Each new release branch of PHP is fully supported for two years from its initial stable release. During this period, bugs and security issues that have been reported are fixed and are released in regular point releases from time to time.

After this two year period of active support, each branch is then supported for an additional year for critical security issues only. Releases during this period are made on an as-needed basis: there may be multiple point releases, or none, depending on the number of reports.

Once the three years of support are completed, the branch reaches its end of life and is no longer supported.

PHP End of Life

Active support A release that is being actively supported. Reported bugs and security issues are fixed and regular point releases are made.
Security fixes only A release that is supported for critical security issues only. Releases are only made on an as-needed basis.
End of life A release that is no longer supported. Users of this release should upgrade as soon as possible, as they may be exposed to unpatched security vulnerabilities.

What does this mean for me?

PHP is one of the most popular scripting languages on the web today with over 78% of all the websites that use a server-side programming language. This means for almost every 8 out of 10 websites you visit, they are most likely utilising PHP in some form or another.

Of course, it plays a vital role to the WordPress ecosystem, as the entire CMS is built on PHP. What this means is that you will need to update your PHP version in conjunction with your website to ensure your does not break. 

Why do I need to update?


One of the most important reasons to update PHP is to ensure you are running on a version that is fully supported and patched regularly for security vulnerabilities. PHP 5.4 has not been patched since 2015. PHP version 7.4 has just reached 'End of Life' & version 8.2 has just been released.

Over recent years (2016), as many as 100 vulnerabilities have been reported in older versions of PHP with the average approx 30-40 per year. 

PHP vulnerabilities


With the release of  PHP 7.2,up came huge performance gains! So big in fact, that it should be your main priority over  small optimisations you might be considering on your WordPress site. 

What do I do now?

If you are technically minded you can do it yourself. The beauty is that you can roll it back should you break your site. If it does break, then you will need to call VMA and we can fix it for you or if you prefer, we can do the whole update for you including fixing it if it does break. Mind you, if your site is very old and you have not updated the site or PHP version in a while, it may be time to consider updating your website to the latest version which also has some significant benefits like:

  1. Speed enhancements
  2. Security enhancements &
  3. A fresh, modern site to impress your customers.

Contact Visual Marketing for a quick quote.

Friday, December 9, 2022

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