PHP versions 5.6 and 7.0 both reach end of life in December 2018, which brings to a close all security updates on both versions. This is a fairly major step as PHP 5.6 was released back in August 2014 and PHP 7.0 in December 2015.
The lack of security updates mean that the PHP development team will no longer issue patches for any security issues that crop up. The last security update was as recent as the 13th September 2018. Typically, any security vulnerability comes from the application running on PHP, rather than the version of PHP itself.
However, for best practice and performance, Nimbus Hosting recommend upgrading to the most recent version of PHP regardless. Upgrading to PHP 7.2, from PHP 5.6, can lead to a page load improvement of up to 50% according to GBKSOFT.
WordPress has supported PHP 7.2 since WordPress 4.9.5 was released in April 2018, although this doesn’t necessarily mean that any third-party plugins and custom code will work with this version of PHP. For most agencies with a significant amount of sites, upgrading to PHP 7.2, could take a significant amount of time.
How Can STORM Help?
When you setup a new site on STORM it always defaults to the latest version of PHP, although we will continue to allow PHP 5.6, 7.0 and 7.1 for at least another year. For best practice, we recommend that any new website is configured with PHP 7.2 from day one and any website being updated in the coming months migrate to PHP 7.2 as part of the update process.
If you have an existing WordPress site on STORM, we’ve made it very easy to test the site on the newest addition of PHP. We recommend using the staging function within STORM and then change the PHP version. You’ll then be able to view and test an identical version of the website using the staging address. Once you are happy the website is working, you can change the PHP version in the live site.
We are offering a 14-day free trial of STORM, with full access to explore how STORM can help transform your business, your workflow and how you manage your clients hosting needs, and websites.