Blake Howe
2 min readOct 18, 2018


Staying up to Date With PHP

PHP is employed by more than 83% of all the websites that use a server-side programming language. That means that 8 out of 10 websites you visit are using PHP. A big contributor to this number are CMS’s.WordPress by itself is used by 30% of the World’s websites and relies on PHP. (That not to mention the multitude of others)

Of that 83%, over 70% use PHP version 5, which is schedule from end of life at the first of the year. How end of life is determined in the PHP ecosystem is that every version of PHP is supported for two years from the initial stable release, then for an extra year for crucial security issues. Once the version reaches the end of life, it is no longer supported by the community and any vulnerability, once revealed can cause serious security

Some practical reasons You Should Update PHP Versions

1. Security

PHP 5.4 has not been patched since 2015 and PHP 5.5 has not been patched since 2016. If you are running anything less than 7.3 you are asking for trouble.

Do note that some software package vendors still update older versions of PHP, and security fixes are available from 3rd party repos.

2. Performance

With the release of PHP 7.0 (and 7.2) came immense performance gains! For all these people trying to optimize their big heavy CMS, this is probably one of the easiest things you can do to improve your sites performance. PHP 7 can execute double as many requests per second compared with the PHP 5.6, at nearly half the latency.

3. Support

Support is one more reason why you would like to use the most recent and supported PHP versions. Running older versions may not only compromise security but developers may choose to not extend support back for older versions because of time constraints and and the amount of time it can take to check compatibility.

4. Makes the developers life easier

There are numerous new features between PHP 5.2 and PHP 7.1 that make building and maintaining stable systems easier..

Some changes with PHP 7

  • Combined comparison operator
  • Null coalesce operator
  • New type hinting
  • Anonymous classes
  • Null able types
  • Iterable and void returns
  • Multi-catch exception handling
  • Keys usable in lists
  • More negative string offsets

Some changes with PHP 8

For your reference here is a quick list of PHP Security Support

  • PHP 5 Security Support Until Dec 2018
  • PHP 7.0 Security Support Until Dec 2018
  • PHP 7 Security Support Until Dec 2019
  • PHP 7.2 Security Support Until Nov 2020
  • PHP 7.3 Security Support Until Nov 2021
  • PHP 7.4 Security Support Until November 2022
  • PHP 8.0 Release Date is Nov 2020 Security Support until November 26, 2023

References and Resources

How to tell what version of php you are running

PHP Wiki

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