Should I use PHP 8.0 for better speed?

WordPress Mobile Speed


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PHP is a server language. JS, CSS and HTML are languages (code) used on the browser side. WordPress and all plugins are written in PHP. That means the server must use PHP language.

We don’t program in PHP. We customize websites with CSS and HTML. We never want to learn JavaScript (JS) or PHP.

Yet 1-million coders (programmers) use PHP. Is it the best and fastest code? No. It’s the most popular dinosaur.

PHP version 5.6 was the standard for a long time. It became technically embarrassing to the PHP supporters. Because of the long delay to upgrade, they completely skipped PHP version 6.0 and went to PHP 7.0. Any server running 7.X and up is “good enough.” We see conversion to 8.0 as premature. It hasn’t been out long enough to get the bugs out. A bit scary.

You must update PHP on the server. There is no setting for it in WordPress.

WordPress messages of plugins or versions being “out of date” are to legally protect WordPress – not you. Due diligence to avoid lawsuits.

We are running PHP version 7.4.30 on PagePipe blog. And there it will stay until we see an advantage to changing it.

PHP 7 is 3 times faster than version 5.6. That doesn’t mean your site is 3X faster. The code with PHP is 3X faster. In the end, the gain is speed is insignificant because so many other things slow down WordPress. WordPress on PHP 8.0 can handle 18.4 percent more requests per second than PHP 7.4. But the change may break 15 percent of your plugins. Uh? Not worth the risk. One fat database intensive plugin can slow down an entire site. In a speed test, you won’t see any change from switching PHP to 8.0. Immeasurable change.


Steve Teare
performance engineer
September 2023


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