PHP Changes Coming Soon to a Website Near You

Many websites today run a programming language known as PHP (Hypertext Preprocessor) and many different platforms, such as WordPress, use this language to make websites work the way that they do. However, just like most software there comes a time that support for a particular version must come to an end.

What is Changing and Why Should I be Concerned?

We are about to see the most versions of PHP reach their End of Life (EOL) within the same time-frame than we ever have before, and chances are high that you will be directly affected by this if you own or use a WordPress website.

As of the time of this publication, roughly 79% of the websites on the web will be running PHP v5.6. As of December 31, 2018 this version will reach its EOL and will no longer receive any further security support updates. This means if new security issues are found they won’t be fixed and that leaves websites running PHP v5.6 vulnerable to attack.

According to PHP.net (http://php.net/supported-versions.php) you can see when support ends for your version of PHP. In summary:

  •     5.6 stopped getting active support on Jan 19, 2017 and won’t receive security updates after Dec, 31 2018
  •     7.0 support ended Dec, 3 2017 and won’t receive security updates after Dec, 3 2018
  •     7.1 support ends Dec 1, 2018 and will stop receiving security updates on Dec 1, 2019
  •     7.2 (the most recent version) support is set to end on Nov, 30 2019 with security updates ending Nov, 30 2020
End Of Life table from PHP.net
http://php.net/supported-versions.php

If possible, you should upgrade to PHP v7.2 as soon as you can to make sure your website remains secure and stays that way for as long as possible. There are also website performance advantages to upgrading to the latest version of PHP as well. However, don’t just reach out to your hosting provider and ask for the upgrade without first making sure that your website is fully compatible. There are still some plugins and themes out there that are not compatible with the latest version of PHP, and in these cases, you may need to reach out to your theme or plugin creator so an update for compatibility may be made available.

If your hosting is with WP Engine, please take special note as many clients on the WP Engine hosting platform is scheduled to be upgraded to PHP v7.2 on December 4, 2018 with a 48 hour window to completion. This upgrade will change your hosting IP address and will be performed whether your WordPress website is ready or not. This could meaning that some of your themes or plugins may become disabled during the upgrade process if they are not compatible with this latest version of PHP.

How Maintainn Can Help

Whether you are unsure of which version of PHP you are using or just don’t have the time to focus on yet another software change, not to worry as the team here at Maintainn is ready to help. Through our Support Hours Program, we estimate needing up to 2 hours of time to perform a high-level audit of your website, check for compatibility with the latest version of PHP and provide a summary of findings and recommendations. We will also provide estimates for any additional development or support work that is required to ensure compatibility.

If you would like our help or have any questions, please feel free to reach out through our Contact page and we will return a response as soon as possible. For existing Enterprise Support or Support Hours clients, you can also enter a new task under the New Requests to do list within your private workspace, and our project manager will review and respond to you accordingly.

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