Several versions of PHP will be deprecated soon. This may mean that you will have to change your PHP-version as well. For those readers wondering what PHP is and what this may mean for you, I will briefly explain in this post.
What is PHP?
In the old days of Web 1.0, most websites were constituted of plain HTML. An HTML-document is a designed text, containing fonts, text sizes, colours, etc. This can be expanded endlessly using text-effects, hyperlinks, images, videos, etc. to improve the visitor's experience.
As complexity for websites keeps increasing, practically all websites nowadays consist of multiple layers: There is a database containing the contents, external sources like ads and Facebook-links, are loaded, there is a stylesheet defining the looks of the site, and the visitor's computer is taken into account to optimise visuals. PHP combines these data into an HTML-page that is optimised for each visitor.
Why is PHP being updated?
PHP is software, and all software is being developed: New options are added, existing code is improved upon and obsolete functionality is removed. These improvements are combined into new (sub)versions of the software. At the same time, bugs are being fixed and security flaws are closed. The latter also happens in old versions of the software. On www.php.net you will find all technical details with regard to different PHP-versions. We are making sure that the PHP-versions we offer are updated regularly, without you noticing.
At a certain point, the differences between the newest and the older versions are such that the developers decide not to make any more improvements upon older versions. From this point on, security leaks are also no longer being restored. Therefore, from this moment on, your website is no longer protected at this level and it is vital to switch to a more modern version..
What does this mean for you?
Greenhost offers different versions of PHP. At this time, PHP 7 is the newest supported version. PHP 5.3 is the oldest version still running with us, but this is already deprecated. We will therefore soon remove this as an option. Although older supported versions, like 5.6, are okay to use, we recommend to switch to the newest version. For example because this has more options than older versions, but mainly because this will in most cases improve performance of your website. We will inform you individually if you are currently using a deprecated version or a version that will be deprecated any time soon. In our Service Centre you can decide for yourself which PHP-version you want to use. On our helpdesk pages you will find a manual on how to change your PHP-version. If you choose the newest version, and ensure that the software you are using for your website is also completely updated, your website will be safe for some time to come. With any luck your website will even be faster than ever.
Update 11-03-2019: The most recent version of PHP as of now is PHP 7.3, we will deploy PHP 7.3 soon, until that time, PHP 7.2 is available on our platform. Using older versions like 5.6 and 7.1 is advised against because they are no longer maintained by the developers of PHP. Those versions are deprecated and will be phased out soon.