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How we’ll work with WHM to ensure that PHP 8 is compatible

Posted on 28 November 2020

As of the 26th of November PHP 8 is available. We won’t be using it on our servers, at least for a short while. PHP 7.4 (the latest supported version and the version we run) will be supported well into 2022. This allows plenty of time for testing. What is WHM? How will we test PHP 8 on so many websites? What is the difference between PHP 7.4 and 8. Find out more below!

WHM

Our servers run CentOS with WHM/cPanel. WHM is software that gives us the ability to manage multiple sites in cPanel environments. In WHM you have the ability to set different variables for different sites, such as; storage limits, PHP version, email disk space, and max email accounts. By default, the PHP settings use a default value (Currently PHP 7.x).

Testing

In order to test properly, we need to categorize where we can. This is to avoid duplicate testing and recognize patterns where/if any bugs come up. There are too types of sites we generally build:

  • Fully bespoke PHP based sites
  • WordPress based sites with bespoke themes

Fully Bespoke

Within fully bespoke we can separate sites into microsites, multipage websites, and web applications.

For multipage and web apps, these will need to be tested individually as the features and the code is so specific to use that it would be easy to overlook a potential bug by grouping these types of sites. No matter how similar. We can however group microsites together and just test a duplicate of one of these. Saving plenty of time.

WordPress

Now as our themes use the same basic template for elements that are required on every website and much of the code added is HTML (the markup language that specifies elements and where they belong) and CSS (the code that instructs the HTML how to look, we only need to test one basic WordPress site with the typical plugins installed (plus separate tests with plugins that other sites are using). This immediately saves plenty of time testing duplicate setups.

The way this will be done with both the Fully Bespoke and WordPress setups is to create a new cPanel instance in WHM and set it to PHP version 8. Smart!

Difference between PHP version 7.4 and version 8?

Some things new to PHP with version 8

  • More secure
  • Bug fixes
  • Better performance (this will be more noticeable in WordPress with future releases)

some of the more technical additions can be found here.

Will the testing or upgrade cause any downtime?

Other than possible software updates that require machine reboots, no. Absolutely not. As always uptime is a top priority with our hosting services.

If you’ve got any questions on PHP 8, please get in touch today.

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