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Navigating PHP 7.4 End of Life: What It Means for Your Website

Navigating PHP 7.4 End of Life: What It Means for Your Website

On November 28, 2022, PHP 7.4, the community-supported version, reached End of Life (EOL), which means it no longer receives bug fixes, security patches, or critical security updates from the PHP development team. This development poses a challenge for website owners, particularly those running WordPress sites, as full compatibility with newer PHP versions (8.0+) is still a work in progress for WordPress, themes and plugins. 

But what does that mean for your current website, and how can Recruiters Websites help ensure your website remains live for your digital audience? 

Extended Support for WP Engine and Flywheel Customers 

As PHP 7.4 reaches its end of life, WP Engine recognizes the challenges that website owners face in upgrading to newer PHP versions. To support its customers during this transition period, WP Engine has invested in ongoing security support for PHP 7.4, allowing customers to continue using this version safely into 2024. 

This extended support is crucial for ensuring that websites remain secure and protected from vulnerabilities. With cyber threats constantly evolving, maintaining an up-to-date PHP version is essential for safeguarding against potential security breaches. By offering extended support for PHP 7.4, WP Engine is providing customers with the peace of mind that their websites will remain secure while they work towards upgrading. 

Additionally, WP Engine's extended support gives WordPress, plugin and theme developers the necessary time to address any compatibility issues with newer PHP versions. This is particularly important as full compatibility with newer PHP versions is still a work-in-progress for many WordPress themes and plugins. By allowing developers more time to ensure compatibility, WP Engine is helping to minimize disruptions for website owners during the upgrade process. 

Automatic PHP Upgrades 

As always, WP Engine is committed to maintaining the highest security standards for its customers' websites. As part of this commitment, WP Engine automatically upgrades websites to a more current PHP version once a version reaches its end of life. This proactive approach ensures websites remain secure and protected from vulnerabilities associated with outdated PHP versions. 

The automatic PHP upgrade process is seamless and does not require any technical knowledge from website owners. WP Engine handles the entire upgrade process, including testing and implementation, to ensure a smooth transition to the new PHP version. This eliminates the need for website owners to manually upgrade their PHP version, saving them time and effort. 

WP Engine also provides several notifications to technical contacts before the upgrade to keep them informed and prepared for the change. These notifications include information about the upcoming upgrade, its benefits, and any actions that may be required on the part of the website owner. By keeping technical contacts informed, WP Engine helps ensure that the upgrade process is as smooth and hassle-free as possible. 

Why Upgrade PHP? 

As we’ve mentioned above, upgrading PHP is essential for maintaining the performance and security of your website. PHP is a fundamental component of the web development stack, powering dynamic content and interactions on millions of websites worldwide. Upgrading PHP offers several key benefits that contribute to the overall health and functionality of your site. 

  • Improved Performance: One of the primary reasons to upgrade PHP is the significant performance improvements that come with each new version. For example, upgrading from PHP 5.6 to 7.2 can result in speed improvements of up to 40 percent. Subsequent versions, such as PHP 7.3 and 7.4, also offer performance gains, making your site faster and more responsive. 
  • Enhanced Security: Security is a top priority for any website owner. PHP upgrades often include security enhancements that protect your site from vulnerabilities and exploits. Running an outdated version of PHP can leave your site vulnerable to attacks, so upgrading to the latest version is crucial for maintaining a secure web environment. 
  • Compatibility: Upgrading PHP ensures your website remains compatible with the latest technologies and standards. Many third-party plugins, themes and frameworks require a minimum version of PHP to function correctly. 
  • Futureproofing: Keeping your PHP version up to date helps to future-proof your website. As new features and technologies are introduced, they often rely on the latest PHP versions for compatibility. 

Think of it in terms of gaming consoles. When a new PlayStation console comes out, you can use games from the previous versions on the new console. However, when a new Xbox comes out, you aren’t able to use your existing games from an older version of Xbox; you have to purchase new ones. With this transition (the PHP upgrade), all your PlayStation games are obsolete after 12/31/2024, so make sure you’re purchased new ones (or updated your website) so you start 2025 with a functioning gaming console (or website). 

How Long Do You Have to Upgrade? 

WP Engine requires websites to be on PHP 8.2 by 12/31/2024. While the upgrade process typically requires approximately four hours of work by the WP Engine team, the overall timeline for completion depends on the chosen option and the company's backlog at the time of the project submission. 

 

Upgrading PHP is crucial for maintaining website security and performance. While the end of life of PHP 7.4 presents challenges, WP Engine's extended support ensures that customers can continue using PHP 7.4 securely while also providing ample time for transitioning to newer PHP versions. 

Contact your current hosting provider today to learn more about upgrading your PHP version and ensuring your website remains secure and optimized for performance. If you need assistance with this transition, contact Recruiters Websites to see how we can help your website continue to thrive. 

Samantha Prost

Sam Prost is a digital content writer with almost 10 years of experience who uses her upbeat and creative energy to write fresh, fun and custom content for our clients.

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