WP Engine has launched a PHP 7 Compatibility Checker plugin for WordPress to encourage adoption of the latest version of the open-source scripting language. While PHP is used by 84 percent of the web, only 1.8 percent of WordPress sites run on PHP 7, and a significant majority (59.3 percent) of WordPress sites run a version no later than PHP 5.5.
The company touts the improved security of PHP 7, but particularly its performance and reduced memory consumption, saying it is twice as fast and takes half the memory as compared to later versions. Of course, bringing these benefits to WordPress sites is good for the platform’s retention and attractiveness, which ultimately is good for WP Engine. To that end, the Compatibility Checker allows developers to assess the work necessary to make a plugin or theme compatible or update a site.
“During our work with PHP 7 we developed a tool to help us evaluate compatibility, the ‘PHP Compatibility Checker’ plugin, which we are making available to everyone, to help drive adoption of PHP 7 and bring the promise of dramatically faster WordPress websites and web services to users across the web,” Taylor McCaslin, Product Manager at WP Engine said in a statement.
Interestingly, WP Engine’s own testing indicates PHP 7 is not only much faster than previous PHP releases, but also HHVM, for which WP Engine offers the Mercury Platform. The company compares the release of PHP 7 to the release of version 5 in 2004, and is sponsoring an update to the PHP Compatibility library.
WP Engine will make PHP 7 environments available to all its customers this fall.