PHP is one of the most widely used server-side programming languages out there, and one of the main languages that WordPress uses. PHP’s lightweight, usability, and speed make it a prime language to be used by WordPress. PHP is used all around the globe which makes WordPress easy to customize and develop plugins.
When PHP 7 was announced the entire community was very excited. PHP 7 promised faster, sleeker, and more functional code. No wonder adoption has been so great. With PHP 7 a lot of features were either updated or became deprecated. This meant that a lot of software would have to be rewritten to support PHP 7. Luckily, WordPress was one of the first to add PHP 7 support.
Reasons to Choose PHP 7…
According to a Zend Benchmark PHP 7 shows a 96% increase in requests per second over PHP 5.6 on newer versions of WordPress. I don’t know about you, but 96% is a major speed boost.
With PHP 7 fewer servers are required to serve the same amount of users and there are noticeable reductions in memory consumption. A Zend benchmark shows that PHP 7 uses a quarter of the memory to execute a request compared to PHP 5.6 on newer versions of WordPress.
Once a PHP version reaches end of life (EOL) it will no longer receive updates. PHP 5.6 will experience EOL in December of 2018. Currently, PHP 5.6 is only receiving security updates, but as the PHP team is currently prioritizing PHP 7 development this means PHP 5.6 is not getting the necessary updates in a timely manner. Sidenote: Wurpe offers hardened PHP which comes with patches for older versions that have already reached EOL so if there’s something stopping you from updating to PHP 7 you can still maintain a secure WordPress environment.
Most popular WordPress plugins have already announced compatibility with PHP 7, but just in case you should always check with the developers to make sure the plugin does, in fact, support your environment. If your WordPress theme or plugin is not supported by PHP 7 then running PHP 7 will result in issues.
In a later article, we will outline the steps for updating to PHP 7 on WordPress.