WordPress has made the announcement that they will be dropping support for PHP 5 with the release of their 6.3 version expected to be released in August. Currently in WordPress 6.2, PHP 5.6 is the minimum requirement, but once WordPress 6.3 is released, it will require PHP 7.0 at minimum with PHP 7.4 or higher being recommended for use. They haven’t adjusted the minimum supported version since 2019. While the current stable version of PHP is actually 8.2, right now WordPress support for those versions is still a beta feature. You can still remain on PHP 5.6, but you won’t be able to upgrade beyond WordPress 6.2. You will still receive security updates, but bumping to the minimum 7.0 can significantly reduce the memory usage for upgraded websites, and will have better security and improvements to core tooling. What happens if you deploy a website that’s running an unsupported version of PHP? Keep reading to find out!
If you deploy a WordPress-based website or web application and the PHP version is not supported, you can risk potentially devastating consequences to your website, application, or business because you will have an unpatched version. Although WordPress will typically update the supported PHP version with their releases, they do occasionally lag behind the community support lifecycle for PHP. A prime example of this is PHP 7.4 being the recommended version for web developers to use, it reached its community end of line in November 2022, meaning this version no longer receives security patches, bug fixes, or other updates from the community, but PHP 8 and newer isn’t fully supported in WordPress yet. PHP is an open-source, free server-side scripting language used in web development, and is the language behind all WordPress plugins and themes. This makes your website dynamic and tells your site what to do as users navigate your website.
Does the above paragraph have you scratching your head? Web development can be very confusing, and knowing the update cadence and what you need to do on your site is extremely important. WordPress has two different types of releases they do, major releases, and minor. The major releases, i.e. 6.2, will typically have new features, deprecations, and other large features, while the minor versions, i.e. 6.2.1, will have updates associated with bug fixes, security updates, and other smaller maintenance issues. Sometimes you will need to adapt other changes to themes, and plugins with those updates, and sometimes you won’t. But how do you know when you need to take action on the backend of your website? Well, the easiest way is to leave it to the professionals. Our team is fully staffed with web developers and designers that stay up to date on the latest patches and releases to ensure our websites are secure and running properly. Having out-of-date plugins, and versions of WordPress can pose a security risk for your website and users, as well as make your website sluggish and run a lot slower than what your users will want.
If you need a new website, have no idea what version of WordPress or PHP your site is currently running, or just want to put your website into the hands of a company that can host your website and takes care of the maintenance for you so you don’t have to worry about the latest versions of anything, reach out Hexcode Marketing today! We’d love to keep your website performing at its full potential.