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4 Reasons to Upgrade Your PHP Version

Reasons to Upgrade PHP Version

PHP 7.3 is dead! And the latest PHP version supported by CS-Cart is 7.4. Let’s see what may be the threats when you refuse refreshing your server scripting language.

The actual state of PHP

PHP (abbreviated from Hypertext Preprocessor) is one of the most popular server-side scripting and programming languages. The language is open source and mostly applied for web development. According to W3Techs, PHP is employed by 79% of all websites. 

Stats for server-side languages usage
Stats for Usage of Server-Side Languages (Source)

However, one problem remains with the PHP usage. 38.9% of websites are still on PHP 5.6 and lower. The same refers to CS-Cart-based websites. Most of them are still using obsolete versions and unsupported installations.

In our opinion, the reasons for the failure to update the PHP version with CS-Cart users can be the following:

  • Lack of education about PHP with the CS-Cart community and its role for the platform safety and security.
  • Compatibility concerns with add-ons and themes that run on newer PHP versions.
  • Hosting providers’ fear to push out new PHP versions in order not to cause issues with their customers.

Our hosting team follows the same end-of-life (EOL) schedule as PHP. It helps keep all the CS-Cart sites hosted with us to stay fast and secure as much as possible amid the platform limitations.

Why updating your PHP version is important

The PHP version gets obsolete every year. The latest version is PHP 8.1.1 and the last supported version is 7.4. The greater the version is, the less vulnerable it is in front of malicious users and codes. To be up-to-date with your PHP version when using CS-Cart platform, you need to upgrade it to 7.4. You can check the version compatibility here.

PHP Supported Versions
PHP Supported Versions (Source)

Reasons to upgrade PHP versions

You should upgrade your PHP to the supported version to keep up with the trends and employ the latest technology. Below are other reasons why upgrading is your choice.

1. Security

The key reason to upgrade PHP is to ensure that you run your eCommerce project on a version that is fully supported and regularly updated for security threats. The threats can be any: DoS, code execution, overflow, memory corruption, XSS, directory traversal, information traversal, and retrieval. Every year, numerous vulnerabilities inherent to older PHP versions become exposed. Some of them will never be fixed. 

PHP security threats by year
PHP Security Threats by Year (Source)

2. Performance

With the release of PHP 8, there is a huge performance gain! PHP 7.4 also allows the system to perform three times more requests per second as compared to PHP 5.6.

Comparison of PHP versions
Comparison of PHP Versions (Source)

3. Support

Support is one more important reason you need to apply the latest supported version of PHP. It’s all about compatibility. Things get worse breaking your site when you run older versions. This is the main concern for developers of web projects.

Supported PHP versions means that these protocols are regularly monitored and improved. Each of them includes major and minor updates to leverage security and remove any flaws, configuration failures, or other problems. It is a good practice to update and maintain awareness of the latest versions and their changes.

4. Greater opportunities for developers

PHP 7.4 is the last version before PHP 8 and the latest stable version of PHP.  It was released on November 28, 2019 and brings a big deal of new features, syntax additions and fixes. Here are just few highlights, included in PHP 7.4:

  • Improved type variance
  • Preloading to improve performance
  • FFI for better extension development in PHP
  • Arrow functions for cleaner one-liner functions
  • Typed properties in classes
  • The null coalescing assignment operator as a shorthand
  • Underscores can be used to format numeric values
  • Spread operator in arrays

Unfortunately, many developers get stuck in supporting a wide range of versions exposing their projects to instability, lack of safety, and gaps in website performance. 

Closing

We always encourage CS-Cart users to take advantage of the latest supported PHP versions. Not only for the reason they are the most secure. Newer version can offer performance improvements. And if you want to not to worry about compatibility issues and the stack compliancy, you can rely on our hosting team that will release you from the burden of keeping the fingers on the PHP pulse. Customers of our hosting solution get recommendations from our experts helping them to remain fast, safe and up-to-date 24/7 365 days a year.

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