PHP 7 ignites the turbo for your WordPress sites

Tobias Schüring Last updated on 15.01.2020
5 Min.
N08 PHP7

The full version of PHP 7 is available since December 2015. The meanwhile not so new PHP version will soon become a requirement for WordPress -WordPress -projects and is already officially recommended. PHP 7 makes your WordPress sites above all more efficient. We will clarify the advantages of the new PHP 7 and what you need to consider when using the WordPress -turbo.

Already in 2015 the new PHP version entered the alpha phase, in December the Final version of the scripting language. The version jump is accompanied by a massive performance boost. Simply put, PHP 7 doubles the speed at which WordPress can work. Mind you, not all of them WordPress -components will necessarily run smoothly under the new PHP version. And this despite the fact that developers have been able to work with the new standard for more than a year.

PHP 7 is now also available wordpress.orgas recommended minimum requirement for web servers. This includes the latest PHP version, together with HTTPS and HTTP/2, to the most important construction sites for your webserver 2017.

PHP updates are security and performance relevant

PHP is the programming language behind WordPress and is mainly used for programming websites and web applications. PHP generates all functions and elements that make up your website and with which your visitors interact.

PHP updates are relatively rare, but all the more important. If the PHP version is outdated and is no longer updated, massive security vulnerabilities can occur. But also the loading time site suffers from an old PHP version. In addition, in extreme cases there can be incompatibilities with Plugins and Themescome.

If you are interested in the developer perspective: Detailed reports for developers and a migration guide can be found at developer.com, heise.de and under php.net.

More performance through better use of resources

PHP 7 ensures that PHP operations now require significantly less resources and, above all, less CPU processing power than in version 5.6, meaning that up to twice as many operations are possible with the same server performance. For WordPress this also means up to twice the performance. PHP 7 therefore has one main advantage: In order to achieve a large WordPress site with many dynamic elements such as shopping carts, with PHP 7 you now need much less compute power than under PHP 5.6.

PHP 7 ignites the turbo for your WordPress  sites
The figures are taken from a performance test of ZENDthe developer company of PHP 7 and refer to WordPress 4.1 Our internal tests with WordPress 4.4.2 have produced similar results, however, and you can expect a rough doubling of performance even under newer WordPress -versions can be expected.

We can demonstrate the speed advantage of PHP 7 even more concretely in a short test with raidboxes.io clarify. We have a version of the website with PHP 5.6 and one with PHP 7 In our Webpagetest.org tested. A significant improvement has been shown for all important characteristic values. The Document Complete time has improved from almost 10 seconds to a good 5.5 seconds, almost halved. The Start Render value has decreased from just over 3 seconds to just under 2 seconds. This reduction can also be easily seen in the Speed Index: Under PHP 5.6 it is still 3487 points, under PHP 7 it has improved to 2774 points. A reduction of 20 percent.

PHP 7 and WordPress : raidboxes.de once under PHP 5.6, once under PHP 7
Result of the direct comparison between raidboxes.io on PHP 7 and PHP 5.6.

Compatibility is the big problem

WordPress in itself is fully compatible with PHP 7. Difficulties are plugins caused by the use of frameworks. Themes with PHP 7, developers have abandoned parts of the backward compatibility of the language. That means: If a problem occurs plugin under PHP 7, you have to wait until it is fixed via update (or if you can: adapt the script itself).

There is a Toolwhich allows you to determine the compatibility of plugins and themes for PHP 7, but this is for developers only. For the WordPress average user, for example, there is the plugin PHP Compatibility Checker. Also a developer function like staging environment. allows you to determine the compatibility of plugins and themes with PHP 7 without compromising the functionality of the livepage.

How do you get the most out of PHP 7?

In the vast majority of cases the Hosting provider perform the PHP update (unless you have your own root server). In that case, after the update, either all the ones running at the hoster should sites automatically run under PHP 7, or the hoster offers an update mechanism. The latter should be the normal case. Because of the lower backward compatibility there is always the risk of problems with plugins and themes.

In the meantime, most of them should host also offer a corresponding option. If not, future WordPress -WordPress projects may be limited.

As RAIDBOXES -customer you have for example the possibility to switch your BOXES with one click between PHP 7 and the previous version PHP 5.6.

PHP7 for WordPress enable at RAIDBOXES
With PHP7 RAIDBOXES can be used for your WordPress projects can be activated and deactivated with a single click in the web page settings.

Conclusion: PHP 7 offers WordPress WordPress -projects a massive performance boost

Overall, the update of the PHP version is WordPress only recommended for However, it may happen that important plugins or your theme PHP does not support 7. In such a case, you will need to contact the manufacturer to find out when and how the program will be made compatible.

In the worst case you have to wait or find an alternative for the program in question. While this would mean investing some work at this point, it may be a good opportunity to redesign the technical and design aspects of your site program and help you to make it more WordPress future-proof.

In any case, you should consider the question of PHP 7 in the near future. Because PHP 7 should become a minimum requirement for WordPress as early as mid-2017.

By the way: The current PHP version 5.6 is no longer supported with Updates provided. So it makes sense to consider switching to PHP 7 as soon as possible.

Do you have questions about switching from WordPress PHP version 7? Then just write a comment to this article.

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