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PHP is now among the most popular programming languages across the globe thanks largely because of the growing popularity of WordPress. Over 80% of the internet is powered by PHP, including sites such as Facebook and Wikipedia.
The most recent edition of PHP is version 7 which was released in 2015; however, most of the world wide web has been slow to adopt it with about 90% of websites on PHP still only running version 5.
Here’s what you need to know about PHP version 7.
One hundred percent of WordPress.com has been switched over to PHP 7 as of the end of 2016, and very soon the online platform will officially suggest that all its users adopt this latest version. That means PHP 7 may become the minimum criteria needed to run self-hosted WordPress in the very near future.
There is a huge difference in performance between PHP 5 and PHP 7. It allows for site speed as much as three times faster than PHP 5, up to 5% improvement in memory consumption, and the ability to serve as much as three times as many requests per second.
If you’ve ever wondered how PHP went from version 5 series to version 7, it’s because the attempt to release PHP version 6 between 2005 to 2010 never really got off the ground running. PHP 6 actually did exist, but the project never came to fruition because of several complicated issues.
Once you make the switch to PHP 7, you can’t go back. For this reason, it is important to make sure that any compatibility issues with your site have been ruled out first. That’s why adopting PHP 7 is only elective right now and not mandatory. If your website has compatibility issues with PHP 7, you might run into problems with things like plugins and themes.
There is a PHP Compatibility Checker plugin that helps identify which components of your site are compatible with PHP 7 and which ones are not.
Once you’ve determined whether your website is ready for PHP 7, you should make the switch. The difference in performance is astounding, and as long as your theme and plugins work well, you’ll be glad you made the change.
Thank you to our friends at WPEngine for creating the plugin and information to get your website tested.