Upgrading Your Website Code for the Latest PHP Versions

Updating Website Code for New PHP

Upgrading Your Website Code for the Latest PHP Versions

Upgrading your website code for the latest PHP versions is crucial for business owners because it ensures the security, performance, and longevity of their online presence. New PHP versions come with improved features, bug fixes, and most importantly, security updates that protect against potential cyber threats. Ignoring these updates can lead to vulnerabilities, slow website performance, and eventually, compatibility issues with modern web technologies.

By investing in code updates, businesses not only enhance their website’s functionality but also safeguard against potential risks, providing a smoother and more secure experience for both customers and the business itself. Keeping your website code up to date is a key part of website maintenance activities that every organisation should be conscious of.

What is PHP 8?

PHP (Hypertext Preprocessor) is a widely used open-source scripting language designed for web development. It is embedded within HTML code and executed on the server, enabling the creation of dynamic web pages. PHP is known for its simplicity, flexibility, and ability to interact with databases, making it a popular choice for building dynamic and interactive websites.

PHP 8.0 was officially released on November 26, 2020. This major update introduced several new features and improvements over its predecessor, including the JIT (Just In Time) Compiler, named arguments, attributes, match expressions, union types, and improvements in the type system and error handling, among others.

There have been new developments in PHP with the release of PHP 8. This is a significant release in the PHP programming language, bringing numerous enhancements and new features. With improvements in error handling, new functions and enhancements, PHP 8 represents a major step forward in terms of both performance and developer-friendly features.

Some older releases of PHP are no longer supported like PHP 7 which was discontinued in November 2022. It’s worth checking the unsupported historical releases to ensure your PHP version is up to date. If you’re unsure, get in touch with our web developers who can advise you on your unique requirements.

6 Reasons Why Your Website Code Needs Rewritten

There are several reasons why your website code needs to be rewritten for PHP 8 versions. From performance, security enhancements and functionality. Let’s take a look at the primary reasons why website code needs to be rewritten for different versions of PHP.

1. Deprecated Features

As PHP evolves, older features become “deprecated,” meaning they’re still functional but less efficient or potentially unsafe. Relying on deprecated features in newer PHP versions can trigger warnings or errors, hindering website performance and security. It’s like using outdated tools in your business; they might work but aren’t as effective or reliable as modern alternatives. Regularly updating your website code for new PHP versions is akin to giving your digital storefront a modern and robust security system, ensuring it stays functional and equipped with the latest tools to safeguard against potential risks.

2. Syntax Changes

The rules of writing PHP code, known as syntax, have evolved. Code written for older versions may face issues when interpreted by newer ones, leading to syntax errors or unexpected behaviours. It’s like relying on outdated instructions in a rapidly changing business environment, causing inefficiencies. By keeping your code in sync with the latest PHP syntax, you ensure a reliable digital playbook, contributing to a seamless online experience for your business and customers.

3. Function Updates

PHP functions can change behaviour, and parameters, or return values across versions. Not adjusting code accordingly may lead to inaccuracies or errors on your website. It’s like using an outdated tool in business processes; failure to adapt can result in unintended outcomes. Regularly updating your code ensures it aligns with evolving PHP functions, maintaining a smooth and error-free digital experience for your business.

Updating Website Code

4. Security Enhancements

Embracing newer PHP versions is crucial for enhancing the security of your website. These updates typically come equipped with essential security patches and improvements, addressing vulnerabilities that may be present in older versions. Think of it as fortifying the defences of your business. By updating your PHP code, you’re essentially reinforcing the digital barriers that safeguard your website and customer data. Neglecting these updates puts your code at risk, akin to leaving a door unlocked in your physical business space. By regularly updating and staying current with PHP versions, you’re proactively minimising the potential for security breaches and ensuring a resilient and secure online environment for your business and its users. It’s a strategic move that not only protects your digital assets but also reinforces trust and confidence in your online presence.

5. Performance Optimisations

Newer PHP versions bring not only security enhancements but also performance optimisations, making code execution faster and more efficient. Upgrading is like boosting your engine for a smoother journey. Conversely, relying on older PHP code may lead to slower loading times and potential bottlenecks, impacting user experience. Staying current with PHP versions ensures a performance boost, contributing to a positive online presence and user satisfaction.

6. Compatibility with Libraries and Frameworks

In web development, popular libraries and frameworks often require specific PHP versions for optimal compatibility. Using outdated PHP versions may lead to conflicts or errors when integrating these tools, similar to connecting advanced equipment to an outdated power source. Staying current with PHP versions ensures your website is equipped with the right power source for these external tools, preventing errors and allowing your business to leverage its full potential, enhancing overall efficiency and performance.

Why Your Website Code Need Rewritten for PHP 8

Upgrading from PHP 7 to PHP 8 can require rewriting website code. This is for several reasons, but mainly because PHP 8 introduces new features, improvements, and changes to the language. Here are some key factors that may necessitate code modifications when transitioning from PHP 7 to PHP 8.

1. Deprecated Features and Functions

PHP 8 may deprecate or remove certain features, functions, or syntax that were present in PHP 7. Deprecated features are usually flagged to be removed in future PHP versions, so updating the code to use newer alternatives is essential to ensure compatibility.

PHP 8 Updates

2. Error Handling and Type System Improvements

PHP 8 introduces improvements to the type system and error handling. Code that relies on older error-handling practices or type declarations may need adjustments to adhere to the new standards.

3. Union Types and Named Arguments

PHP 8 introduces union types and named arguments, allowing more flexibility in function parameter declarations. Code can be updated to take advantage of these new features for better readability and maintainability.

4. Attributes (Annotations)

PHP 8 introduces attributes, which provide a standardized way to add metadata to classes, functions, and properties. If your codebase uses custom annotations or metadata systems, you might need to migrate to the new attribute syntax.

5. Nullsafe Operator

The nullsafe operator (?->) is introduced in PHP 8, providing a concise way to handle null values in method or property chains. Code can be updated to use this operator for more streamlined and safer null handling.

6. Match Expression

PHP 8 introduces the match expression, offering a more powerful and concise alternative to the traditional switch statement. Code using switch statements may be updated to use the match expression for improved readability.

7. JIT Compiler Support

PHP 8 includes a Just-In-Time (JIT) compiler, which can significantly improve performance. While this doesn’t directly impact code structure, it might influence performance optimisations that can be applied to the codebase.

8. Backwards Incompatible Changes

Some backwards-incompatible changes may be introduced in PHP 8, requiring adjustments to code that relied on behaviours present in PHP 7. It’s crucial to review the PHP migration guide for each version to identify any breaking changes.

Benefits of rewriting code for newer php versions

It’s important to note that the specific changes needed depend on the existing codebase, the PHP version you are upgrading from, and how closely the code adheres to PHP best practices. Before upgrading to PHP 8, thorough testing and reviewing the migration guides provided by PHP are recommended to ensure a smooth transition.

Benefits of Upgrading Your Website Code for the Latest PHP Versions

Upgrading your website code for the latest PHP versions is essential for business owners, bringing a host of benefits that directly impact the security, performance, and long-term success of their online presence.

1. Increased Security

One of the foremost reasons to rewrite website code for new PHP versions is the enhanced security they provide. As technology evolves, so do potential cyber threats. The latest PHP releases come with robust security features and updates, safeguarding your website against vulnerabilities that could be exploited by malicious actors. By keeping your code up-to-date, you create a more secure digital environment for your business and your customers, reducing the risk of data breaches and other security issues.

2. Improved Performance

Upgrading to the latest PHP versions often results in significant performance improvements for your website. These updates include optimisations and enhancements that make your site run faster and more efficiently. A faster website not only provides a better user experience, keeping visitors engaged, but it also positively influences search engine rankings. Search engines like Google consider page speed as a factor in their algorithms, making performance optimisations crucial for maintaining or improving your site’s visibility and SEO.

3. Access to New Features

Each new PHP version introduces exciting features and functionalities that can enhance the capabilities of your website. By rewriting your code to leverage these new features, you can stay ahead of the curve, offering your audience innovative and cutting-edge experiences. Whether it’s improved handling of data, better support for modern web technologies, or other advancements, embracing new PHP features allows your website to evolve and remain competitive in the ever-changing digital landscape.

4. Compatibility with Modern Libraries and Frameworks

As web development tools and frameworks continue to evolve, staying compatible with them is crucial for maintaining a modern and efficient website. Rewriting your code for new PHP versions ensures compatibility with the latest libraries and frameworks, opening up opportunities to integrate powerful and contemporary tools that can streamline development processes and enhance your site’s functionality.

5. Long-Term Maintainability

Thinking about the long-term sustainability of your website is essential for any business. By regularly updating your code to align with the latest PHP versions, you ensure that your website remains maintainable in the future. This proactive approach minimises the risk of encountering issues as technology progresses, making ongoing maintenance smoother and more cost-effective in the long run.


The act of rewriting website code to align with new PHP versions is an essential investment, ensuring the sustained success of your online presence. This proactive approach extends beyond maintenance; it becomes a critical component for achieving SEO optimisation success. By consistently adapting your code to accommodate different PHP versions, you not only fortify the security of your digital infrastructure but also guarantee optimal performance. Positioning your website as a resilient and adaptable entity in the constantly evolving digital landscape, fostering a robust online environment for your business.

Staying committed to code rewriting practices establishes a foundation that supports the latest industry standards, ensuring that your website remains in sync with contemporary trends and technologies. This commitment not only safeguards your business and customer data but also sets the stage for growth, enabling your website to seamlessly integrate with emerging digital advancements.

In the competitive realm of online visibility, this positions your business as a dynamic and authoritative presence. Contributing significantly to its long-term success and relevance in the ever-changing digital space.

But you don’t have to go it alone! Our experienced developers are here to help offering support and ongoing website maintenance.

Contact us today to discuss your PHP updates.