Everything you need to know about PHP 8

You may have noticed that several hosting companies that offer web hosting have started advertising that you can use PHP 8 with them. But is PHP 8 something you should be aware of, and what impact could it have on your website?

There may be several good reasons to update your WordPress or Joomla site to use PHP 8.0. Among other things, it helps to increase the speed of your website. In this blog post, we dive into what else the new PHP update will mean for your website.

What is PHP?

PHP is an open source programming language consisting of “server-side scripting”, which is widely used for web development. PHP is an important language for the WordPress community because much of the core WordPress software is written in it.

According to W3 Techs, PHP is used by 77.5% of all websites worldwide. Even if you’re not a programmer, if you have your own website, you’re probably using PHP. If your website is made in WordPress or Joomla, these are two systems that use PHP.

What is the difference between PHP 7 and PHP 8?

At first glance, the difference between PHP 7 and PHP 8 is not very big. Certainly not if you are not a programmer and are familiar with the many features that have been added.

The function and task of PHP itself is the same in PHP 8.0 as it has been in the previous PHP versions. Where you as a regular user will primarily notice a difference will be the speed of your site. Among other things, the new PHP version 8 comes with a number of optimizations to the way your site handles requests.

FACTS – What does request mean?

When you visit a website, your PC or mobile executes a request to the website’s web server. A request is the communication between your browser and a web server that provides the user with the requested page and its content.

When a web server receives a request from a client (such as a PC or mobile), it will retrieve the requested material and display it on the user’s screen. Each time a request is made from the client, the server executes each request, resulting in the requested page, images or interactive features being loaded.

Will my website be faster if I update to PHP 8?

The loading time of a WordPress website is one of the things that PHP 8.0 noticeably improves and optimizes. The amount of requests that PHP 8 can handle is higher than in the previous versions. The faster your site can handle a request, the faster your visitors will be able to load your site.

On a new WordPress installation with PHP 7.4, the site can handle 110.24 req/sec. In comparison, PHP 8.1 can handle 163.43 req/sec. This means that PHP 8.1 is about 50% faster.

Do I need to update to PHP 8?

At Simply.com, we recommend that you use the PHP version that our engineers have enabled by default on the web server. Our technicians continually assess which PHP version is most stable with various CMS systems such as WordPress.

Simply.com has no plans to remove or stop offering PHP 7.4, just as we still offer various other PHP 7 versions (and even PHP 5.6).

Simply.com article “About PHP 7.4 end-of-life”

Simply.com has no plans to remove or stop offering PHP 7.4, just as we still offer various other PHP 7 versions (and even PHP 5.6).

Simply.com article “About PHP 7.4 end-of-life”

If you want to use an older version of PHP, you can manually customize the PHP version on your web hosting. On our support page, you can read our guide to changing the PHP version.

How do I manually update WordPress to PHP 8?

Just like any other electronics and IT that you use on a daily basis, PHP also needs to be updated. By updating the PHP version, you increase the security of the website and get access to the latest features.

  1. Login to your Simply.com control panel

  2. Open the File Manager

  3. Open the website folder

    If you only have a webhost, open the public_html folder.
    If it is a domain alias you want to change the PHP version on, open the folder for your domain alias.

  4. Open the .htaccess file

  5. Insert PHP 8 into .htaccess

    If you want your web space to always use PHP 8
    AddType application/x-httpd-php80 .php
     
    If you want your webhost to always use the latest PHP version
    AddType application/x-httpd-php-latest .php

  6. Save the change

    And like that your WordPress site is now running PHP 8.0

FAQ – PHP 8

What is PHP?

PHP is a popular open source programming language that enables developers to create dynamic websites and web applications. PHP is used to develop some of the world’s most popular website systems – including WordPress and Joomla.

Should I upgrade to PHP 8?

There is no one definitive answer to whether you should upgrade to PHP 8.0. The vast majority will find that their website will be noticeably faster by PHP 8. However, there is no guarantee that upgrading to PHP 8 will result in a faster website. Before making any decisions, it is important to consider your specific needs and requirements.

We recommend that you check whether your plugins, themes and generally WordPress are updated to the latest version and compatible with PHP 8. This is essential before upgrading to PHP 8.

Which providers offer PHP 8 web hosting?

PHP 8 is becoming widely used by the vast majority of hosting providers. Some even force their users to switch to the new version, while others simply allow their customers to use it if they prefer PHP 7.
 
At Simply.com, you have the option to choose exactly the PHP version that you prefer. You can see all the PHP versions we support on our FAQ page.

What do I do if my website does not support PHP 8?

As a general rule, we recommend that you always update your website. So that it can follow our standard PHP setup.
 
Are you using an older CMS system, or have you coded your website yourself?
There may be various reasons not to choose the latest PHP version. Fortunately, you are free to choose your PHP version, so if your website prefers PHP 5.3, you can use it.

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