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Upcoming PHP 7.1 Upgrade

Tuesday, October 24th, 2017 - General

Is your website ready for PHP 7.1?

We are finalizing plans to switch all of our servers over to PHP 7.1 by default beginning December 1, 2017. What does this mean for you?

If your scripts are up-to-date and are being kept up-to-date, then you should not be affected by this. In fact, you will likely see a performance boost because PHP 7.1 is showing to be much faster than PHP 5.6. If you are not keeping your scripts, plugins, components, and themes up to date, then now would be a good time to be doing that.

Why are you doing this?

Currently our servers are using PHP 5.6 by default. PHP 5.6 is expected to reach end of life on December 31, 2018. While that date is still over a year away, we just want to be sure that we are ready for this deadline.

Switching to PHP 7.1 by default will better insure that our accounts are ready once PHP 5.6 support officially ends.

What does by default mean?

Unlike a lot of software on the server, with PHP we are able to run concurrent versions. We are able to have multiple versions of PHP available for your account to use. Currently we support PHP 5.6, PHP 7.0, and PHP 7.1 – meaning that your account can be using any of these PHP versions.

The term by default simply means that this is the version of PHP your account is using if you have not made any prior PHP version changes. Currently our default version is PHP 5.6. This means that unless you have told us or otherwise made changes to the PHP version on your account, then you are using PHP 5.6 on your account. When we change the default version to PHP 7.1, everybody that was using PHP 5.6 will switch to using PHP 7.1.

Can I continue to use PHP 5.6?

Absolutely! We are not killing support for PHP 5.6, we are merely changing the version of PHP that is assigned by default. All that being said, however, please understand that support for PHP 5.6 will be ending sometime in 2018 – before December 31, 2018. If you are depending on PHP 5.6 for your script, then you need to be making arrangements to upgrade that script or fixing the script to work with PHP 7.1 and later. The people that develop the PHP language will stop supporting PHP 5.6 on December 31, 2018. We cannot provide software that is no longer being supported by its developers on our servers. So you will need to be making arrangements to fix the script before this deadline.

When will you remove PHP 5.6 completely?

That date hasn’t been determined yet. It will be before December 31, 2018, but just when has not been determined. We will probably review our servers during the summer 2018 and see if PHP 5.6 is still being used, if it’s not being used it may be phased out at that time.

Why are you skipping PHP 7.0?

The developers of PHP voted in early 2016 to extend support for PHP 5.6. As a result of this, the lifetime of PHP 5.6 is actually longer than PHP 7.0. For this reason we decided to skip over PHP 7.0 as a default version. PHP 7.0 is still available for you to use if you specifically need it. However, we have found that most updated and actively developed scripts will work just fine with PHP 7.1, essentially making PHP 7.0 a skippable version. Our support for PHP 7.0 will follow our support of PHP 5.6 – we will review it’s usage during the summer 2018 and may phase it out at that time.

What happened to PHP 6.0?

The PHP developers also voted to skip version 6.0 in PHP. When PHP 5.0 was being developed some extensions were proposed to extend PHP, while this was being developed it was often referred to as PHP 6. However those extensions were later adopted into the core PHP 5 code. The general public probably didn’t know much about this developmental PHP 6 code, but there were books released concerning these extensions. The PHP development council voted to call PHP 5’s successor PHP 7 in order to avoid any confusion with the unreleased PHP 6 code base. Essentially PHP 5.6 is the last release of PHP 5 and it’s direct successor was PHP 7.0.

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