What Is PHP?
In a nutshell, PHP is an extremely popular open source programming language primarily used in the development of web applications and websites. It powers many Open Source Content Management Systems such as Drupal, WordPress and Joomala and is also the preferred language used in Open Source Ecommerce systems like Magento and Woo Commerce. It is hugely popular because of its ease of use and its server-side flexibility. Up to 75% of all websites on the Internet use PHP as their server-side programming language.
It works perfectly in unison with other Open Source Web Server technologies such as Apache and LiteSpeed and is supported by a huge amount of mature PHP frameworks such as Laravel, CodeIgnitor, Symphony and more. What does all that mean? It means that developers around the world can create amazing websites and web applications for you in a consistent and manner that is web friendly.
Why Is PHP So Important for WordPress?
PHP is the backbone for WordPress. It is the scripting language at the heart of WordPress and any developer who understands PHP will know how to get the most out of your WordPress based website. It means developers, can change the fundamental way information is stored and displayed in your WordPress site without relying on additional and sometimes bloated third-party plugins which can slow your site down.
Why install another plugin when a developer can write some PHP code to achieve the same thing without the performance hit?
As PHP is Open Source, it is constantly being refined and updated. Every 6-12 months a minor revision of PHP is developed, tested, and pushed out to the general public for use in their projects.
What Does the Latest Version of PHP Do for My Site?
Although WordPress is a great Website Management System, its performance leaves a lot to be desired – particularly when there are multiple unoptimized plugins working in together. A suitability powered hosting solution will go a long way to resolve these performance issues but sometimes there are inefficiencies lying at the heart of PHP and WordPress which cause these performance bottlenecks. This is why it is important to keep your website and project updates with the latest version their core, their plugins, and the latest version of PHP.
It is also important to note that some websites and web applications that have been built with a specific version of PHP may need additional work to bring that application up to spec to take advantage of the latest version of PHP.
Benchmarks and Real-World Metrics
Test #1 – WordPress Requests Per Second
The first set of benchmarks we will review uses WordPress 5.3 and various versions of PHP to measure the performance of a simple single page that is created during a default installation of WordPress. We will measure the number of requests per second the site can handle with the different versions of PHP.
- WordPress 5.3 PHP 5.6 benchmark: 97.71 req/sec
- WordPress 5.3 PHP 7.0 benchmark results: 256.81 req/sec
- WordPress 5.3 PHP 7.1 benchmark results: 256.99 req/sec
- WordPress 5.3 PHP 7.2 benchmark results: 273.07 req/sec
- WordPress 5.3 PHP 7.3 benchmark results: 305.59 req/sec
- WordPress 5.3 PHP 7.4 benchmark results: 313.42 req/sec
PHP 7.4 was the winner, proving to be marginally faster than PHP 7.3. And if you compare PHP 7.4 to PHP 5.6, it can handle well over 3x as many requests (transactions) per second!
Test #2 – WordPress and WooCommerce Requests Per Second
The second test we will review is the number of requests per second that the various flavours of PHP can accommodate when rendering simple products in a Woo Commerce solution.
- WordPress 5.3 + WooCommerce 3.8.1 PHP 5.6 benchmark results: 49.29 req/sec
- WordPress 5.3 + WooCommerce 3.8.1 PHP 7.0 benchmark results: 117.35 req/sec
- WordPress 5.3 + WooCommerce 3.8.1 PHP 7.1 benchmark results: 117.52 req/sec
- WordPress 5.3 + WooCommerce 3.8.1 PHP 7.2 benchmark results: 125.85 req/sec
- WordPress 5.3 + WooCommerce 3.8.1 PHP 7.3 benchmark results: 141.68 req/sec
- WordPress 5.3 + WooCommerce 3.8.1 PHP 7.4 benchmark results: 146.07 req/sec
When running WooCommerce, PHP 7.4 beat out PHP 7.3 by a small margin. A small margin but every little bit helps.
OK Great – But What Does It All Mean?
When all is said and done, using the latest version of PHP on your website will mean:
- improved performance for your staff who use the WordPress backend
- improved performance for your customers who visit your site and buy from your shop.
- increased search engine friendliness due to quicker loading of your website which can lead to more traffic, more enquiries, and more sales.
Sounds Great! How Do I Get It?
The implementation of PHP 7.4 is already available on all of iOnline’s hosting platforms! Talk to us today to arrange for an upgrade of your website to PHP 7.4 to take advantage of the latest speed benefits this update offers. Our team of experts will upgrade your hosting account to use PHP 7.4 and test all aspects of your site to ensure compatibility. Just give us a call on 1800 466 546 or drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
PHP Benchmarks – https://kinsta.com/blog/php-benchmarks/
PHP Popularity – https://www.tisindia.com/blog/php-popular-among-web-developers/
PHP Versions and Releases – php.net
PHP Basics – https://www.codemag.com/article/1108041/Beginning-PHP
Exclusive: PHP, the web’s most popular programming language, is coming to mobile – https://venturebeat.com/2012/10/02/php-andi-gutmans-future-mobile/