PHP (created 1994 by Rasmus Lerdorf ) is one of the most popular and widely used server-side web programming language.
It’s the language that over 80% of websites on the internet are built on.
The language is so versatile that you embedded a PHP code into HTML code or used it in combination with various web template systems, web content management systems, and web frameworks.
This ease-of-use and low barrier to entry make it ideal as an extensible platform that is used by companies, corporate bodies, businesses.
During this period, bugs and security issues that have been reported are fixed and released in regular point releases.
But once this two year period of active support has elapsed, the branch is then supported ONLY for an additional year for critical security issues.
What happens next after this is that it will reach what is called EOL (End of Life) which means that the version will no longer receive maintenance, troubleshooting or other support.
For most companies and businesses, the fact that these two versions (PHP 5.6 and 7.0) both reached their end of life in December 2018 is a serious cause of concern.
If you are still using the older PHP versions, it means your website or app is still using obsolete PHP functions & configurations to function.
This undeniably opens your website and application that are dependent on such a version to vulnerabilities and exploitation.
Such website will then become a plaything for malicious hackers.
It is at this point that a 400-pound guy sitting in a basement somewhere will insert malicious contents (adult material links, malware) into your pages, or start mining crypto-currencies with your resources or simply deface the website for laughs.
The fact that this happens every day hasn’t stopped many businesses, government agencies, start-ups, e-commerce portals and, web agencies with possibly hundreds of sites, from running on unsupported PHP versions.
Often the reason might be the significant cost or the risk of breaking things that may come with the upgrade process.
If you are in such a situation, we have a perfect solution for you in the form of a service called HardenedPHP hosting that offers the same solid protection as supported PHP versions.
HardenedPHP not only secure your old PHP versions (4.4.9, 5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 5.4, 5.5, 5.6, 7.0, 7.1) with the ionCube Loaders, PHP extensions that each of these old versions requires, but you can also take advantage of a PHP Selector that allows you to select the version of PHP you want each of the website to run.
It takes minutes to get up and running and our team, always on a 24 hours watch to ensure that you never run into any issue will even migrate your whole websites from the old server to their new home.
Now for some context.
When it comes to PHP, the fact is that Mr. Lerdorf never meant it to be a programming language because according to him, “he has absolutely no idea how to write a programming language” at that time.
So it is not completely wrong to say that for PHP at the early stages of its development, it was about figuring out what the PHP community wants and finding ways to add these.
This means that most of the older PHP versions didn’t have the consistency that you will find with languages such as C/C++, Java, Perl, Python or other equally interesting languages out there.
Most codes that developers wrote back in the old days were awful, full of security holes (about 30% of all vulnerabilities listed since 1996 in this database are linked to PHP) and frankly even today, there were tons of bad PHP code floating out there.
But PHP remains one of the internet’s favorite language because:
- it is open sourced.
- its popularity makes it super-easy to find PHP developers with experience.
- it is easy to create dynamic web-pages with PHP.
- it is dynamically typed and easy to learn, making development simple.
- it is stateless like HTTP making development simpler and the backend stack simpler.
- it comes in one bundle with almost every library needed for simple to medium scale web development, yet also has libraries in C and C++ as well as PHP libraries for more use cases.
- and for many people even without formal education, they can earn a good living out of it.
The language has come a long way since version 3 or 4 yet and the advent of 7.2 heralded an improved PHP with a promised 200% percent increase in performance (this allows systems to execute nearly twice as many requests per second in comparison with PHP 5.6), new features, functionalities and improvements for developers to write better code.
However, at the last count, it was estimated that 82.6% of WordPress sites are still using PHP 7.0 or lower with 36.9% still using PHP 5.6.
As you can expect, these figures will certainly double over the next couple of weeks if users are still unable to update their websites to a supported PHP version.
But why is it that a significant portion of the internet is still stick on these older PHP versions?
Well for the start, developers often write their scripts to accommodate a particular PHP version.
And when a version becomes obsolete, companies are not always able to update and change programs to accommodate newer versions.
It goes without saying that running these unpatched, unsupported PHP versions outs your whole enterprise at risk.
So, what are your options?
Upgrade to a new PHP version.
To ensure the best possible experience, you should really use the latest available, stable and supported versions of PHP.
Not only does this guarantee that your system is in a well-managed position to react to future vulnerability risks, but you will get faster performance and increased efficiency.
While PHP 7.2 may throw up some easily fixable issues because of its stronger requirements for better code, websites and applications that are actively been developed and maintained over the years will still be able to run on a modern PHP 7.2 or 7.3 without any issue.
As a customer, it takes just a few clicks to upgrade your version of PHP via our control panels.
But before you do this, please back up your existing system and make sure that you tested the new version in your development environment before going live with it.
This will reduce the risks of downtime from upgrading if not eliminated entirely.
If the template, theme, module or plugin you are using with the older PHP version won’t work with the newer PHP version, look for a template, theme, module or plugin that support new PHP version.
Use our HardenedPHP
HardenedPHP delivers security fixes for older PHP versions not supported by CentOS, RHEL or PHP.net.
It makes it possible for you to use their older PHP versions without re-writing scripts or worse, risk breaking your site.
Setting up this up requires very little configuration, and our team is here to help you get started quickly and easily.
Why not take advantage of this offer right away?