!

An added boon is, if at all, any security holes found in PHP version, they’ll be patched. PHP 7 has included a strong hashing and encrypting for storage and security of the data and better functionality for identifying the content that is potentially dangerous.

It has also deprecated some functions which means part of your code may go unusable or will not work further. This removal of code is partially responsible for the faster speed of PHP 7.0.

How to upgrade to the latest version of PHP?

Check the administration panel of the hosting, you will get to know in which version you are working in? Make sure that your hosting company supports PHP 7 version. Request the hosting company to upgrade it for you. You can check out some of the PHP web development companies online for the service.

If they don’t, you probably need to seek some other company. But before you send it to them, make sure that your site’s code is compatible with PHP 7.

Hopefully, this article has convinced you enough with the merits of updating to the latest version of PHP. Make sure that the deprecated functions or changed features of PHP 7 don’t disrupt your expected output.

You can check the code compatibility of the current WordPress Website with PHP Compatibility Checker or hire a PHP developer
You can install it directly like a plugin and run a scan. It will show the possible errors and conflicts with your code. You can easily fix them and then proceed for an update.

It’s time to make the switch to PHP 7

If you care about your website performance keep it in the first place to update it to the latest PHP version. Update all your plugins, themes and switch the hosting that provides PHP7.

Your PHP version is important! Sit back and enjoy the benefits, after all, WordPress always advocates PHP and its latest versions.

Posted by Harshal Shah

Harshal Shah
Harshal Shah has a countless experience as being a CEO of Elsner Technologies Pvt Ltd. that offers various PHP Web Development services to the clients across the globe. Mr. Harshal is a huge tech enthusiastic person who has written major & genuine articles as well as blogs on mostly topics relevant to various CMS platforms. This can guide the readers to acknowledge new practices about web development and also they can learn new ideas to build & optimize a website online using multiple web development tools & techniques.

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