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After Matt announced the proposal at WCUS, it got an enormous applause—far more applause than most of the news about Gutenberg.For the Word Press community, moving forward with the latest versions of PHP is welcome news.What it essentially comes down is that that web hosting companies don’t want to break their customers’ websites.Even though PHP 5.6 was released in 2014 and PHP 7.0 is about to reach end of life, web hosts have put off updating their servers to the latest versions of PHP (7.1 or 7.2) due to the potential to break plugins and themes.The Word Press Project hasn’t forced users onto the latest versions of PHP because… It’s a mix of everything I covered in the section above, and also having the responsibility of managing the world’s most popular content management system. At Word Camp US in December 2018, it was announced that PHP 5.6 will become the minimum supported version in the first half of 2019, and the minimum version will be bumped up again to PHP 7.0 in the second half of 2019—if all goes according to plan.These changes have been a long time coming, and we can thank Yoast for playing a big part in pushing users to upgrade.In many cases, it’s up to developers and web hosts to push these site owners into upgrading (for their own good! For developers with older plugins and themes, updating to the latest versions of PHP involves updating their code, together with extensive testing to ensure compatibility.After all, they don’t want to break their users’ sites.
There are many and varied reasons why websites continue to run on outdated and unsupported versions of PHP, but these are the most common factors.What if I said you could double your Word Press site’s page speed in just 10 minutes? Well, you can—all you need to do is upgrade to the latest version of PHP.And soon, you won’t have a choice anyway, since PHP 5.6 will become the minimum requirement for Word Press in April 2019, to be replaced by PHP 7.0 as early as December 2019.PHP is one of the most popular scripting languages on the web. But a big problem we’re facing in the Word Press community is that many sites, businesses, hosting providers, and developers aren’t supporting the latest versions of PHP.In fact, 70% of all websites that use server-side programming use PHP. It’s especially frustrating considering just how easy it is to upgrade.
More recently, in early December Word Press core contributor Gary Pendergast proposed updating the minimum PHP versions.