PHP 8.0 and 8.1 are now available

PHP 8.0 and 8.1 are now available

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PHP 8.0 & 8.1 are both available on WHC's Web Hosting, Reseller Hosting, and Managed WordPress plans. For Cloud and Dedicated plans, 8.0 is now available provided you have the latest cPanel version. These upgrades bring superior performance and several new features to websites that use PHP. If you wish to upgrade right away, you can enable the latest version from your control panel.

What is PHP?

PHP is a powerful programming language that is used to build interactive websites. It’s an integral part of the popular hosting stack (known as the LAMP stack, which stands for Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP). Many platforms such as WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, and Magento all use PHP. So do popular apps such as Facebook, Instagram, Zoom, and Wikipedia.

What’s new in PHP 8.0?

PHP 8.0 is a major version update and a remarkable milestone, it brings several new features in addition to much-improved performance enhancements.

PHP 8.0 is available for Web Hosting, Reseller Hosting, and Managed WordPress plans. Also Cloud and Dedicated plans with the latest cPanel version.

Better performance

The most celebrated feature to come with PHP 8 is the Just-in-time (JIT) compiler. This long-awaited addition has brought performance to a whole new level. The JIT compiler replaces the traditional PHP runtime compiler, and testing has shown a significant performance boost when running version 8.0.

New features

For developers, PHP 8.0 comes with a number of new features, such as:

  • Union types
  • Named arguments
  • Match expressions
  • Attributes
  • Constructor property promotion
  • Nullsafe operator
  • Weak maps
  • Just In Time compilation

Check the official PHP 8.0 Release Announcement for the full list of features.

What’s new in PHP 8.1?

As with every release, PHP 8.1 has added some useful new features as well as quality-of-life improvements.

PHP 8.1 is now available for Web Hosting, Reseller Hosting, and Managed WordPress plans.

New features

For developers, PHP 8.1 brings the following enhancements:

  • Enumerations
  • Read-only properties
  • Fibers
  • Pure intersection types
  • First-class callable syntax
  • A "final" modifier for class constants
  • New fsync and fdatasync functions
  • New array_is_list function
  • Explicit octal numeral notation

See the official PHP 8.1 Release Announcement for the full list of features.

Why should I update to the latest version?

If you’re a developer, looking to take advantage of the new features right away - you’ll likely want to go ahead and upgrade. For the rest of us, there’s no reason to rush at this stage.

Updating your PHP version can present potential incompatibilities with some websites, but it’s necessary in the long run in order to stay secure and potentially improve performance. While some websites continue to run on older versions of PHP, it’s wise to ensure you use at minimum a currently supported version. See PHP Supported Versions for the version support calendar.

Why should I not update to the latest version?

Before updating and in order to minimize disruptions, it’s recommended to first update any plugins, themes, and applications used on your websites. An outdated theme or plugin may encounter problems with the latest version of PHP, and could potentially cause problems on your site. 

For this reason, it’s often a good idea to wait for a few months after a major release, before upgrading. This gives theme and plugin developers time to add support for the latest version. 

How do I change the PHP version?

It’s easy to switch PHP versions, right from your cPanel. If you discover a problem on your website following the switch, you may use this procedure to switch back to a prior version.

Where does PHP go from here?

2022 is touted to be another great year for PHP. Expect further performance enhancements, added core stability, and awesome new pragmatic features.

If your website uses PHP, you can check to keep up with the latest developments. 

About the author: Tim Robards

Tim is WHC's Technical Writer & Integrator. When he's not writing user guides or filming tutorials, you’ll likely find him building websites or enjoying the great outdoors.

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