WordPress CMS one of the most used CMS around the globe announced last year September about compatibility of its core with PHP 7.

However only 1.17% users as per WP Engine around the globe use PHP 7 with WordPress.

Something about PHP 7

PHP 6 was launched ago but never reached production phase and to avoid confusion development team directly launched PHP v7 instead of 6.

What is new about PHP 7 lets ?nd out:

Brand new Zend Engine: Zend Engine has been powering PHP since 1999 since PHP 4 was introduced however the Zend Engine made signi?cant improvements and now is under name PHP NG (Next Generation). This Zend Engine is different from Zend framework though.

Twice the speed: PHPNG Engine is twice the speed using optimized memory and code will be executed twice faster.

Error handling: Error handling is a lot better in PHP 7. There is introduction of Engine exception which will facilitate you to replace these kind of errors as you received before in 5.6

64-Bit Windows Support system: Windows hosting 64 bit didn’t have PHP compatibility but now can be run on 64 Bit Windows system as well properly rather than as a ?x as was the case before.

Accurate Type declarations: PHP 7 introduced new set of accurate declarations like int, ?oat, string, and bool.

Anonymous class: Anonymous class is allowed already in C# and Java and other type of programming too. However till date PHP didn’t seem to allow it. With PHP 7 this has also been taken care of.

There are much more items added into PHP 7 than we can probably discuss here however point is it has become new and quite improved.

Why and what is the reason then behind people not using PHP 7 even though its twice the speed and has some clear advantages over 5.6

Well there are several reasons and factors:

Theme Compatibility: WordPress theme compatibility issues can be there. Because theme developers use a lot of javascripts which aren’t still compatible with PHP 7. Theme developers also have written codes in PHP 5.6 and in several themes it has error. Turning to PHP 7 might expose those errors more and lead to severe fatal error thus disrupting the whole theme and breaking its code. Hence theme developers do not still suggest PHP 7.

Plugin Compatibility: Plugins similar to themes are built by developers and have been coded as per 5.4 to 5.6 versions of the PHP. If something goes wrong with a crucial plugin like slider which loads in header of the website then your whole website will go whack and hence plugin developers are also not pushing for PHP 7

Cpanel Compatibility: Hosting companies use Cpanel for hosting websites and give access of the same to their users. There are several external plugins and scripts and modules which run on a Cpanel. If these aren’t properly working with PHP7 then Cpanel won’t force users to upgrade and hence even hosting providers aren’t installing the LAMP module with PHP 7 but continue to push PHP 5.6

Lastly WP Engine recently has released a PHP Plugin Compatibility Checker which ensures whether your website is compatible with PHP 7. Of course your website based on WordPress which consists of theme, and plugin.

Conclusion: Even though PHP 7 has been around for months now but the WordPress ecosystem still hasn’t come to terms with it and is still using PHP 5.6 more than ever. As a free WordPress themes developer we are still inclined to follow the rules set by WordPress codex standards and hence our themes are probably going to be just ?ne on PHP 7 as well and should be working just ?ne because rules set by WordPress codex are standard rules and follow strict directives and with minimal usage of Javascripts on our themes there should be no problems with upgrade.