Home  /  Bytes.co Blog  /  PHP & WordPress: Why You Should Update to the Latest PHP Version

PHP & WordPress: Why You Should Update to the Latest PHP Version

PHP code

What is PHP and Why is it Used?

PHP, which is a recursive acronym for PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor, is a server-side scripting language designed specifically for website development. It’s the invisible force behind many of the websites we interact with daily. But what exactly does PHP do? In a nutshell, PHP enables developers to embed dynamic content within web pages. This dynamic content can include database interactions, user authentication, form processing, and more.

The power of PHP lies in its ability to seamlessly integrate with HTML. Developers can insert PHP code directly into HTML files, allowing for the generation of personalized content based on user interactions or database queries. For example, PHP can be used to create user-specific greetings on a website’s homepage or to display real-time data fetched from a database.

What is the Most Stable Version of PHP?

A stable version of PHP refers to a release of the PHP programming language that has undergone thorough development, testing, and quality assurance processes. This in turn results in a version that is considered reliable, well-performing, and free from critical bugs or security vulnerabilities.

A stable version of PHP is important because it ensures that developers can rely on the language for building web applications without encountering major bugs or security vulnerabilities. It provides a solid foundation for developers to create websites and web applications that perform well and are secure and reliable for users.

The latest stable version of PHP is PHP 8.2.10. Released in December 2022, PHP 8.2 will have active support until December 2024, and security support until December 2025. However, as the minor versions of PHP (8.2.10, 8.2.11, etc) are released, they will eventually then become the latest stable versions of PHP. Staying up-to-date with the most recent version is important for security, performance, and compatibility with the latest web technologies.

Is PHP Used in WordPress?

Absolutely! PHP is the backbone of WordPress, one of the most popular content management systems (CMS) in the world. When you create or customize a WordPress theme, develop plugins, or even manage your site’s functions, you’re working with PHP behind the scenes. WordPress utilizes PHP to generate dynamic content, manage database interactions, and deliver personalized experiences to website visitors.

What Version of PHP is WordPress Using in 2023?

WordPress recommends using at least PHP 7.4 or higher. This recommendation is based on a balance between performance improvements and widespread compatibility. However, as of November 2022, PHP 7.4 reached its end-of-life (EOL), meaning that it has officially stopped receiving security updates. This makes an update to PHP 8.2 even more enticing.

Should I Use PHP 7.4 or 8.2 for WordPress? Will Upgrading PHP Break My WordPress Site?

When it comes to choosing between PHP 7.4 and 8.2 for your WordPress website, there are a few considerations to keep in mind. PHP 8.2 offers significant performance improvements, which can result in faster page load times and improved user experiences. It also introduces new language features that can enhance your development process.

However, as mentioned previously, compatibility is a key factor. Not all WordPress themes and plugins may be fully compatible with PHP 8.2 right away. Keep in mind that WordPress is actively working on ensuring full compatibility with PHP 8.2, and regular updates to themes and plugins are likely to address compatibility issues over time.

Before upgrading, it’s crucial to test your theme and plugins in a staging environment to ensure they work seamlessly. If you’re using a shared hosting environment, you might also need to check if your hosting provider supports PHP 8.2.

What is the Difference Between PHP 7.4 and 8.2?

PHP 7.4 and 8.2 represent significant milestones in the evolution of the language. PHP 7.4 introduced features like typed properties, arrow functions, the null-coalescing assignment operator, and improvements in performance and memory usage. PHP 8.2, on the other hand, brought about more transformative changes, including the introduction of the Just-In-Time (JIT) compiler for substantial performance gains, union types for more flexible type hinting, and improvements to the overall syntax and error handling mechanisms. Some of the key differences between PHP 7.4 and 8.2 are listed below:

1. Performance Boost: PHP 8.2 is faster than PHP 7.4. It’s like upgrading to a faster car. Your web applications might load quicker and respond faster, giving your users a smoother experience.

2. Type System Improvements: Imagine if you could label your belongings with their types. In PHP 8.2, the type system has been upgraded with support for more types, as well as combining intersection and union typing. These extended features help make sure your code is more organized and less likely to cause unexpected errors.

3. Null-Coalescing Assignment Operator: This feature is designed to make it easier to work with variables that might be null. This in turn makes your code shorter and more readable.

4. Attributes for Metadata: Think of attributes as sticky notes you can attach to your code to explain what it does. PHP 8.2 allows you to add these notes, making your code easier to understand and maintain.

5. Match Expression: Comparing values is simpler with the match expression in PHP 8.2. It’s like having a vending machine for comparisons – you choose the value you want, and it gives you the right result.

6. JIT Compiler: PHP 8.2 has a JIT (Just-In-Time) compiler that optimizes your code on-the-fly, like a super-smart assistant helping you work more efficiently. This is one of PHP 8.2’s standout features, as this compiler dynamically optimizes the execution of PHP code, resulting in notable performance improvements.

7. Union Types: Imagine a container that can hold multiple types of things. PHP 8.2 lets you use variables that can hold different types of data, making your code more flexible.

8. Constructor Property Promotion: Creating classes is easier with PHP 8.2. It’s like a shortcut that helps you build objects faster, without writing the same code over and over.

9. Error Improvements: PHP 8.2 provides clearer and more helpful error messages, like a GPS that gives you better directions when you’re lost.

10. New Functions and Features: PHP 8.2 also comes with a bunch of new functions and features that can simplify your code and open up new possibilities, just like getting new tools for your toolbox.

PHP 8.2 has undergone rigorous testing and refinement, making it a stable and safe choice for web development. The PHP community and core development team have worked tirelessly to iron out any initial issues, ensuring that PHP 8.2 is a reliable choice for building robust web applications.

Should I Upgrade to PHP 8.2?

The decision to upgrade to PHP 8.2 depends on a few factors. If you’re currently running an older version of PHP, such as PHP 7.2 or 7.3, upgrading to PHP 8.2 could yield substantial performance gains and access to new features. Benchmarks have shown PHP 8.2 to be significantly faster than PHP 7, making websites and applications built with PHP 8.2 more responsive and capable of handling higher traffic loads.

When choosing a PHP version for your project, it’s generally a good idea to go with the latest stable release, as it will include the most recent bug fixes, improvements, and security updates. It’s important to keep your PHP version up to date to benefit from these enhancements and to ensure the security and stability of your applications.

However, before making the leap, it’s essential to ensure that your existing codebase is compatible with PHP 8.2. Some older code might require updates to work seamlessly with the latest version.


PHP continues to be a foundational scripting language in the world of web development, powering dynamic and interactive websites. While PHP 8.2 brings exciting performance gains and language features, it’s essential to consider compatibility with your existing codebase and the WordPress ecosystem before making the upgrade. By staying up-to-date with PHP versions and making informed choices, you’ll ensure that your web projects are secure, efficient, and equipped to provide the best user experiences possible.

At Bytes.co, we’re here to help you navigate these decisions and create exceptional web experiences powered by the latest web technologies. As both web developers and hosting providers, we’re well equipped to help you make the jump from your current PHP version to PHP 8.2. Contact us for help upgrading your website to the latest PHP version.

Shea Lincourt

Shea Lincourt

Shea has lived in Vermont her entire life. She grew up in southern Vermont and later moved to Burlington to pursue a degree in marketing at the University of Vermont. Upon graduating cum laude, Shea started her marketing career as a digital marketing intern at Bytes.co before becoming our digital marketing analyst.

Skip Footer