Why You Should Upgrade WordPress to PHP 7 Now Rather Than Later

Last updated 93 days ago by John Hughes

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If you pay attention to the latest news from the WordPress community, you may have noticed the recent buzz regarding PHP 7. However, non-technical users may have a hard time understanding what PHP 7 is and why it matters for WordPress.

In this post, we’ll introduce you to PHP 7 and explain the updates that come along with this new version. Then we’ll provide four key reasons why it’s smart to upgrade to PHP 7 now, rather than wait until later.

Let’s jump right in!

An Introduction to PHP 7 and Why It’s Important for WordPress Users

For non-developers and newer WordPress users, PHP is a coding language. It’s commonly used to create dynamic content on your site, as well as collecting and encrypting data, sending and receiving cookies, and much more. The majority of WordPress is written in this language, as are myriad other applications.

PHP 7 is simply a major version of this widely-used open-source language. Just as updating your WordPress installation grants you access to new features, upgrading your server to the latest version of PHP can greatly improve your site’s functionality.

Some of the key enhancements that come with PHP 7 include:

  • Increased speed. This is the primary advantage for general WordPress users. Not only will your site’s visitors enjoy faster loading times, but you should also see improvements in back end speed too.
  • Type declarations. When coding in PHP, type declarations enable you to define your desired result, so there are no surprises when you run the code. They also make your PHP easier to read.
  • Error Handling. Previously, fatal errors in PHP simply stopped the script from running, resulting in a blank white screen. Improved error handling causes PHP 7 to throw an exception when it encounters a fatal error instead.
  • New Operators. PHP operators take certain variables and yield results. In PHP 7, new operators were introduced, including the Combined Comparison (Spaceship) Operator and the Null Coalesce Operator.

Plus, there are additional advantages that may be of further interest to developers and other advanced users. As a bonus, PHP 7 requires fewer servers to run. This means on PHP 7, your website will require less energy for hosting, which is one small way you can reduce your carbon footprint.

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