Webasyst moves to minimum PHP version 5.6

Webasyst framework will require PHP 5.6 as the minimum version for software installation and updates. Current minimum PHP version is 5.2. The transition is planned for October 1, 2019.

What it means for you

When the transition is over, you will be able to install software products and their updates, as well as framework updates, only if you are using PHP version at least 5.6, i.e. 5.6, 7.0, 7.1, 7.2, or higher.

If you decide to stay with older PHP versions 5.2, 5.3, 5.4, or 5.5, then you will still see new updates appearing in your Installer, but without an option to install them because of the unsatisfied PHP version requirement.

Will there be exceptions?

There will be some, but not for too long. This minimum PHP version requirement applies to the framework only. Other products—apps, plugins, widgets, and design themes, may not receive the same system requirement and may keep installing on servers with lower PHP versions. However, eventually most of them will be updated and may therefore require the latest framework version for their normal operation. And updating the framework will again require raising the PHP version for your web-hosting account.

Not sure whether I need to raise my PHP version... Try to convince me!

This situation has one “con” and three “pros”:

  • Con: never change a running system. Few people would want to change something in their smoothly functioning procedures. Almost anyone would prefer to keep well-tested PHP 5.2–5.5 enable on their servers just like it has been for years.
  • Pro: hosting companies refuse to support old PHP versions. They need resources to support a variety of versions, which are not unlimited. New PHP versions are released every once in a while, and it is becomes unprofitable and even insecure to support old versions, some of them having security breaches which will never be fixed. If you do not want to leave an old PHP version now, you will most probably be forced to do so a little later. We recommend doing it while there is no big hurry.
  • Pro: PHP 7 works faster. The developers of PHP 7 have notably boosted its performance as compared to previous versions. By simply switching to PHP 7.0 or higher you will make your website respond faster with no additional efforts from your part.
  • Pro: less chances that some software update will break your website. When working on an update, developers need to check how it works with different PHP versions. When an error occurs, more often users with older PHP versions are affected, because most attention is naturally paid to latest versions used on most websites. It is rarely advantageous to stay with an ever-reducing minority. And it is often more advisable to stick to what the majority prefers.

Why not choose 7.0 as the minimum version, which is faster than 5.6?

Too many Webasyst users still have their websites running on PHP 5.6. We suspect that they have no option to conveniently switch to 7.0 or a higher version, and we do not want to cause these version-switching troubles to very many of you. But we do need to abandon old technologies as they lose popularity and still require resources. So, if you have an option to switch to PHP 7 in your web-hosting control panel, it is really worth doing to make your website work faster.

Where can I find out more?

We have published a special page about the reasons why Webasyst is moving to a higher minimum PHP version and how to get prepared for it. Please ask your questions in the comments to this post if something needs clarification.