90% of Magento websites use unsupported versions of PHP. How can you (we) tackle this problem, and why is it a problem? Should I update to PHP 8?
Every year, the PHP version becomes out of date. The most recent is PHP 8.1.1, while PHP 7.4 was the last one that was still supported. The less exposed it is to evil people and codes, the higher the version number. You must upgrade PHP 7.4 to 8 in order to be current while utilizing the CS-Cart platform. The version compatibility may be checked here.
After the first two years of active support, PHP provides an additional one year of critical support for each release branch. The branch lifespan expires and is no longer maintained after three years.
Furthermore, slowing puts your shop at risk of being exploited, which is dangerous.
Let’s start with the fundamentals: A website employs the PHP version of the programming language. The procedure is really straightforward; when newer versions of PHP are supported and updated, older ones gradually become unusable.
Performance and speed have improved in more recent versions. Additionally, most of the new programming solutions will use the most recent PHP version. There are so many chances that your shop might be exposed to possible cyber concerns if you are not utilizing the current version.
There are just a few of the PHP bugs that may cause problems:
- directory transversal,
- memory corruption,
- information gain,
- code execution,
- SQL injection,
- HTTP response splitting,
- and other security flaws
Therefore, it would be wise to choose one of the supported PHP versions if you are not using the most recent version.
Where Is the Real Issue? What Makes the PHP Version So Crucial?
The PHP versions and their performance in terms of support and security updates are listed below briefly:
Supported Versions and Timeframes for PHP
Full data for this is available on the official PHP website.
There are several causes for this, but I’d say the majority of them may be divided into two groups:
- “We didn’t do it since we didn’t think it was worthwhile to spend money on this,”
- “We had no idea this was a problem at all.”
The first one is quite prevalent since so few retailers have a “security budget” in place. Yes, a portion of this may qualify as “ongoing maintenance.” However, issues like these are frequently ignored. After then, they are simply forgotten as we go about our daily routine.
The second one is present primarily due to the large number of Magento 1 stores that lack professional development or business assistance from a team other than the team of the store owner. Many business owners manage their operations independently, seeking help only when necessary.
Why Are Outdated PHP Versions Still Being Used by So Many Stores?
Reasons to Upgrade PHP Version | PHP 8 Features
Security is something you hear, read, and see a lot about—especially concerning online stores. And yet, plenty of online stores employ out-of-date PHP versions, as mentioned in the previous paragraph. It’s comparable to doing financial transactions on a computer running Windows 98; very risky. Although it may sound a little excessive, running an unsupported PHP version on your web store exposes it to various risks. By updating, risks like hacking can be avoided.
Staying up-to-date is advantageous for your webshop’s functionality as well. Up until now, PHP’s performance has improved with each version. Of course, the sort of web business you have will determine this. However, generally speaking, website speedups may be achieved by updating.
If your webshop is still using an outdated version of PHP, the performance can have drastically declined in recent years. This may be brought on by plug-ins that are incompatible with an older version of PHP. Because specific plug-ins are only optimized for more recent versions of PHP, that may have happened. The end consequence is a website that performs poorly.
In addition, it’s critical to understand that you, as the owner of an online company, have a responsibility to be accountable. You are required by the AVG (General Data Protection Regulation in the Netherlands) to provide proof that your website complies with privacy laws. Updating software is another aspect of this. There might be serious repercussions if, for instance, your webshop employs an outdated PHP version, resulting in data breaches.
In this situation, it may be implied that you have direct responsibility for the webshop’s neglected maintenance that led to the security of sensitive data being compromised. This means that you are not abiding by the AVG recommendations. Please pay special attention to this because it frequently results in fines.
The (JIt) Just In Time Compiler, a method that speeds up PHP programs, is one of the most eagerly awaited features of PHP 8.
(JIT) Just In Time Compiler
JSON support used to be an optional module, but it is now regarded as a crucial language component.
One of the technical aspects of PHP 8 that makes use of switch statements is match expression. Match expressions combine the conditions and return the value without using break statements. They are strict type comparisons.
The named argument feature of PHP 8 enables you to send input data into the function while focusing on the parameter name rather than the argument order.
PHP 8 has a feature called Support Attributes that allows you to add metadata to classes, methods, properties, functions, arguments, and constants.
Support for Attributes
PHP 8 is tighter with the code it gets, which is one significant change that might be detrimental. In place of the warning you got in 7.4, you’ll now get an error notice. Another drawback is that your webshop’s current plug-ins or applications might not yet be completely compatible with the most recent version of PHP. Therefore, when switching, it’s crucial to pay attention to this. This will shield your online store from mistakes.
By starting the Magento Community Project, the latest version of Magento (Magento 2.5) is compatible with the latest version of PHP (PHP 8.1). However, we have noticed that not all platforms and plug-ins are 100% compatible. Should you still encounter problems while testing the latest version, keeping up-to-date is still important. In this case, ensure that your webshop runs on the latest stable version: PHP 7.4. This is to secure and support your website.
Compatibility PHP 8 and Magento 2
Your webshop and any plug-ins must be able to use this updated version. The manner the code is read has significantly altered since PHP 8. Therefore, failing to do so might lead to issues. It’s crucial to remain up to date even if you would rather wait till PHP 8 is entirely compatible with your Magento store.
Therefore, regardless of the CMS you use, the following considerations should be made before upgrading:
- Create regular site backups. If something goes wrong during the transfer or upgrading of your webshop, you will always have a backup plan.
- Always test the outcomes before implementing the modification on the live site.
- Ensure all plug-ins are compatible with the new PHP version you are upgrading. If not, either update them first or hunt for alternatives that work with the latest PHP version.
How to Update to PHP 8? | Important Factors to Take Into Account Before Upgrading to PHP 8
Let’s get right to the point: the PHP version is, in essence, the version of the computer language that your website uses.
And it’s straightforward: Old versions gradually disappear while new ones receive support and improvements. Additionally, newer versions perform better in terms of functionality, and most new programming solutions will likely be based on the most recent versions without backward compatibility with earlier versions.
In summary, you should be using one of the supported PHP versions, if not the most recent one, for two reasons: security and performance.
To make clear some issues that can be unclear and to provide you with some next steps:
- You should upgrade PHP immediately if you are using an unsupported PHP version to run a Magento 1 shop. And carry it out as quickly as you can. This is far more significant than planning a move to Magento 2 or modernizing your Magento 1 shop.
- Make sure you are utilizing one of Magento 2’s most recent updates if you are using it (2.3.x).
- Consult our Business Analytic to discover more about your alternatives if you’re unsure about the entire M1 to M2 issue.
In any case, talk to your hosting and development partners before you do anything. Since they are the ones that know your website inside and out and can help you through this process, they should be the ones to help you with the actual next steps.
Get in contact with us, and let’s discuss if you need help ensuring that you are making the greatest use of your Magento shop.
So why are you still waiting? Enjoy a plethora of advantages by making the switch to bring your website into 2022.