WordPress to PHP 7
WordPress to PHP 7

The Significance of PHP 7 for WordPress Users: 4 Compelling Reasons to Upgrade

Introduction

In the dynamic world of WordPress, staying informed about the latest developments is crucial. One such development that has been generating quite a buzz in the WordPress community is PHP 7. For those who aren’t tech-savvy, grasping the essence of PHP 7 and its relevance to WordPress might seem challenging. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll introduce you to PHP 7 and delve into the key updates it brings to the table. Furthermore, we’ll provide you with four compelling reasons why upgrading to PHP 7 is a smart move, one that you shouldn’t postpone.

Understanding PHP 7 and Its Importance for WordPress Users

PHP, for the uninitiated, is a coding language integral to WordPress and many other applications. It plays a crucial role in creating dynamic content, handling data, managing cookies, and much more on your website. PHP 7 represents a significant milestone in the evolution of this widely-used open-source language. Just as updating your WordPress installation grants access to new features, upgrading your server to PHP 7 can significantly enhance your website’s performance. Some noteworthy enhancements that come bundled with PHP 7 include:

1. Speed Boost: The primary advantage for general WordPress users. Faster loading times for your site’s visitors and improved backend speed.

2. Type Declarations: PHP 7 introduces type declarations, which help define expected outcomes in code, enhancing code readability.

3. Improved Error Handling: PHP 7 handles fatal errors more gracefully by throwing exceptions instead of resulting in a blank screen.

4. New Operators: PHP 7 introduces new operators like the Combined Comparison (Spaceship) Operator and the Null Coalesce Operator, enhancing coding possibilities.

Additionally, PHP 7 offers several other benefits that may pique the interest of developers and advanced users. Notably, it requires fewer servers to run, reducing your website’s energy consumption and carbon footprint.

Why You Should Upgrade to PHP 7 Sooner Rather Than Later

While the responsibility of upgrading often rests with hosting providers, developers and website owners should be proactive about this important move. Here are four key reasons why upgrading to PHP 7 should be a priority:

1. Stay Ahead of WordPress PHP Requirements

The WordPress community has been abuzz with discussions about PHP 7, and for a good reason. WordPress has announced an upcoming increase in its minimum required PHP version, addressing a longstanding issue. Many users have been reluctant to upgrade PHP, leading to outdated versions causing performance, support, and security issues. With the release of WordPress 5.2, the minimum required PHP version was raised from 5.2 to 5.6. This led to a significant uptick in users upgrading, creating a healthier WordPress ecosystem. To further improve the user experience and site quality, WordPress will raise the minimum required PHP version again. Upgrading to PHP 7 now ensures you won’t have to worry about it in the future. Sticking with an outdated PHP version will hinder WordPress updates, so it’s wise to act now.

2. Harness the Power of PHP 7 Enhancements

We’ve discussed the performance improvements offered by PHP 7, particularly its speed boost, which benefits all WordPress users. Improved speed can lead to higher conversion rates and more effective SEO, giving you a competitive edge. Recent benchmarks have shown that PHP 7.0 is over twice as fast as PHP 5.6, and PHP 7.3 is nearly three times faster than the minimum version required by WordPress. Delaying your PHP upgrade means falling behind competitors who have already seized the performance benefits of PHP 7.

3. Prevent Compatibility Issues With Plugins and Themes

Compatibility issues are a common headache for WordPress users. When upgrading PHP, considering compatibility is paramount. Failing to do so may break your site. To mitigate this risk, you can use tools like the SG Optimizer plugin if hosted with SiteGround. However, dedicated compatibility tools are scarce or no longer maintained, necessitating direct contact with developers to assess compatibility. Upgrading to PHP 7 reduces the likelihood of future compatibility issues, benefitting both WordPress professionals and aspiring PHP developers. It also allows plugin and theme developers to focus on creating high-quality products instead of supporting outdated PHP versions.

4. Enhance Security and Ensure Ongoing Support

Adhering to WordPress security best practices involves keeping your installation, plugins, and themes up-to-date. Upgrading your PHP version extends the same security benefits. Older PHP versions are known to have vulnerabilities, and failing to update exposes your site to potential attacks. Moreover, support for PHP versions 5.6–7.0 has been discontinued, leaving users without assistance in case of problems. Upgrading to PHP 7.3 ensures access to the latest security patches and dedicated support, safeguarding your site’s integrity.

Conclusion

If you’re not a developer or an advanced WordPress user, PHP version upgrades might not have been on your radar. However, neglecting recommended PHP updates for your WordPress site could mean missing out on critical improvements. In summary, here are four compelling reasons to upgrade to PHP 7 without delay:

  1. Stay Ahead of WordPress PHP Requirements: Prepare for WordPress’ upcoming PHP version requirement.
  2. Harness the Power of PHP 7 Enhancements: Enjoy improved website speed and performance.
  3. Prevent Compatibility Issues: Ensure your plugins and themes remain compatible.
  4. Enhance Security and Ensure Support: Protect your site from vulnerabilities and secure ongoing support.

By acting proactively and upgrading to PHP 7, you not only enhance your website’s performance but also fortify its security and future-proof it in the ever-evolving WordPress landscape.

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