Compelling Reasons to Update PHP Websites to the Latest Version
Whether you know it or not, there’s a good chance your website runs on PHP. The most popular content management system, WordPress, runs on PHP and around 30% of all websites run off WordPress.
If you’re scratching your head over the term PHP, it’s a programming language. Like most programming languages, it undergoes periodic updates to resolve problems or simplify common programming tasks. Currently, many websites run old versions of PHP.
Unfortunately, running those old versions can create some problems for you and your site. Keep reading and we’ll give you some compelling reasons to update PHP to the latest version.
After a programming language has been out in the world for a while, hackers find weak spots in the language they can exploit. You get periodic updates and patches during the normal lifecycle of a PHP version. These updates and patches help keep your site secure and help you provide better protection for customer data.
After the end of the lifecycle, security support ends. Programming language developers must focus security efforts on the newest version of the language.
That means that hackers can use any new weaknesses they find in those old versions of the language indefinitely. They know the programming language developers won’t fix the problem. They also know that many website owners don’t update their PHP as often as they should.
Updating gives you a more secure site because the old weaknesses get programmed out of the new version. You also benefit from the ongoing security support for the new version of the language.
One of the things that website design professionals must worry about is the loading speed of a site. Not only does it affect whether visitors abandon a site, but it’s also a factor in search engine ranking. Slow-loading sites generally take a big hit in the ranking.
Older versions of PHP don’t run as efficiently as the newest version. That inefficiency slows down your site load time. Updating your site to PHP’s latest version can boost your site speed substantially.
Plugin and Theme Compatibility
Major content management systems like WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal use plugins/modules and themes/templates for extending functionality and structuring site appearance. As a rule, developers made sure they offered backward compatibility with old versions of PHP.
As new versions of PHP roll out in the future, fewer and fewer developers will offer backward compatibility to 5.x versions of PHP. Instead, they’ll default to 7.x backward compatibility you’ll lose more and more functionality on your site.
Parting Thoughts on Reasons You Should Update PHP
You needn’t look far for compelling reasons you should update PHP.
Using the latest PHP version also improves your site security. The new version lacks old weaknesses and gets ongoing security support from the developers.
Odds are good that your site will see a boost in load speeds. You also avoid the problem of plugins and themes becoming incompatible with the version of PHP you run.
Here at Jonesen, we specialize in web design, SEO, and cybersecurity. If you’re ready to update or upgrade your site, contact us today.