EP370 - The WordPress PHP Update Problem: Making New Code and Keeping the Old - WPwatercooler
This episode number 370. Of wp water cooler the wordpress. Php, update problem making you code and keeping me old. This episode, is brought to you by serverpress, makers desktop server they make local wordpress, development easy check them out over at serverpress.com. In our new show the query, go check out the query, over at wpbr4.com. Slash the query, ask jason coster a question. I'm jason tucker you can find me over at jason tucker on twitter, my website, is jason tucker dot blog. I'm steve zank i'm the founder of zeke interactive. And i run the oc wordpress, meetup. I'm, steve reed i make wordpress teach wordpress speech wordpress, at daily media, on all the things. Uh my name is russell aaron i do things with wordpress, in las vegas. It's jason kosper, aka. Fatmo. Go support us over on patreon go to patreon.com. Wp, water, cooler. Hit the little subscribe button we appreciate, it and click the bell, the bell let you know that we're uh. That we're going live like we did just now and you'll get notifications. Of that. We're live hello everyone, how are you doing we are live this time we actually hit the live button. For those of you in the uh. You know listening to us later, or watching us um, we had some issues on friday, and, uh hopefully things work. For the record i have a lot of issues. We're just we're just saving you from having to go to therapy that is all, that happens in here. This really is just therapy for me that's all this is. Oh man so um, yesterday we had say reid on the show we're hoping that she may jump in at some point if she does that's great if not we're still going to be discussing, this anyhow. We're going to be talking about, wordpress. And. Dealing with php. And versions of php. And how you should uh you know, go about looking at that. How uh, how should we uh start this thing off i'm always. I don't wanna i don't wanna set the trajectory. Incorrectly, here, yeah before we get into opinions. Let me give a little bit of a factual history, on the technologies. Uh, that sounds great. So i'm looking at i'm looking at wikipedia, right now and according to wikipedia.
Right Ph, i, know. Php. Five, six. Uh, was released, on, in august of 2014. Um and was supported. Through december. Of, 2018. Right the latest version of php, is seven 7.x. Depending on what server you're running, uh there was no php, 6 it was it was skipped. Php. 7. 2 is probably the, well 73, is the current version 7.2, is still supported. But it's moving fast so seven two is supported, only through november, of this year, uh seven three came out uh in december, of 2018. Uh, coincidentally, right one feet when five six was uh was sunsetted, or supported, through. And it's it is supported, through december of next year, right and so, that's just a little bit of history of php. And the reason we're talking about this is there's still a lot of servers out there that are running. Php, 5.6. Which again, was only supported, through, december, of, 2018.. It is a. Six-year-old. As of this month a six-year-old, technology. Dang, and the whole, the whole world's running off of it that's fun yeah, and so and so the issue is and this comes up in every version of wordpress. Is, should wordpress, support. Older versions of php. Than the currently supported, version, right meaning. Should it support, versions of php, prior, to, php7. Dot. Or. Php56. Right and. Um. You know the, the the, the. The reason this came up the reason we're talking about this is because. Um, developers. Uh you know always want the latest and greatest they want the latest and greatest because. Um, you know it, the code's more efficient it's faster. There's less code to write, um and that's especially true of php. Um. And we just don't want to have to support legacy. Stuff, like php56. But. Wordpress, is now approaching, 40. Of the entire internet, uh so about 40, of the entire internet runs on wordpress. And so there is a percentage, of those wordpress servers about, 20. Uh that run. A version of php, that's prior to php, 7.. So, there is a conundrum. So that's that's all the facts. That's it that's i'm i'm gonna go enjoy my saturday. So there was a track ticket, that, um was opened, by, one, of, uh the developers, in the community. And. Basically, the argument, that ended up happening. Around, this was. Uh they wanted to raise, the minimum version, of php. Up, and drop support for five six. Uh, and. They. Brought a bunch of facts and figures, and numbers. And, uh saying that over 80 percent of installs, are on php. 7 and up. Etc. Uh however. Um, our benevolent. Benevolent, dictator, for life, uh. Mr. Uh slim mullenweg. Said. That. Um. Said that no it's not enough, we need to get the number, of people. Running, on a php, version of, seven, or up. Uh lower, he he thinks it should be down at like five percent.
Um, So, uh the developer, who opened the the track ticket responded. Uh with kind of a i'm taking my ball and going home closed the track took it. Uh, and said. Yeah, and said, all these facts and figures, aren't gonna mean a damn thing. When. Uh we have this discussion, again. So, when we're ready to have this discussion. Go ahead and open a brand new ticket, like. Screw this discussion, like just forget it ever happened. And. Down the memory hole, it goes. And so there's there's, a, that that all happened, and there's a couple of issues there right and so i think, um. The the problem with that logic, right if that is the logic the problem with that logic, is, that's based on. Uh, users, right if we're saying, users, we want the number of users. Right down below, you know five percent, or smaller. Smaller, um. Smaller than 20, or whatever that number is going to be. Users, have no idea, what version of php, they're running, right, site owners have no idea, what version of php. They're running nor do they care, they don't know what version of wordpress they're running they don't know what version of plugins they're running, they just want the site to work. That's all they care about. So this is something. I was going to do. Yeah, as somebody who's worked at a web host i can tell you this um. Three, web hosts now um. Even the web hosts, barely, have. Any idea, of what versions of php, their users are running, like you know we've got stats, and figures and everything else, but that's something that we have to like dig into. And figure out how dire the situation. Is, and honestly. We're just busy keeping the customer, sites, and servers, and everything else up, we would like them to switch to the newer versions of php. Because, they're, they're faster, they're more responsive. Better performance. Everything, else, but. If the customer is happy, we don't want to mess with that, because that means more issues for our support. So this is like a slippery, slope all around. I think bluehost, a few years ago. Um. Did and i'll give them credit for this i don't like to give them credit a lot. But they. Um. They did a thing where they, um, basically. Tried to force as many people as possible. Up on more current versions, of wordpress, and php. And. Basically, like across, the board, because they're. One of the less expensive, hosts out there. Some would say cheaper. But let's just say less expensive, hosts. People. Really, just kind of put a wordpress, site up and forget about it and don't care about it, um, and. That there they realized that they were part of the problem, and they worked on pushing. Like raising, the tide. For a lot of folks. Right. Well and, sorry i didn't cut you off with the problem there right so those have the hosts have have another problem on the other side of this where, if they go ahead and just upgrade everybody to the latest version of php. Those sites are going to break because they might not be on the latest version of wordpress. Or if they are the latest version of wordpress they may have outdated, plugins, there just may be some sort of technology.
That's In their site that's not compatible, with the latest version of php, because. People don't know to update their stuff. Right and so, the hosts. Have a problem as well. Yeah, they end up seeing something like this. Where like for instance it's like you know the php, update is required, this is from the, site health if i remember correctly. But like you you end up seeing something like this and you're just like, wait, it's detected, an insecure. Version of php. Okay what's a php. And. Why is it not secure, anymore, i thought i had ssl, turned on, what's going on here like it's like that that level of you know, mentality. And, and and jokingly. As we were preparing for this show i wrote a a, fake pull request for wordpress, core, basically, saying, you know if if the version of php, is less than seven, then. Um write a bunch of expletives, about, uh, about calling your hosts, and then die, right so. The whole thing just doesn't load right so, uh but, that, there's a problem there right because. Even if even if we did something like that where we're forcing, it, right. Um. You've got a customer support issue, right, because any of these messages in the dashboard. The the users are going to immediately call the hosts, and say and say what the hell. Hosts will do everything they can, to avoid an influx, of support tickets. Whether that be calls, whether that be, like physical email tickets whatever. They're doing, everything, they can. To make sure that the customer, is happy, and if that means that the customer, is. Maybe ill-informed. And and not necessarily. Knowing that they need to upgrade their php. That things would be better for them. If they upgraded, their their site and php. You know then then they won't they won't do it. All they know is something doesn't work right so it must be a hotel right. Right that, that's what they know somebody who is not tech who is not technical. That's all they're gonna know is, is you know and they're gonna call and say fix my. Yeah. Steve, steve with the s bomb i was dropping. I was dropping. It's saturday. I was dropping him yesterday, before we realized, we weren't recording. But uh, wow. Um, and so and so we're, we're caught we're stuck, right right because. Who, who, who who makes the first move here. Right. And it's. It's even harder, because. Um, if you upgrade, to get on the latest and greatest. Say. Wordpress. Uh five five just came out like oh i'll just i'll just upgrade and put myself on the latest and greatest, well guess what, if you're running, uh divi. Elementor. Uh, the woocommerce, square plug-in and woocommerce. Itself. You're gonna have problems with woocommerce, 5.5. Because, they just drop support for jquery, migrate. And. Uh, all of those like, most of those plugins, require. Uh jquery, migrate, they, didn't, test. Their plugin. Against. Uh five five and went and it's always worked in the past. Why the hell not. So so that so that and that's that's the that's what doesn't make a lot of sense here right is is they're kind of picking and choosing technologies, we're not requiring. The latest and greatest php. But wordpress, five five, uh updates the latest jquery. Right, which as you said if you if you if you update five five and you're running woocommerce, and you do not upgrade. To woocommerce, four four at the same time, you have conflicts. Now they're not major, but there are dashboard, issues that, that, uh don't allow you to make key edits to your to say your products.
Right, And that that's a big deal. All right so, and so, um, again, i i'm kind of stuck here who who, who makes the first move here right do you, do you force all this because, because, you know theoretically, wordpress. Could put something in that says you know what if you're running five five, woocommerce, 4-4, is required. Right you have to you have to upgrade. You don't get a choice here. What percentage, of wordpress. Would, would just break, if we were to upgrade it. Is it 20. Is it 10. Is it just. Um. Eig, hosted, sites and that's it like what like what percentage, is it that we're we're looking at here. And does it matter. I mean. What what what percent, is. Matt gonna be happy. Right yeah does it matter, and i i'm not calling out matt here i'm just saying in general, what. What does it matter, right, let's say let's say it's thirty percent of the sites that's gonna break that are gonna break, okay. Thirty percent of wordpress, users are pissed off okay, let's say we reduce that down to. It's five. Right, you still have five percent of users that are gonna be pissed off, right. And if those five percent happen to be the most vocal users, it doesn't matter the percentage doesn't matter, right if those five percent take to twitter. It's the same it's the same result. Yeah i mean when when, one of the things that you know cosplay i'm gonna kind of uh, uh set you up here but you know yesterday, on our after show we kind of we kind of yeah we kind of, started talking a little bit about like what are the the ways in which you can kind of approach this. And um, kosper started talking and i'm just going like. We've seen this in the past, so kosper can you talk a little bit about, what you wanted to discuss, uh, today about that yeah, i i, really think, that um, you know if we want to, push wordpress, forward as steve said we're kind of picking and choosing, on the technologies.
Um, That were, you know that we're pushing forward, here. Why don't we. Say, with the the five five branch. Uh basically, declare, the the five, branch. Uh our our long term support, or lts, branch. Um, and say. Okay. You can stay. On five six. If you, are. And and, and like try to keep pushing people up but if you want the latest and greatest, if you want the new. Uh hot, um, whatever. Things we're doing with gutenberg. Or. With, um, you know any other core improvements. If you want your site to be as fast as possible. Then get on wordpress, six. Wordpress, six will be the, the new, possibly, breaking, changes. Um, and i know that we have had. A, great. Um. Platform. That hasn't, basically, caused. Like breaking, changes. Um, over the the course, of. Um, you know. Wordpress, even being a thing which is amazing. Because i know drupal. Um. Has. Had breaking changes in the past where you basically have to like, redo, your entire drupal, site to move it from drupal. 6 to 7. Joomla. Magento. Magento, does not even it does not even, upgrade. Right. So, um, you know there's magento. There's. Um. Joomla, there's, drupal. All of these have, these breaking, changes, i think we don't have to have. A, hard hard-breaking. Change like they do, but i think we can say. Listen. If you are going to be. On. Wordpress. You know like. 6.0. You know then. You have to. Have, an upgrade if you want the new features, then you have to push your host, you have to, and we put the pressure on the hosts. To because they don't want the tickets. To, to kind of, upgrade. And, push and we use the pressure from the community. To force this to happen. Yeah i mean this was happening, for instance like with red hat red hat linux, has been doing this for their enterprise, edition, um, for forever. Um and if you if you're thinking what about what about something that i would normally use as a as a normal human. Uh facebook, it's you know uh, firefox, itself, has its own um enterprise, solution, as well which, you know for me working at a church and having, uh having software, that. May be an older version, of the software, that still needs to run, like a web-based. Product that needs to run on a browser. I can't have a browser just randomly, update, and now i can't have something work on a sunday. So to have something like this, it allows, for me to go and say, i can now plan my upgrades, and not have it forced upon me so it's, it's a little bit of a nicer way of kind of approaching this i think.
It's The right balance and the extreme, of this is what apple and google do right apple and google don't do this at all they just they just. You, we we're we're going to the latest and greatest and if you've got out the data technology, it's just incompatible, it's not going to work, right they do it all the time. Right yep and look what happens, chrome does it all the time and there's no enterprise, version of chrome. They just they just, they just sunset, stuff, right so stuff's just not gonna work. And what is and what does the web do in response. They go to where chrome. And to wear. Uh you know to where chroma's, going. Yes they. Say apple straight up has a page called. Vintage. Products. Yeah yeah. Yeah, don't use this stuff anymore. Yeah, just don't use this anymore we don't support it that's how they do it do you have a g4, quicksilver. Okay, it was made in 2002.. You probably don't need to be using that anymore, yes, right. Yes. I i, know that somebody's, somebody's, uncle out there is probably still using, their their g4, quicksilver, mac and they. Love it. And as long as he doesn't, uh upgrade his os, fine, as a matter of fact if you take that computer, and you go to upgrade your os it won't install, that's what they do. That's fine. You you can use it forever, that's fine you just don't have the latest and greatest stuff, that's fine that, that that joke patch that you wrote in chat, of. Died, if not. Like why not, have why not have a patch that says hey you can't upgrade. Because of this, they have been pushing, security. Uh. Patches. Back, to, wordpress, 3.7. What is so different. What is so different about saying. You can't upgrade, past wordpress, 5.5. Or 5.6, or whatever. If you do not match the minimum php, requirements. The host, the the host would have to make one key change right it's the manage host i'm talking about so the liquid web the world nexus, wp, engine, there is a button, in your panel that says, automatically. Upgrade core, they're going to have to add a little bit of logic, into that script that says. If. Php. Equals five six, right if they happen to be running five six on the server, then, disable that button you just don't have auto upgrades anymore. Yeah. Yeah i'll i'll write it i think it's three lines of code i'll, i'll i'll submit a, pull request for you. Wonderful. So so is it is it on the host this goes back to the initial question you had steve is it on the host is it on the user is it on, wordpress. The community, wordpress, the organization. Wordpress. Mr wordpress, himself, like what is it that we need to, to push this. And say. Okay we're gonna we're gonna set these guys aside, all your cat blogs, all your websites you're never gonna update. You forgot you even had a website, at least you know that thing is as secure as it can be, we'll put on this side and then on this side of the place we're gonna make it so that you can do your upgrades, do all your auto upgrades. And kind of make all that stuff happen, like how do we how do we do that, yeah so you asked is it on the host or is it on uh wordpress. Yes is the answer, right so it's it's kind of on both, but i think, i think that i think the wordpress, team.
Has To lead this, charge, right they, have they they're the ones who have to make this happen and the hosts will fall in line, here's the thing those twenty percent of people, that are on wordpress, five six excuse me php, five six or, something less than php, 7, right that aren't updating, their technology. They don't value their site. Right those aren't people that are that are that are making. That they're doing anything serious with their site i'm sorry, i know that's a bold statement and there may be there may be exceptions, that rule but then i would bet the majority, of those, those 20 percent. Right, are people that are running a cat blog. They're people that are paying for for, two dollar shared hosting, is that even a thing anymore is it sub ten dollar hosting. Right. Those are these people. Right and so. I'm sorry, you you know if you don't value your site enough to to un to, to invest, in a decent host, that cares about this stuff. You lose, or you just run an outdated piece of the software. That's it. Yeah. Yeah, thanks, to the i, i, always, never want to mention it but thanks to the pandemic, i've been helping a lot of friends get their businesses. And. Just. Generally, like informationally. Like stuff online. And. I. Am not. Even though i work at a host i'm i'm not necessarily. Um. Tied to any one host, i, say here, are the the features and benefits, of all these different hosts. Pick the one you want, and we'll go with it, so i have looked, at most, of the large hosts, out there, uh, wp, engine. Kinsta. Um. You know, um. Liquid, web, i've looked at. Um. You know all of these folks, and, um. The new installs. That people are making, are all on. A php, version past seven. I mean i i see. Uh the default. For, some of these, servers, uh, php, 74. Which is like the new name. Yeah. Yeah and. I mean and and this is i mean i even i've even helped a few people, on, um, on bluehost. On, godaddy. And and even they're running. Their new installs, are running. Php. 7 and up. Uh so you, you're right steve, that these people, are not uh the people who are back on five six. Um. Really, are. Holding back either because, it's a site that they forgot, about. It's a site, that. Um, i mean i i. I know people, uh, and some of these people that i've helped set. Business sites up for, um they set up the site and then i'm like okay here's how you log in and i've gone back and looked. You know this is back like in march i've gone back and looked, and they haven't touched anything on their site in months. And, again if you're out there and you're listening to this, this is this podcast. Right, and and, and you're not working with a developer. And you haven't, you haven't logged into your dashboard, you're not working with one of the hosts that, that kosper just mentioned. Right, this, is a site that you just haven't, really, looked at or cared about. Right, this applies to you, right if, it is a site you actually want to keep. You need you need to maintain, it whether that's something, whether it's doing it on your own, or hiring somebody to go look at this for you or just working with a decent host. Any of these things are going to help kind of solve this for you. Here's the thing. You know wordpress, gets a new version what about now every, six four to six months, right, we're getting new versions of wordpress.
Php, Is coming out with a new version every year, right so they're they're on a similar cycle, right, so seven, seven, three is the current one, uh that's good that supported, through december of 2021. Like cosper said seven four just came out uh last year it's supported, through 2022. Eight, php, eight is due out at the end of this year. So it's it's not something. If you don't, do this. You're gonna get left behind at some point. Yeah, and and the jump from php. Five six to seven. Just making that jump makes your sight, from from a performance, perspective, so much faster, absolutely. And when php. Comes out when we get that little christmas, present in december, or so. Um. We're to end up. With, an even faster because php, 8 is going to have some just in time compiling, stuff that's thrown in and everything else. It's going to get even faster. And. The the people who hold back the people who hold back are, going to. You know, still, just be on this old outdated, stuff. And. I mean it's in the it's in the hosts interest, really to get people on. The latest and greatest versions. Of php. Because. That is a lower cost they are consuming. Fewer, resources. Serving, up individual, hits. So. The basically the lower their cost, is the the better. Um, there is a, make, wordpress. Hosting, group. Uh in the core slack. And on. Make.wordpress.org. And if you, work with a web host. Especially. Go. Hang out in that channel. Go. Be heard in that channel. Go. Maybe they need to have, a listening, session, with people, who. Just end users. To and and kind of open that up. And see. Like what the concerns, are with upgrading, php. With, pushing people, towards, upgrading, php. And, as a as a site owner, at a minimum your host should offer you one of two things right, they should have a php, compatibility, checker, right so that if you are on an older version of php, and you're looking to upgrade you can run, you can run this compatibility, checker, it'll let you know if your site is ready to go or if you've got problems. If they don't have that barring that they should have a staging area for you where you can go. Copy your site over the staging area and test it on the new version of php. If your site, if your your host doesn't offer you one of those two things. And you value, your website. You should consider moving hosts. Yeah. Absolutely and moving hosts is not difficult, anymore, it used to be a thing, it's not a thing anymore, it's so, much easier. Sorry liquid web nexus and wp engine all offer a migration, tool, they do it for you. Yeah, and and even if uh the host that you're considering moving to doesn't have a migration, tool, uh the, people who, basically wrote the migration, tools for all of those people, uh, my great guru. Is in the the plugin directory. And it works. Fantastically. You get you give me your email address you get to deal with the occasional. Hey, you should use migrate guru for all your sites blah blah, sort of, junk mail. Yeah but oh my god it's it's so easy. Yeah. You give them ftp. Or sftp, details. Or you give them if they, have partnered. With one of the hosts like flywheel. You give them login, information. And they just handle, it. Yeah. And, if you don't value your site. Fine let it die, it's fine. Because it will. It's okay, at least at least at least we'll reduce those percentages.
That's What i'm saying is i don't know, what percentage. Of the sites would break if we did a full-blown. Forced, upgrade. Of, of, everything, and would. How much of that would survive how much of the 40, would survive the apocalypse. It's y2k, all over again jason we're gonna have one gas pump out and barstow, go, down. Right. That's true. Oh my goodness. Hey well uh. Thank you both of you for, for doing this show especially on a saturday, um, i know i know i have plenty of things going on today steve, steve, on the other hand said you know it's just like every other day. It is, this is a cute, this could be a tuesday, right now i wouldn't even know, it doesn't matter. You can tell i just, if you're watching the video you can tell i just rolled out of bed by the uh, by the bedhead, herron, quarantine, haircut, that i got going on. All right. I broke quarantine, and got mine done so there you go. All right guys talk to y'all later here's our outro. Help us out on. Patreon go to, patreon.comwp. Watercooler. We'd really appreciate, your support, over there, here's the fine folks that helped us out thank you very, much, for all that you're doing for helping us out over there if you want to get listed on there you can do that as well. Hit the subscribe, button click the little bell, so you'll be notified, when we go live again. And if you're not aware, the show is also a podcast. I've actually been pushing these podcasts, out the same, time in which uh, we've uh we've launched these shows so go over to our website, at dequeuercore.com. Subscribe. To learn how to subscribe to that stuff talk to you all later you have a good one.