WP Engine Is Making Websites Faster & More Secure With PHP 7
PHP 7 has been available since December of 2015, but many WordPress users still haven’t upgraded from the old PHP 5.6. Now WordPress is preparing to make an official statement on the matter, recommending that all users move to a PHP 7 environment by mid-2017. PHP 7 is faster, more efficient, and more secure than the old version, and it can even provide users with better search engine rankings (more on that later).
WP Engine, a leading WordPress hosting provider, now offers PHP 7 to all of its users. There’s no complicated installation or setup, and the migration is available to users at all membership levels.
An Introduction to PHP
For those who don’t know what PHP is, perhaps a proper introduction is in order. PHP is a programming language that’s used by 80 percent of the world’s websites. The entire WordPress system is built on PHP, including the themes, plugins, and content management system.
Since WordPress and PHP are both open-source, anyone can customize the coding of their WordPress sites (assuming they’re familiar with the language). One need only click the “Editor” button beneath the Appearance menu on their WordPress dashboard to access all of their PHP files.
Like all scripting languages, PHP is subject to occasional updates and improvements. PHP 7 is the latest version, and it’s the first significant upgrade since the unveiling of PHP 5 in 2004. PHP 6 was in development for several years, but the project was ultimately scrapped.
What Makes PHP 7 So Great?
Websites are capable of loading twice as quickly with PHP 7. This is a huge benefit as research indicates that 40 percent of users will abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load.
Faster load times can also result in higher search engine rankings because fewer page abandonments mean a lower bounce rate. A low bounce rates indicates to search engines that users are finding value in the page.
PHP 7 can also reduce bandwidth consumption by as much as 50 percent. Since many hosting providers impose bandwidth caps on users, this means that a website can host more visitors without the need for a costly upgrade.
And Then There Are the Security Benefits
One of the most pressing reasons to upgrade to PHP 7 is the enhanced security. PHP 5 is plagued with numerous glitches and vulnerabilities that have frustrated web developers and delighted hackers for more than a decade.
For example, errors are known to arise in PHP 5 when a developer attempts to convert integers into floating point numbers (these are just different types of numeric values). These errors can lead to serious bugs and compromise security, but PHP 7 has resolved this issue once and for all.
PHP 7 also makes it easier for coders to locate and repair bugs before they’re able to damage or compromise a site. This is accomplished using “object-oriented exception handling,” a process that automatically separates erroneous code from normal code.
Additionally, the PHP security team has recently taken steps to patch the few weaknesses that previously existed in the new version. Users now have heightened protection against malware and DDoS attacks. A DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack occurs when large numbers of compromised devices flood a website with traffic in order to overload the server and block legitimate visitors from entering.
PHP 7 and WP Engine
WP Engine takes the speed and security benefits of PHP 7 to another level. The company uses a proprietary WordPress caching process known as EverCache, which uses temporary storage to reduce load times and bandwidth consumption. In addition, all sites are hosted on servers that are specifically optimized for WordPress.
Security-wise, they offer:
- Automatic daily backups to prevent data loss in the event of a crash or attack
- SSL certificates to encrypt incoming and outgoing data
- Malware protection to prevent viruses
- Multiple firewalls to prevent interception from untrusted sources
Support is also available 24/7. When you add up the benefits of WP Engine and PHP 7, you’re looking at a pretty powerful solution for speed and security.
If you’d like to access the full benefits of WP Engine and PHP 7, try it for yourself. WP Engine offers a 60-day money-back guarantee, so there’s no risk.