The timeline of PHP versions
|A release that is being actively supported. Reported bugs and security issues are fixed and regular point releases are made.|
|Supported for critical security issues only. Updates only made on an as-needed basis.|
|A release that is no longer supported. Upgrade as soon as possible, you may be exposed to unpatched security vulnerabilities.|
Long story short: PeepSo & PHP 7
Since version 1.9.6, the official PHP version recommended by the PeepSo team is PHP 7.1. We have been compatible with PHP 7 ever since the first Release Candidate, and it is now the time to move forward even further.
We will phase out PHP 5 and PHP 7.0 support completely by July 2020.
To understand why this is happening, please continue reading. The knowledge of PHP versions, life cycles, end of life events and potential security vulnerabilities will save you a lot of headache in the future.
As a responsible site administrator you need to be aware of the upcoming paradigm shift in order to provide a secure environment for your community.
PHP 7 – the future is now
Download a PDF version of my presentation on the topic: “The Future Is Now – The Importance Of Upgrading To PHP 7“
PHP, the programming language powering most of the Web and WordPress itself, reached version 7 in December 2015. A major upgrade over the PHP 5 family, PHP 7 offers better speed and reliability across the board along with amazing new tools for developers to write better, cleaner and faster code.
According to most benchmarks, WordPress sites powered by PHP 7.x perform 2-3 times better compared to 5.x.
PHP 5 still works fine – why should I bother?
The previous stable version – PHP 5.6 – seems to be still alive and kicking, but it is already over three years old, which in the fast moving world of technology is an eternity. All PHP versions are subject to an official life cycle, and all of them will eventually “die”. And the “end of life” milestone is coming for PHP 5 – and it’s coming soon.
The official support from the PHP team will end by the end of 2018. The “end of life” event means that the PHP team will provide no further updates for this version anymore, not even security patches.
Not even security patches!
Staying with PHP 5 after December 2018 will mean a growing risk of security issues, as hackers will find new vulnerabilities that will not be patched due to lack of official support.
The life cycle of PHP 7
Since PHP 7.0 is already two years old, its support will also expire in December 2018. The security risk after this date will be exactly the same as with PHP 5.6. This is why the only reasonable and safe choice nowadays is going with PHP 7.1 or newer.
Updating to PHP 7
PeepSo is ready
PeepSo team includes dedicated Quality Assurance (QA) engineers whose only responsibility is identifying, writing and running tens of thousands of automated tests on the entire suite of our plugins. We run these tests on different versions of PHP, MySQL and WordPress, to emulate as many combinations as possible. This is how we are always sure our software is as near-perfect as humanly possible with every new release.
We also do our best to test new PHP versions long before they are actually released, so that our product is ready for the future without any unnecessary wait. We are even already prepared for the future release of PHP 7.3.
Unfortunately many plugins and themes (especially the free ones) are poorly maintained and might break down when ran on PHP 7. Later on I will write a separate blog post touching on the subject of upgrading PHP versions on your site.
Quick advice: always perform a full site backup before any potentially disastrous server operation. And most preferably, test the upgrade on a separate staging environment.
Your PeepSo licenses can be assigned to a live site and staging environment. Simply contact our billing department and we will be happy to get that sorted out for you.
This post was updated on November 1, 2018 to include information about PHP 7.3.