PHP 7.3 is Already Available at FastComet

Our constant dedication delivering at your fingertips the latest stable versions of PHP and other features as soon as we can, after rigorously testing it throughout our hosting environment goes without saying. This way, we enable customers to take advantage of the innovations and useful features that will make their site more optimized and secure. Adding the new version of PHP 7.3 to our servers is another step we do to provide a stable and well-functioning online environment for our customers.

PHP 7.3 for all FastComer users

PHP 7.3.0 was released for general availability (GA) on December 6th, 2018 and has been turning heads ever since it got delivered. From January 2019, this version is also available to all FastComet customers and can easily be selected via the FastComet PHP Selector.

For those that wait for a point release or two before upgrading to a new PHP release on your development box or web server, PHP 7.3.1 is also out as the first bug-fix release since last month’s big PHP 7.3 release.

What’s New in PHP 7.3?

It looks like the new version of PHP brings loads of fresh new and useful features, functionalities, deprecations, essential security measures and a good number of bug fixes. This release is all about improved developer experience.

If you haven’t read much on PHP 7.3 yet, here is a short synopsis of the updates introduced in version 7.3 that have significantly improved PHP 7.3 performance when compared to previous versions.

  • Flexible Heredoc and Nowdoc syntax – Allows the addition of long strings without the need to add newline characters. This makes the code easier to read and understand. This functionality was also available in previous versions of PHP but is now much easier to implement.
  • Allow a trailing Commas in function calls
  • JSON_THROW_ON_ERROR flag for json_encode() and json_decode() – This new feature provides a new, long-awaited way of handling JSON errors. So far, developers have been finding it difficult to make a mistake because they were not notified of it. With PHP 7.3, there will be a change in the way these errors will be handled.PHP 7.3 introduces a new flag, JSON_THROW_ON_ERROR, which instructs both json_decode() and json_encode() JSON functions to throw a JsonException exception, which packages the error code and message neatly together.
  • list() reference assignment
  • Argon2 Password Hash Enhancements

As with all updates, there are bound to be some things that are deprecated. Here are some of the features that will become obsolete:

  • Removal of Case-Insensitive Constants
  • Removal of image2wbmp() Function

The rough outline of the PHP 7.3 release cycle is specified in the PHP Wiki and you can also get all cut-out-‘n-keep details about PHP 7.3 by reading the PHP 7 changelog on the official site.

WordPress Performance Benchmarks

We received quite a lot of questions lately from our community in regards to the newer PHP 7.3 version and more precisely – is it faster than PHP 7.2? And should I use PHP 7.3 for my WordPress site?

Our primary goal has been and will always be to deliver the fastest performance technically possible, and we ensure that by constantly trying to provide the latest and most significant features to our end users. In a true geek fashion, we all here at FastComet love benchmarks.

Linux benchmarking website Phoronix conducted a benchmark test when PHP 7.3 Alpha1 was released. It turns out that in the popular PHPBench benchmark, PHP 7.3.0 Alpha 1 is about 7% faster than the current PHP 7.2 stable version and 22% faster than PHP 7.0:

Even if we are ignoring the language additions, PHP 7.3 is worthwhile for web administrators simply due to the noticeable performance improvements. Easily with a click of a button can net you performance benefits ranging from anywhere between 7 to 17% improvements and depending on the metrics checked astonishing 42 percents. Onto the other big question then:

How to Upgrade to PHP 7.3?

As always performance shouldn’t come at the expense of convenience for the end user. This is why we offer you, our customers, the choice to easily select your desired PHP version from your cPanel with us, and make the migration from 5.6 or any other to the newest version with a few clicks of a button by following our tutorial on changing your PHP version.

We have recently ensured that our new users utilize on default PHP 7.2, thanks to the underlying benefits of it.

Recommended: When switching to a different PHP version, you should check your project compatibility before starting using it.

Although you would find that WordPress 5.0 official page recommends PHP 7.3, some other applications don’t work on PHP 7.3 yet. Magento 2, Symfony 3.3.6, ownCloud 10.0.10 and others don’t fully support it at the time of writing this article.

Moving to the latest version of the scripting language should not harm the site’s work, and any of our clients can do so by following the steps to update the PHP version or by contacting our Technical Support for further assistance.

Summary

Is your website still running on PHP 5.6? Except that your website is slower than necessary, it is probably also unsafe. PHP 5.6 will not receive any new security updates anymore. So what are you waiting for? It is time to get that extra performance boost. Upgrade your site to be PHP 7.3 compatible today, and get the 10-17% extra performance boost!

Ivo

As part of the Customer Happiness Team, Ivo takes pride in being among the front-liners for FastComet, not only in helping resolve customer issues, but also in helping improve on the service itself. Through the FastComet Blog, he is trying to cover the whole range of information about what you are concerned with and want to know about your site and our services.