WordPress and PHP 5.6 support

At the end of 2018 both PHP 5.6 and 7.0 will go end of life. That means both versions of the software will no longer receive any formal updates, including critical security patching. In response to this, many providers are now removing support for PHP 5.6, meaning sites that depend on this older software, could stop working overnight.

So you might ask, where does that leave your WordPress website with 34SP.com? Ideally your site is hosted on our WordPress Hosting platform. On this plan, we purposefully keep all software packages on their latest stable version. In the case of PHP, this means 7.2. If your site is on our WordPress platform you can be confident that you’re using the best packages available, and can sit back and relax. PHP 7.2 will be supported into 2020, and before it expires you can be assured the WordPress Hosting platform will have been updated to the next major release in turn.

If you’re hosted on our Professional Hosting, things are a little more fluid. Currently we are looking at supporting PHP 5.6 on our Professional Hoting platform into 2019, albeit with one major caveat; should the end of security updates mean a critical exploit is seen in the wild, we may need to suspend support. This could also occur without warning and be enforced immediately depending on the severity of the exploit.

Suffice to say, if the prospect of your site being critically hacked or suspended overnight causes some concern, we do advise you to take steps now. This primarily means ensuring your theme and plugins are capable of working without PHP 5.6. Your theme and plugin providers should be able to confirm their software is PHP 7+ compatible for you, but if not, do ask our support team and we can also confirm for you. If you’re using relatively modern theme or plugin, chances are you’ll be fine. If there’s a plugin on your site that’s listed as not being updated for a long time, we’d definitely recommend reviewing and updating ASAP. Again, our support team can offer advice on options available to you as needed.

If your site can’t move away from PHP 5.6 and we do need to remove support on our Professional Hosting, a final option might be our Universal Hosting which offers a customized hosting setup for your site’s specific needs. Universal Hosting can be provisioned with any version of PHP you need. That said, if we’ve taken the step to remove 5.6 support, that means the exploits in the wild are likely severe. Regardless of how and where you host your site, the end result will likely be a hacked site. At this point we wouldn’t be able to assist in restoring your site, a re-hack would be almost certain in minutes, hours or days at best.

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