PHP 7.2 release date
The latest version of the popular scripting language PHP was released on November 30th. PHP 7.2 brings with it marked improvements in security and performance.
PHP 7.2 performance
Based on performance benchmarks run by Phoronix, PHP 7.2 runs up to 13% faster than PHP 7.1, or 20% faster than PHP 7.0. And compared to PHP 5.6, PHP 7.2 is over 250% faster. This leads to faster coding and faster loading websites. To find out why they skipped over PHP 6, read our infographic on 7 things you can do with PHP 7.
PHP 7.2 features
New version releases often come with a range of new features, and PHP 7.2 is no different. Perhaps the most important functionality additions to PHP 7.2 are the new security features.
Libsodium is an application-layer cryptography library used for encryption, decryption and password hashing. The introduction of Libsodium ensures that PHP 7.2 keeps up to date with the most recent methods in cryptography. Running the most modern hashing algorithms is vital for security, and the new Argon2 password hashing algorithm is the most recommended. The improved algorithm means that it’s much harder and more computationally intensive for attackers to obtain user passwords. This improved encryption also benefits document identification and encryption for Zip files.
As with all new versions of PHP, there is a range of functions and features that are deprecated. There is a list of deprecated functions on the PHP website, these functions will be removed completely before PHP 8.0 is released. These functions will continue to work in PHP 7.2 but error messages will appear in log files, so it’s suggested that developers check through their code and update any deprecated functions before they become backwards incompatible.
A list of functions that are backward incompatible and will no longer work in PHP 7.2 is also available on the PHP website.
PHP 7.2 for WordPress
It’s always important to run the most recent version of software, but over 40% of WordPress users are still using PHP 5.6. Considering WordPress is the world’s most popular content management system, that’s a significant number of people running an out of date version. WordPress users should make sure that they upgrade to the latest version of PHP to make sure their websites are running as fast as possible, but be sure to check the PHP migration guide to avoid anything breaking.
PHP 7.0 end of life
An important reason to update to PHP 7.2 is that PHP 7.0 reaches end of security support on 3rd December 2017. Although security support for critical issues is still available for PHP 7.0 until December 2018, the PHP community will no longer be providing support for bugs and minor security issues. PHP 7.1 reaches end of active support on 1st December 2018.