With the majority of websites running on PHP 5.6, when its End of Life (EOL) occurred at the end of 2018 the internet was changed forever. The migration of websites from PHP 5.6 to 7.2 has become a necessity, as the unsupported version is more susceptible to hacking and security breaches.
Below we will dive into the history of PHP as well as the benefits and obstacles of PHP 7.2 migration.
An Introduction to PHP
Created in 1994 by Rasmus Lerdorf, PHP gained popularity very quickly as it was easy to use. The language has now become the best Open Source Server-Side Scripting Language for the web. PHP is the most commonly used programming language for CMS websites including Joomla, WordPress, and Drupal, and is utilized by almost 80% of websites around the world.
The PHP language experienced multiple revisions to improve usability and accelerate bug reporting. Each version receives security support and bug fixes for a term of two years, and one year extended support for security fixes.
Out of all the versions of the language, PHP 5 is the most commonly used for the web. Because of its popularity, PHP 5.6 was in extended support for two years, but now all websites still currently using this version are prone to security breaches.
Why is PHP 5.6 Migration to 7.2 a Necessity?
The critical support phase of PHP 5.6 ended in December 2018 and it is now crucial for all website owners to migrate to the new version. Major reasons to ensure that your website is migrated from PHP 5.6 to PHP 7.2 include:
1. PHP 5 is no longer supported
End of Life (EOL) means the natural end of the software development and support for a scripting language. Whenever a newer version of PHP is released the old version is fazed out. Security patches are provided for a short period of time to allow everyone a chance to upgrade their website. The same applies now that PHP 5.6 has reached EOL.
Any website still using this version can more easily be hacked because this version is no longer supported. To ensure the maximum security of a website it is necessary to migrate the website to the latest version of PHP.
2. Innovative features
The latest version of PHP has many great new features to keep your website up to date. These new features of PHP 7 include Scalar type hint, Return type declaration, Null coalescing operator, Easy user-land CSPRNG and many more.
PHP 7 is faster and very resource-efficient. It’s significantly faster than PHP 5.6 when used with Drupal and WordPress.
4. Improved efficiency
PHP 7.2 has many improvements for code processing and has reduced the number of commands per task up to 75%.
5. Less memory usage
The improved efficiency of PHP 7.2 results in less memory usage.
6. Highly secured
Compared to PHP 5, PHP 7 is considerably more secure. PHP 7 has introduced new security features such as stronger hashing and encrypting. These features help in the storage of sensitive data and better functionality.
7. Cost reduction
Upgrading to PHP 7.2 helps to reduce business costs as it avoids software incapability and compliance issues.
8. Strict development standards for programmers
Earlier versions of PHP had many flaws in its code which resulted in slower website performance. As a measure to fix this issue, PHP 7 has higher coding standards. These new standards provide higher quality codes for better performing websites, right from the start.
The PHP version your website is working on directly affects its performance, speed and security. Running your website on an older version of PHP poses risks in these areas. It is best to use the latest version of PHP to ensure the best output from your website.
Issues Faced During PHP 5.6 Migration to PHP 7.2
One of the major issues that is faced while migrating a platform from PHP 5.6 to PHP 7.2 is compatibility with themes and plug-ins. The cause of this issue can be due to multiple reasons such as the use of customized code, customized integration, outdated embedded modules/plugins, or outdated software. To overcome these issues you should look to a trustworthy web development company that offers migration and hosting services.
Migration and Maintenance Support
When updating your site to the latest version of PHP it is important that your site is migrated and supported properly. Make sure the agency you decide to partner with offers hosting services for the latest PHP 7 version and will ensure that all the theme and plug-in compatibility issues are addressed so that your website does not experience any downtime or errors.