Now that PHP version 7 has been available for a while and many web hosting companies are now supporting it, the question you may be asking is, should I now upgrade to PHP 7? While WordPress and Joomla are now recommending PHP 7, and there are many benefits to this latest version of PHP, here are some considerations to keep in mind before making the switch.
Benefits of PHP 7
One of the main benefits of PHP 7 is the increased speed for your website. The general guideline is that PHP 7 handles un-cached hits 2 to 3 times faster than PHP 5. While my own results after upgrading haven’t been that dramatic, there definitely is an improvement in speed.
Because of memory consumption improvements, PHP 7 provides increased efficiency in resources. More traffic and requests per second can be handled by PHP 7 which allows for more concurrent users.
For developers, the object-oriented exceptions make error handling and debugging easier.
Considerations before Upgrading to PHP 7
Is Your Website Ready for PHP 7?
Just because your web host and your CMS support PHP 7, that doesn’t mean that your website is completely compatible. For example in the case of WordPress, you may have some plugins and themes that are not yet PHP 7 compatible. You definitely need to exercise some caution here. The two most vital points to keep in mind are to have a backup of your website and test your site for compatibility beforehand.
WordPress Users: Here’s How to Test your Website for PHP 7 Compatibility
WP Engine has a great plugin you can use to find out if there are PHP 7 compatibility issues with your plugins or themes. There is no cost to use the plugin and you don’t have to be a WP Engine customer to use it.
Web Hosts Supporting PHP 7
WP Engine, specializing in Managed WordPress Hosting, is now supporting PHP 7.
For a more extensive list, see our post on Web Hosting PHP Support.