. . . And what does that even mean?

Dinosaurs are fun for museums and movies, but certainly not for websites. If online technology and coding capabilities didn’t continually evolve, the internet as we know it would look very different, run much slower, and have significantly less functionality. For a quick trip down memory lane, check out what some of today’s most impactful websites use to look like!

Did you hear that dial tone kick in? (maybe we are dating ourselves with that one.) Yes, websites have come a long way in a short time, which is why it is very important to keep up with technological advancements to avoid quickly becoming outdated.

What is PHP?

PHP is the world’s most widely used scripting language. Nearly eight out of every ten websites uses it*, and if your site is built on WordPress, you are definitely using it. As with all technology it’s important to stay up to date, since older versions become obsolete and vulnerable. Kind of like trying to use a combination lock on your front door—better technology exists, and using outdated technology puts you and your property at risk.

The organization responsible for maintaining PHP announced the end of life for versions 5.6 and 7.0 effective December 31, 2018, and therefore no longer offer critical security support for these versions.  Unfortunately, over 50% of all WordPress users are still on 5.6 or lower and you might just be one of them.


Reasons You Should Update PHP

Two words; Security and Performance.

PHP Security Update

Running a supported system ensures that any security issues are being addressed with updates and general maintenance. Security problems could include memory corruption, code execution, DoS, overflow, information breaches, and a lot of other technical concerns with fancy names and relevant consequences. This lack of critical security could ultimately result in hacks, downtime and expensive rebuilds.

Website Performance

Newer PHP versions have been shown to execute twice as many tasks per second. That is a lot of tasks, especially for interactive websites or those with a lot of traffic. Now that older systems are no longer supported, their performance will continue to decline comparatively.

Breaking Your Website

Without support, components of a website may start to break or just not work. This is like when you go to open an attachment, media or program and you receive a message saying “This version of ____ is no longer supported. You will need to install the latest version.”

Some hosts are forcing this change to occur even if the website is not prepared for the update. which can cause your website to break. If that sounds bad, that’s because it is. A glitchy or non-functional website does not represent your business well to current or potential customers.


Updating to PHP 7.2

Since PHP is the foundation upon which your entire website is built, it’s important to take the proper steps when updating it. A safe update starts with a back up, checking compatibility of all aspects of your site, and knowing what to do if things go wrong. Restoring critical security and performance support to your website could be the make or literal break of your online presence.

There are many tutorials online about how to update your site to PHP 7.2 (we like this one and this one) but the safest way to make this critical update is to ask a professional to update it for you.

Send us an email today to get your site updated to PHP 7.2.


GOOD NEWS! If you have a current Monthly Maintenance Plan with Tree Ring Digital, your site is ready to go and will be updated during your next maintenance cycle. Way to go!