Why You Should Upgrade From Old PHP Versions to New PHP 7

Peter A. Liefer II | Posted: January 2nd, 2019 | Updated: July 24th, 2019

Upgrade from PHP 5 to PHP 7

PHP is a popular general-purpose scripting language that is especially suited to web development. Fast and flexible PHP is used in everything from your blog to the most popular websites in the world.

PHP is a server-side language. Called “server-side” because PHP isn’t executed on your computer, but on the server from which you requested the page from. It then hands the results over to you and is displayed in your browser. PHP has been in use for over 10 years now. Many apps are running on either 5.2, 5.3 or 5.6. PHP versions.

PHP Latest Version

PHP is constantly being updated and patched for bug and security vulnerabilities. Newer PHP versions fix vulnerabilities and optimize the processing and delivery of your website content.

Here is the issue. PHP 5.6 active support ended January 19, 2017, and it will end security support on December 31, 2018. This will leave websites using PHP 5 exposed to unpatched security vulnerabilities. If your website is developed on PHP based Content Management System like WordPress, Joomla, Magento, and Drupal then your site needs upgrading to the latest PHP.

In just a few months’ time, PHP 5.6 and PHP 7.0 will no longer be receiving security patches. PHP 7.1 will have another 12 months to go, with PHP 7.2 another 12 months after.


Increase Security and Performance

The aim of this update to PHP 7.2 is to increase security and performance. Security is enhanced because security updates are regularly distributed. Performance is increased because PHP 7 is 2 times faster and uses half the memory of PHP 5.6. This means faster performance resulting in less memory usage, and two to three times faster page loads.

Web pages that load slowly will drive visitors away faster than any other characteristic of your website. So, besides security, you are also getting this great benefit by updating.

Other benefits of PHP 7

  • Reduced software incompatibility and compliance issues
  • Better handling of catchable and fatal errors
  • Better security for message transmission and encrypted storage of sensitive data
  • Improved efficiency in processing
  • Requires a higher standard of coding from developers
  • Removes deprecated (outdated) functions dragging down older versions
  • Better for heavy traffic sites

Process of Updating to PHP 7

Not all themes, plugins or even hosts are updated to PHP 7. Because PHP 7 is not backward compatible, testing needs to be done ahead of time to ensure all the parts of your site will work when migrating. Checking code for PHP 7 compatibility means parsing through the website’s code to make sure any deprecated functions or changed features don’t change the expected output. This can be a tedious process of trial and error, especially for large sites and eCommerce websites.

Secure your website now!

PHP 5.x was plagued by hundreds of security issues that were patched over the years. If your site is using earlier versions of PHP, some of these vulnerabilities may still be present. Cybercriminals know about these vulnerabilities.  Hackers look for sites running earlier versions so they can stage easy attacks. PHP 5.4 hasn’t been updated since 2015 so this gives hackers 3 years to discover and exploit vulnerabilities that may have never been patched.

Hacking a website

Protect your assets from hackers that may try to exploit your website because it’s running on the older PHP 5 code.

Upgrading to the latest version of PHP is an essential security update for your website. The last thing you want to have is a hacked site leaving all your data exposed. Hackers may also insert content into your page, mine your crypto-currency, add hidden adult material links or inject malware among other nefarious activities.

If your website is compromised, the bad press that may result from a hacking incident might damage your business’s credibility and reputation, leading to loss of income or worse. It cost a little time and money to do, but the cost of a security breach can be much greater.

Contact PrimeView for PHP 5 to 7 Migration

At PrimeView we are always concerned with the security and performance of the websites we develop or manage. If you are wondering what you have running on your website, we can check your PHP version to determine if you need to upgrade to the PHP latest version. Then we can implement an upgrade making sure your website works perfectly. Contact us today by calling 480-800-4668 or filling out the contact form on this page.