If your website is powered by WordPress, listen up: it’s time to update your programming and scripting language. Known as PHP, this language is the code that makes WordPress work. Neglecting to move from version 7.4 to 8.0 exposes you to security risks and fatal errors, and could bring down your entire site.
Since 1993, PHP has climbed the ranks to be one of the most used open-source languages. As you can see below, there is a life cycle for each version as the PHP community plans each release.
It’s estimated that there are still over 50% of PHP-powered websites running on versions that are no longer supported! Don’t be one of them! If you’re one of our hosted clients, we’ve already migrated all sites to PHP 8.0 (and some further, where possible).
The main reasons you don’t want to get left behind in terms of PHP version are:
- Increased Security Risks
When PHP 7.4 reached its end of life, no more security updates were released for the version. Staying on the PHP 7 release branch exposes your website to many unpatched vulnerabilities, significantly increasing the attack surface.
Using outdated software will always lead to increased security risks.
- Reduced Website Stability
The PHP 8 release branch introduces various new features and improvements, with some functionality of PHP 7.4 completely left behind. Multiple features found in PHP 7.4 have now been deprecated.
Updating WordPress to the latest 6.1 release while still using PHP 7.4 will lead to reduced application stability as the WordPress core has undergone a series of changes to offer full compatibility with PHP 8.
Your WordPress website will continually show PHP-related warnings, which, in the long term, will turn into fatal errors and bring the website down completely. Potential issues will escalate when you update your active theme and plugins that have been reconfigured to work with the new PHP 8 versions.
- Degraded Performance
WordPress 6.1 has announced major performance improvements. With much anticipated query caching and optimizations to REST API, WordPress website owners on PHP 8 should notice a significant performance boost.
Staying on older versions will lead to degraded performance, which in turn can increase your hosting and website maintenance costs as you are trying to accommodate traffic.
You should always update your operating system on your computer or laptop and phone/tablets etc. Your website and its server and application files are no different!
As you might have noticed above, PHP 8.0 reaches end of life towards the end of this year. Upgrading your site from 8.0 to 8.1 is only a minor upgrade whereas 7.4 to 8.0 represents a much larger difference in the code base and the implications.
Contact us today to help you assess your site’s PHP setup and security!