PHP 8 – Improvements, Features & JIT Compiler.

GreenGeeks is proud to announce that we now support PHP 8 on our web hosting platform. This means you can benefit from one of the most impactful versions of the coding framework since its inception. The new version comes with deprecating old functions while mitigating attacks from hackers and bots.

If you need to change the version of PHP your website uses, you can do so from your cPanel dashboard.

Updating PHP is Critical to Security and Function

Keeping software of any kind updated is crucial to online activity. In the case of PHP 8, it all comes down to two very important elements:

  • Keeping your website efficient
    New iterations of website coding are often pushed out to streamline the development process. This, in turn, provides a much better user experience.
  • Keeping your website safe
    Updates such as this help prevent hacks and exploits later found in earlier versions. The end result is a stronger platform in terms of security.

In essence, it just makes logical sense to keep all of your files, plugins, tools, and operational software updated.

What’s New in PHP 8?

There are a lot of new additions incorporated with the newest version of PHP. But, some of the most important include:

JIT Compiler

The “Just-in-Time” compiler, or JIT, is one of the more exciting for developers. As PHP is an interpreted programming language, it is translated into machine code when it is run. JIT will keep track of the most common coding and optimize that translation when it is used again.

In other words, it vastly increases performance for specific actions. Your apps and sites will get a bit of a speed boost, depending on how code-intensive your developments are when publishing.

More Strict Type Juggling

Type Juggling is something PHP allows that helps speed up the process of development. It can save time when writing code as it allows for loose comparison operators. What this means is that coding doesn’t have to be absolutely precise in order to run.

However, Type Juggling can also lead to a wide scope of warnings, errors, and unintended calculations.

In PHP 8, the Type Juggling is more strict. This means more effort will be needed by developers to enter correct and precise information for apps to work.

While it may be a bit more inconvenient, it does improve security. There are some exploits that take advantage of Type Juggling behaviors to get around various security checks. The new version cuts a lot of those loopholes out altogether.

Streamlined Coding

A lot of the coding elements of PHP have been streamlined to simplify various processes. For instance, constructor properties, union types, and match expressions have been reworked to take around half the code for the same procedure.

For a breakdown of everything related to PHP 8, read through the release of all the available changes.

Should You Update to PHP 8?

With new coding comes a myriad of concerns, especially for WordPress users. Although WordPress is compatible with the new elements of PHP 8, some of the older plugins and themes may not.

In some instances, the site could break after updating.

At this time, GreenGeeks offers PHP 8, but the default is still the 7.4.12 version as it is currently stable. You can update to PHP 8 if you wish, but keep in mind that not everyone has made adjustments for the new coding.

This means that some of your plugins may stop working or even cause your site to go down altogether. If that’s the case, revert back to an earlier version and it should solve the issue.

Keeping the Internet Efficient

With each version of PHP, coding becomes more efficient. And the more efficient it becomes, the better the user experience. It’ll be interesting to see what PHP 8 has in store for performance improvements with WordPress.

Feel free to try PHP 8 for yourself. Just keep in mind how it may impact sites utilizing older coding methods.

3 thoughts on “PHP 8 – Improvements, Features & JIT Compiler.”

  1. Thanks for the post Michael. Are you aware of what (if any) performance increases PHP 8 has vs. your default 7.4 for WordPress + WooCommerce sites?

    1. Not as of yet. I know that certain snippets of code were rendered useless when PHP 7 came out, but I haven’t noticed or heard of anyone having issues with PHP 8 yet. Usually, the code snippets would break because of the change in code format, but it wasn’t very common.

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