03 Aug 2017

PHP 5.6 end of life

All good things must come to an end and next year it’s the turn of PHP 5! No, it’s not a skin cream but website operating software.

We like to give you plenty of advance warning about changes and this may affect some of our website hosting clients in the future.

The servers that we, and many web companies use, operate a software called PHP to run websites. It's very common and supported globally with frequent updates; this notice is to simply advise you of a change happening next year.

The version of PHP we are currently running is PHP 5 (PHP 5.6 to be more accurate). Each version of PHP remains supported for a certain number of years, PHP 5.6 comes to the end of life on the 31st December 2018.

What happens at end of life?
The software continues to work, but the organisations behind PHP no longer provide support or security fixes. If a vulnerability is found it will not be fixed, this essentially means hackers may try to target websites running on older versions of PHP.

We need to keep our servers running as securely as possible so leaving old software running is not an option. All our servers will be upgraded to PHP 7 by the end of December 2018.

What does this mean for you?
For you very little, but for us, a lot of work is needed to upgrade our servers from PHP 5.6 to the latest PHP 7 version. In case you're wondering PHP 6 didn't work that well so they scrapped and it jumped straight to 7, but its ok they learnt their mistakes with PHP 6 and PHP 7 works very well, our site has been testing it for several months!

Some websites using older technology and themes on Wordpress, Joomla and other Content Management Systems may not run on this new version of PHP. This won’t be something we will know until we move a site to a PHP 7 server for testing.

To make the process as smooth as possible for everyone, we are already starting to move new clients to PHP 7 servers and have begun testing existing clients sites. This won't affect the running of your websites, but if your site does not run on PHP 7 we will be getting in touch to discuss this with you and work through a plan to either upgrade or rebuild your site.

For customers on our monthly maintenance plans, where systems such as Wordpress or Joomla are being upgraded each month, we expect little impact. Occasionally themes may need an update, but that should be covered in monthly work.

For clients using our hosting services with sites running old code, you will need to either move to another hosting platform that will continue to run old PHP software, or we will need to work on upgrading your site.

We will be in touch to discuss this with you over the next six to nine months, but if you are running an older site and are considering a refresh, please let us know.