PHP 7.4 End of Life Nov 2022

PHP 7.4 (the language WordPress websites run on) is "End of Life" in a few months. What is it and what does this mean for your WordPress website?

All WordPress websites are built on a programming language called PHP and the last major release, PHP7 is being retired.

PHP 7.4 will become end of life (EOL) in November 2022 which means security vulnerabilities will not be patched by the PHP development team, leaving your website at significant risk of hacking if you do not update to the latest software.

Worryingly, at the time of writing, only 5% of the web is running on PHP8. We expect to see a rise in security incidents this Winter as hackers target vulnerable websites.

It is important to ensure your website has been updated to a newer version. We recommend updating your site to either:

  • PHP 8.0 which will be supported until 26 November 2023
  • PHP 8.1 which will be supported until 25 November 2024

Can I just hit the update button?

Not necessarily.

New releases of PHP also include significant changes to the code to add new features and improve performance. This means there are also incompatibilities which could see your site break in certain circumstances.

A WordPress website may be incompatible with PHP because it is using older / incompatible themes, plugins or custom code. These may use features that are no longer available in PHP 8 so simply will no longer work

You should ask your Web Developer / Support company to test and confirm your website is compatible before switching.

How we can help

If you are a current Care Plan customer then you can relax as we’ve been looking into this for you already. We will be in touch if there are significant issues to address before upgrading – we’ve upgraded around 80% of all our customer’s websites already.

If you are concerned you might be impacted or you would like help with any of this we can carry out a quick Website Health Check to review your site and report on issues including PHP8 readiness. Get in touch if you would like help.