PHP5, PHP7, and PHP8 -Which One Should You Use?

PHP is a server-side scripting language designed for web development and also used as a general-purpose programming language. It was created by Rasmus Lerdorf in 1994. Today it enjoys support from a broad group of developers.

It is a widely-used open-source coding language that helps make websites more interactive and dynamic. It is used to create dynamic web pages, administrative panels, and e-commerce systems. PHP is free and easy to learn, making it a popular choice for web developers. It is widely used in developing applications that require a high degree of flexibility.

It can easily be embedded in HTML. Much of its syntax is based on C, Java, and Perl, with a few PHP-specific features. Over time, many versions of the language have been released with the enhancement over the previous version. Let’s have a look at the differences between various versions of PHP.

PHP 5, PHP 7 or PHP 8 - which one to choose

Differences Between PHP 5, PHP 7 and PHP 8:

There are four major versions of PHP at this time: PHP3, PHP4, PHP5, and PHP7. The latest stable version is PHP8. It has many new features that make writing web applications faster and more secure. However, the earlier versions are still being used by developers. In fact, a lot of websites are still using the older versions of PHP worldwide. Most administrators upgrade their PHP versions at the first opportunity they get. Most WordPress Hosting providers have also upgraded their software versions.

Let’s check some important changes that have happened in PHP8 over the previous versions of the language. We will compare PHP8 with PHP5 and PHP7 here. As these versions are still among the most used versions of this coding language.

  1. There are a lot of fundamental changes between PHP5 and PHP7. In general, performance between the two has been fine-tuned, with PHP7 obviously having an upper hand. Still, considerations like Unicode support might make a developer lean one way or another.

  2. PHP5 is the fifth major version of the PHP language, released on the 14th of December 2004, which was approx two decades ago. PHP7 was released on the 7th of January 2015 as an upgrade to PHP5. PHP8 was officially released (after remaining in a release candidate phase for a little over a month) 26th of November 2020. Obviously, a lot has changed in the rapidly evolving software industry. The latest PHP8 variant has been developed to best match the requirement of today.

  3. PHP versions are often named after famous programmers; this is the case with PHP5, codenamed Rasmus Lerdorf after the creator of the language. PHP7’s name is a reference to cURL, another open-source project overseen by PHP’s creator, and its successor, PHP8, was named in honor of PHP’s current lead architect, Andi Gutmans.

  4. One of the most significant changes in PHP8 is the forced migration to object-oriented programming. Previously, a significant part of manipulation was done with primitive data types, such as arrays and strings. It definitely makes the job easy. Although, some orthodox PHP coders may not like it.

  5. Now, starting from version 8.0, variables should be declared in the class, name of an object must be used instead of simple variables (ArrayObject, SplObjectStorage).

  6. It is a programming language that powers everything from your blog to the most popular websites in the world. PHP7 introduced significant performance enhancements over PHP5, such as the Zend engine, an opcode cache, and a new memory manager. PHP8 has added more features that make it easier to write code and reduce bugs.

Why is it optimal that the Hosting company supports as new a version of PHP as possible?

It is almost always optimal for a hosting company to use as new a version of PHP as possible. New versions of PHP typically bring with them new features and optimization that make hosting sites faster and more secure.

The newest versions are able to stay up to date with the latest updates. An additional benefit is that customers are more likely to use their service since it will appear faster on search engines.

PHP is a programming language that works with the MYSQL database. It is getting more users day by day, which means that the programmers are improving it to allow it to do more. A newer version means that it will be a better choice of PHP in the future. As the web hosting business owner, you have to keep up with the latest technology updates to provide your clients with fast and efficient services.

PHP has more than 3 million users and more than 20% of the world’s websites. At the same time, most users are still on obsolete versions. If you have a modern website and use a recent version of PHP, you will have access to many new functions and capabilities in terms of performance, security, and stability. Besides that, your site will be significantly faster and more responsive for your visitors, something every web admin cares about!


By reading this blog, you have learned that it is almost always optimal for a hosting company to use the newest version of PHP as possible. A newer version of PHP is beneficial to both the customer and the hosting company.

You are armed with the latest information about PHP. The language is constantly being improved, and new versions typically bring new features and optimizations that make hosting sites faster and more secure. Choosing the correct and newest version of PHP is essential for hosting companies to stay up to date and provide their customers with the best possible experience.

Have you read our other blog posts or seen our many setup guides for WordPress plugins?