PHP is the best known server-side program for interpreting website scripts due to the ease of usage both veteran and newbie programmers can make use of it. A website irrespective of whether WordPress or HTML makes use of scripts that need to be interpreted to a language that can be understood by users on the websites.
The PHP code interprets scripts on the website to the beautiful web page users see when they open a website. Most WordPress websites are powered by PHP but most of these websites encounter one persistent problem which is that many websites, hosing providers, developers are picky about the version of PHP they support.
The latest PHP version PHP 7.3 provides so many advantages to WordPress websites and not just for the sake of running on the newest version. It offers additional benefits for your website itself. The first and the most important reason why you should upgrade to the latest version is that with time.
All other versions of PHP will become outdated and will not be supported by websites, hosting providers, and others. Apart from this reason, the latest version of PHP provides advantages such as speed and improved security for your website.
Dive Deeper: 8 Best PHP Frameworks for Web Projects
Why Should You Upgrade Your PHP?
It is necessary to upgrade your PHP for the following reasons:
Speed and Improved Performance
The latest PHP version processes request 3 times the older ones, and therefore, your website gets to operate at the best speed it can. Speed is essential for your website in two significant ways, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and for usability.
The new version of PHP has removed some old features and included some new and vital functions. It has given room for faster processing time, increased efficiency, and better functionality on your website.
No user likes to use a website that loads slowly, and this can, therefore, reduce how long visitors stay on the site leading to low conversion rates. Also, speed is a criterion for search engine selectivity, and a high ranked website will most likely get more traffic.
PHP has always offer ease of usage to users, which is why it has gained so much popularity and usage over the years but, due to the ease of entry. It has led to a lot of poorly written codes. A badly written code is the leading cause of poor performance and security issues on a website.
The new version of PHP has fixed the problem of poorly written code by setting new developers on the right path to writing better codes. To encourage better development, the latest version of PHP has removed poorly written and outdated functions that have been kept over the years due to compatibility reasons. These were replaced with new functions that adequately encourage steers, new developers, to write quality codes.
The first security benefit for the new version of PHP is that it is new, and hackers will have to take their time to study its functionality, unlike previous versions. There are many well-documented hacks due to the length of time it has been around. Also, new releases of the PHP come with security fixes noticed by developers to have been lacking in the previous version. Therefore, posing a better fort for threats.
The new version of the PHP makes it easier for new developers to write better codes with new feature and tools such as serialization and cryptographically secure random numbers, incorporated into the update, as a result of this, fixing security issues due to poorly written codes.
Support and Compatibility
The PHP is similar to an operating system of a laptop or a phone. Most new applications developed will run on the latest operating system, and the old operating system will go into extinction. That is why you see so many users complain online about specific applications or games not be compatible with their phones or computer, software often leverages on the additional features new updates provides to improve the performance and functionality of their software.
Developers will write the script based on the latest version of the PHP. This implies that if you run an old version of the PHP, it won’t decode this script leading to a malfunctioning website. To enjoy new features that come with new scripts, it is important to stay updated.
What Are The Features of The Latest Version of The PHP?
Developers can now write better error handling into codes. This will prevent an app from entirely breaking because of a single mistake in the code
The new version of the PHP supports the use of anonymous classes which have functioned just like the standard class. They can pass arguments through to constructors, implement interfaces, extend other classes, and execute similar traits like a regular class. Anonymous classes are utilized when simple, one-off objects are being created.
Type Hints and Declarations:
Type hints and declarations help developers to maintain consistency in data as it passes through the PHP script.
The Spaceship Operator:
The spaceship operator is an upgrade for the Boolean factors. It enables developers to make easy three-way comparisons between left-hand and right-hand operands rather than making use of Boolean factors.
This help secure websites better by allowing developers to whitelist classes that can be unserialized.
Cryptographically Secure Random Numbers:
This is a new function added to enable developers to generate cryptographically secure numbers and strings using a cross-platform.
How Do You Upgrade to The Latest PHP Version?
To upgrade your website, there are three significant ways to go about it:
Updating With cPanel
If you provide cPanel access to your website, you can upgrade to the latest PHP from there by following these simple steps:
- Log in to the cPanel
- Navigate to the software section and select the “Select PHP version.”
- Select the PHP version you want and choose “Set as current.”
- Refresh your website after the upgrade is done to ensure that the new version works okay
Upgrading on Your Server
For developers who administrate their own server, you can easily upgrade to the latest version of the PHP by following the guides outlined in php.net.
Know More: All Things to Know about Software Developers
Upgrading Through Your Web Host
For developers without access to cPanel or administrative access to their server. You can contact your web host to perform the upgrade for your website.
It is important to note that running a compatibility test before upgrading to the latest version of the PHP is hugely vital to avoid issues after the update.