WordPress has officially announced that it will no longer support PHP 5 in its upcoming 6.3 release, which is expected on August 8th. Since the minimum supported version of PHP 2019 was introduced in 5.6.20, WordPress has never updated this requirement, but it will be brought up to version 7.0.0 in the next release. The recommended PHP version will remain unchanged, confirming support for version 7.4+.
The minimum supported version was last updated to WordPress 5.2 in 2019, and PHP 5.6 usage has since dropped to 3.9% of monitored WordPress installs as of July 2023
said WordPress core developer John Blackburn.
There is no precise usage percentage that a PHP version must reach before support in WordPress is discontinued, but historically project leaders have used 5% as a baseline. Now that PHP 5.6 usage is well below that mark, at 3.9% and continues to drop by about 0.1% every few weeks, plans to increase the minimum supported PHP version can proceed.
Blackburn also pointed out that WordPress support for PHP 8.0, 8.1 and 8.2 is "very good" and contributors may soon act on a policy proposal that would allow them to remove the "beta support" label on new PHP versions. . Nearly 26% of WordPress users are already using PHP 8.0+ powered sites.
Prior to this minimum version increase, some hosts even took the lead in encouraging users to upgrade to newer versions of PHP. For example, Dreamhost charges additional fees for sites that require extended support for PHP 7.4 and earlier versions, a policy similar to that adopted by other hosting providers including ours.
The decision to increase the minimum supported version comes after a seven-month discussion that has surprisingly met little resistance. While sites that remain on PHP 5.6 will not be able to upgrade beyond WordPress 6.2, they will still continue to receive security updates, as the project currently downgrades them to versions 4.1+. Raising the minimum supported version to 7.0.0 will bring numerous benefits to the WordPress ecosystem of themes and plugins, significantly reduce memory usage for updated websites, and offer better security and improvements to core tools.
There are no plans to increase the minimum supported PHP version according to a roadmap, the core team will continue to monitor the use of PHP versions and work with the hosting team to encourage users and hosting companies to upgrade their PHP versions as quickly as possible. The 5% usage baseline will continue to be used for the foreseeable future.
In conclusion, supporting WordPress as it evolves with PHP 8.0 is undoubtedly a winning strategy. This step forward not only improves the WordPress source code, but also optimizes the performance and execution speed of websites built on this platform.
PHP 8.0 represents a significant leap from the previous versions PHP 7 and PHP 5.6. It introduces many new features, such as the match operator, attributes, and the nullsafe construct, which make your code more readable and secure. Besides that, PHP 8.0 includes improvements in the JIT (Just-In-Time) engine, which can significantly speed up code execution in some cases.
Additionally, PHP 8.0 brings several performance improvements, reducing memory usage and increasing processing speed. This results in faster loading times for site visitors, a key factor for both user experience and SEO ranking.
By updating the minimum supported version of PHP, WordPress demonstrates its intention to stay ahead, evolve and take advantage of the best technologies available to offer users an ever better experience. The ultimate goal remains to promote an ever more effective and efficient ecosystem of themes and plugins, while ensuring the security and stability of the code. WordPress' continued support of PHP 8 is therefore a significant step towards achieving these goals.