PHP 5.6 and 7.0 will reach the end of life on December 31, 2018, and will not be supported for critical security issues. We recommend switching to supported versions of PHP, and in this article, you will learn why.
PHP in brief
PHP is best known as a server-side scripting language for the Internet. Due to its ease of use, it has become a language with a low entry barrier, allowing both experienced and newbie programmers to use it. As a result, it is now used for over 80% of web pages.
As a software, PHP has a release life cycle. Each major PHP release is usually fully supported for two years after its release. During this time, bugs and security issues are being fixed on a regular basis.
At the moment, anyone working on a PHP version lower than 5.6 no longer has security support and is vulnerable to security vulnerabilities.
PHP versions affect many things: from security to speed, down to the basic functionality of our web pages. The reason why you can’t continue using the same PHP version forever is similar to the reason why you can’t drive one car forever. Time “eats” it and it’s getting old.
Reasons why you should upgrade PHP versions
To catch up with time and technologies, you need to upgrade PHP to the supported version. Below are several reasons why you should think about upgrading.
One of the most important reasons for updating PHP is to ensure that you work on a version that is fully supported and regularly updated for security vulnerabilities. PHP 5.4 has not been fixed since 2015. And PHP 5.5 has not been fixed since 2016. The threats can be different: DoS, code execution, overflow, memory corruption, XSS, directory traversal, information traversal, and retrieval. Numerous old versions vulnerabilities become exposed every year and some of them will never be fixed.
Supported versions of PHP are constantly monitored and improved. Each of them often includes both major and minor changes to improve security and eliminate any flaws, configuration failures, and other problems. It is a positive approach to update and maintain awareness of the latest versions and their changes.
With the release of PHP 7.0 (and 7.2), there is a huge performance gain! PHP 7 allows the system to perform twice as many requests per second as compared to PHP 5.6 by almost half the delay.
PHP tests from Rasmus Lerdorf, PHP Fluent Talk
Support is another reason you want to use the latest and supported versions of PHP. This is due to its compatibility. Things end up breaking when you run older versions. That is a main concern of the developers for the web projects.
4. New opportunities for developers
If you didn’t upgrade PHP for a while, you’ve missed so many new features between PHP 5.6 and PHP 7.1. A few changes with PHP 7 and 7.1 include:
- Combined comparison operator
- Null coalesce operator
- New type of hinting
- Anonymous classes
- Invalid types
- Iterable and invalid returns
- Handling multiple trap exceptions
- Keys used in lists
- More negative line shifts
- Numeric operators and invalid numbers
- Load on HTTP / 2 server
Unfortunately, many developers are stuck in supporting a wide range of versions.
PHP 7 comes with many improvements over its predecessors that will benefit your eCommerce site. Despite this, it is becoming an industry requirement for the launch of a safe and fast online store, so it is important to make the switch sooner than later.
AWS Cloud hosting users do not have to be aware of their version of PHP, because we regularly update it.