Around 250,000 clients rely on Magento as their CMS whereas, a larger percentage of users are still on the obsolete versions of PHP. The standardized version is 7.4, the inability to update to the latest version can restrict performance improvements. Moreover, lagging can also imperil your store with increased chances of exploitation.
Every release branch of PHP is supported fully for two years, after the active support, an extended one year of critical support is also provided. After three years, the branch lifecycle is ended and is no longer supported.
Why is updating such a huge deal? How can the transition be smooth? These queries are quite common and will be addressed down. Continue reading to know more.
What is the Current Scenario?
According to W3tech, PHP 5 is currently employed by 55.8% of all websites.
Unsupported PHP versions can hamper the performance of an eCommerce web development company. In 2016, the PHP security vulnerabilities were at a peak, reporting over 100 reported issues. However, since 2019 there is a slight downfall in the numbers, with fewer issues around supported PHP versions.
This stats is scarier as the majority of stores are at risk of exploitation and merchants need to step up the game.
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Why is the PHP Version so important and where is the problem?
Let’s begin with the basics, the PHP version is the rendition of the programming language that a website uses. The process is quite simple, the newer version of PHP gets the update and support and the older versions become obsolete with time.
Newer versions have enhanced performance and speed. Plus, most of the new programming solutions will rely on the latest PHP version. So if you are not using the updated version, there are high chances of your store getting exposed to potential cyber issues.
Some of those PHP security vulnerabilities include issues like directory transversal, memory corruption, DoS, gain information, code execution, bypass, overflow, SQL injection, HTTP response splitting, and more.
Therefore, if you are not using the latest version, it would be a smart move to go for one of the supported PHP versions.
Supported and Unsupported PHP Versions and Timelines
Each released version of PHP is fully supported for two years from its release date. During this period, security issues and bugs that are reported are solved and are released in regular time intervals. After an active period of two years, one year of support is extended for critical security issues. The releases at this point are made on a per-requirement basis, the point releases are not regular and depend on reported issues.
After the completion of three years, the version comes to an end and is no longer supported to fix bugs and security issues.
Currently supported PHP version
- 7.4 and 8.0- fully supported versions
- 7.3- Under security support until 6th December 2021.
Expired PHP versions
- 7.2 became obsolete on 30th November 2020.
Why do so many stores use unsupported PHP versions?
The PHP versions Magento stores employ currently are outdated. There are many reasons for this, but the majority fall into the following categories.
- We didn’t know this was an issue at all? Wasn’t aware of the consequences of an outdated version.
- We didn’t upgrade because the need for an upgrade was not monetarily valued
The first one is mostly stated because most of the versions of Magento stores don’t have quality support or development outside the owner’s team. Many Magento websites run things on their own and also seek help when something is wrong or not working.
The second one is quite common because many Magento store owners do have a strict security budget to follow. This might fall into maintenance but in reality, things like this are mostly ignored. With time merchants forget to upgrade their version and businesses run on the obsolete version of Magento.
Should Magento 2 upgrade next in line?
You should upgrade to Magento 2 for improved performance and speed. Magento 2 was designed with performance in mind. The page loads in Magento 2 are 30 percent to 50 percent faster. Recent studies show that Magento 2 can deal with 39% more orders per hour and with proper hosting setup can deliver instant server response for catalog browsing. Such fast performance means more user interaction, more items added to the website’s cart, and increased sales with lesser cart abandonment issues.
Magento 2 cuts down the pain points that lead to cart abandonment particularly in mobile devices. These performance improvements make shopping much simpler for the consumers and profit the website.
The best part of Magento 2 is the improved check-out procedure. It includes simplified registration that allows consumers to place an order before creating an account. Lack of backward compatibility can create issues in upgrading the versions.
Is using Magento 2 enough for the Security and Performance of the website?
Well, this depends on the version of Magento 2 you are currently on. It is not given that you are automatically promoted to the latest PHP version. Magento 2.4.0 version fully supports PHP 7.4 version. So, only if you are there, you are safe for the time being.
Magento 2 offers new security features like new admin security. This feature allows one person to log in per admin account. If a user is logging in with the same admin account, others will be logged out immediately. This security measure will let you know if any third party tries to access the account using the same ID and password. Magento 2 helps in reducing time spent on managing an online store.
Benefits of using updated PHP versions for websites
The release of 7.4 and 8.0 brought huge performance benefits. The 7.4 versions bring a lot of fixes, syntax, new features, and additions. The preloading feature allows the server to load PHP files in memory at the start and keeps it available for all subsetting requests. On the other hand, PHP 8.0 can handle 50% more requests than PHP 7.0.
One of the important reasons for upgrading to the latest PHP version is to ensure that the website is running on a version that is supported for security vulnerabilities and is patched regularly.
There are many times when developers of themes and plugins can only offer support back for older versions. Things will eventually break while running in older versions. So upgrading to 7.4 and 8.0 can eliminate the compatibility issue.
It’s time to upgrade to PHP 8.0 if you haven’t done it already. Not only because the website will be running on a supported version but for performance benefits too. 7.3 PHP is on the supported time frame and will lapse on 6th December 2021. Better update the PHP version so that you don’t miss out on any new features.
If you are still on Magento 1, upgrade to Magento 2 as soon as possible. For Magento 2 users, make sure you upgrade to one of its latest launched versions.