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PHP 7.3 / PHP 7.4 with WordPress: Any speed improvements?

If you haven’t noticed we updated PHP version 7.3 with the latest minor update 7.3.17 and we also installed PHP 7.4.

Back in October I wrote about speed improvements that came with PHP 7.3. Now with the PHP 7.4 the internet world is claiming that this new version also has speed improvements compared to previous PHP versions.

Okay, but how much faster?!

Curious, I installed WordPress using the Winhost Max plan. This was a base WordPress installation using the default template and I evaluated the speed with Google Chrome’s Developer Tools and Google’s Page Insights.

The following are the results I got. Please note that your results will vary depending on plugins, themes, and PHP versions that you are using.

Google Chrome Developer Tools using PHP 7.2 – PHP 7.4

Using PHP 7.2 – 2.36 seconds
Using PHP 7.3 – 1.80 seconds
Using PHP 7.4 – 814 ms

Google’s PageSpeed Insights using PHP 7.2 – PHP 7.4

Using PHP 7.2
Using PHP 7.3
Using PHP 7.4

Just based on these test results, it appears that PHP 7.4 has improved its speed over the latest version PHP 7.3.

So how do you get started with PHP 7.4 and should you really use it?

Both PHP versions 7.3 and 7.4 require your site to be on our Windows Server 2012 / IIS 8 or 2016 / IIS 10 servers.

If your WordPress site is on an Windows 2012 /IIS 8 or Window 2016 / IIS 10 server, then you can go ahead and change the PHP version within the Winhost control panel.

Here is how to change the PHP version within the Winhost control panel.

If your WordPress site is on a Windows 2008 server and your site is using an older PHP 5.3 – 5.6 version and you want to use the higher PHP versions., then you will need to first update your WordPress site to the latest version. Then your site will need to be migrated to our Windows 2012 or Windows 2016 servers. Note that using newer versions of WordPress will result in an error/warning if you’re using an older version of PHP. And remember, before doing any updating on your WordPress site, please be sure to back up the web site files and MySQL Database. That way if something goes wrong, you can always revert back to the old version of your site.

If your WordPress site needs to be migrated to our IIS 8 or IIS 10 servers, then just contact our support team and ask them to migrate your site to an IIS 8 or IIS 10 server. We’ll do the migration at no cost to you. Migration typically takes about one hour but really depends on how large your site is. We won’t have to migrate your database or email server as these are already on separate servers.

I also wanted to mention that even though we have PHP 7.4 installed on our servers, since it is new, there are still a limited amount of components/modules available. And although we tested PHP 7.4 with WordPress and everything appears to be working fine, at this time we are still not recommending using it in your production site – until the components/modules catch up. For now we have the latest 7.3 minor update installed and PHP 7.3 will work with the latest version of WordPress and provide you with adequate speed for your site.

It should also be mentioned that it is always important to backup your site before doing any work on your production WordPress site and that we do offer a great SiteBackup service that can automatically backup your site files and MySQL database on a nightly basis. Earlier this year, I wrote about why having backups are important. Please check out that blog post. If you need help setting up the SiteBackup service, please feel free to contact our support department for assistance. We will help you set it up free of charge.

That’s it for now. Have fun with PHP!

Visit Winhost to learn more about our WordPress Hosting solution

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