Are you thinking about migrating to PHP 7? If the answer is yes, then you are moving in the right direction. Most developers have not migrated to PHP 7 yet, due to fearing issues like compatibility, migration challenges, and a time-consuming migration process. This is due to lack of understanding of the true potential of PHP 7.
Why Migrating to PHP 7 is a Must
After eleven years of launching PHP 5.0, another major version was released in 2015. PHP 7 was launched to overcome the performance issues in PHP 5.0. In fact, PHP 7 offers a 100 percent improvement in performance speed over PHP 5 variants. This version allows web developers to create sites that provide interesting and engaging interactive features that still respond to user input as quickly as modern web users have come to expect.
Because of major internal changes in phpng (PHP next generation), it must receive a new major version number of PHP rather than a minor PHP 5 release, according to PHP's release process. The major version of PHP is allowed to break backward-compatibility of code and therefore PHP presented an opportunity for other improvements beyond phpng that required a backward-compatibility break. It involved the following changes:
1. Improved Performance
Forty percent of users leave a web page if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. PHP 7 offers a hundred percent improvement in performance and speed over its previous PHP 5.x versions. Compared to PHP 5.x, PHP 7 has reduced number of requests on its servers making it more cost-effective choice as it requires less energy to power servers running PHP 7 applications.
PHP 7.0 (and 7.2) offered huge performance gains! PHP 7 at almost half of the latency, allows the system to execute twice as many requests per second in comparison with the PHP 5.6. The benchmark demonstrates significant performance improvements with PHP 7 over its previous iterations.
According to WordPress benchmark with PHP5.6 vs PHP 7 vs HHVM, it is observed that PHP 7.2 could execute almost two times as many transactions (requests) per second as compared to PHP 5.6.
2. Better Support
Support is another aspect that encourages developers to upgrade. In most cases, the developed plugins, applications, and themes can only support older versions. and developers do not have enough time to run compatibility tests. Because of this things will eventually break when you run on old versions.
As with any piece of software, PHP has a release life cycle one must adhere to push things forward and make improvements. Each major release of PHP is typically fully supported for two years after its release. During that time, bugs and security issues are fixed and patched on a regular basis.
As of now, support for PHP 5.6 has been extended, but it is not actively supported and within a few months security support will be closed.
3. Robust Security
According to WordPress, around 32% of WordPress users are still on PHP 5.5. Not leveraging the advantage of the additional performance enhancements with PHP 7 is resulting in security vulnerabilities for businesses.
The 2016 CVE research report, reveals that 2016 was a record year for PHP security vulnerabilities, with over 100 issues reported. These included DoS, code execution, overflow, memory corruption, XSS, directory traversal, bypass, and gain information types.
This is a major reason to migrate from older versions to the new version. According to the PHP team, all kinds of support for PHP 5.x versions will be closed end of this year including security. The problem with having older versions of a technology is it may give room for new risks, as security patches are not available or up-to-date. PHP like any other large system is under constant scrutiny and improvement. To avoid cybercriminals leveraging these security loopholes PHP 7 comes with robust security measures with enhanced features to fix any flaws, avoid configuration mishaps, and other issues that will affect the overall security and stability of your system.
PHP 7 is the last stable version of the language. Although upgrading your code from PHP 5.6 to PHP 7 involves carefully checking for incompatibilities, both in your code and in any libraries on which your code depends on, the benefits of upgrading to PHP 7 make these efforts worthwhile.
About the Author
Pramod Jaiswal works with V-Soft Consulting as a Technical Architect. He has more than 12 years of experiences in Open Source technology. He has a very good amount of skills in web & mobile application designing, development, database designing. Apart from these, he also holds deep knowledge in developing IOT (Internet of Things) and chatbot applications.