Plugin And Theme Devs Have Reason To Celebrate

A topic of discussion that’s popped up numerous times within the WP Hackers Mailing List as well as other places throughout the community is when WordPress would stop supporting PHP version 4 and move up to version 5. Well, the good news for all WordPress theme and plugin developers is here in that starting with WordPress 3.2 scheduled for release sometime in the first half of 2011, the minimum required PHP version will be 5.2 while MySQL will be raised to 5.0.15. Mark Jaquith explained on the WordPress development blog why the time was right to finally make the move:

The numbers are now, finally, strongly in favor of this move. Only around 11 percent of WordPress installs are running on a PHP version below 5.2. Many of them are on hosts who support PHP 5.2 — users merely need to change a setting in their hosting control panel to activate it. We believe that percentage will only go down over the rest of the year as hosting providers realize that to support the newest versions of WordPress (or Drupal, or Joomla), they’re going to have to pull the trigger.

Just for the sake of knowing, WPTavern.com is running on a shared webhosting server running PHP 5.2.4.

12 Comments


  1. Note that 11 percent of ten million is over a million users below 5.2.

    So they are going to hassle a non-trivial number of users (in that not keeping up with WP updates is very hazardous to your site’s health).

    It’s VERY easy to code around MySQL 4/ PHP 4.4 limits, in fact they are going to have to go out of their way to force WP3 not to support it.

    But to be fair, a year of warning is plenty of notice.

    I have a bigger problem with the drop of support for MySQL 4.1 because on small/medium sized MyISAM tables it is measurably faster than MySQL 5.x

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  2. @Ryan Duff
    Yes, seems like they are behind the schedule – I would blame hosts for this. You cannot adopt a PHP version just when it is not any more supported – a very lame situation.

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  3. Okay, so how do you change a database that is MySQL 4? I changed my PHP to 5 and that was easy as the article said. How about the database?

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  4. @Patrick D. – It depends on your server. Google ‘Upgrade mysql 4 to 5 ‘ and that should get you started. If you have something like cPanel/WebHost Manager, you can use that. If it’s a co-hosted server, they may have advice (LiquidWeb offered to do it for me, for example).

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  5. Everyone is just going to be a fanboy here, of course.
    So let me point out that a few years ago Matt Mullenweg said “none of the most requested features for WordPress would be any easier (or harder) if they were written for PHP 4 or 5 or Python,” and advocated that we “continue to maintain PHP 4 as like a PHP-lite. Make it harder, better, faster, stronger.”
    He also said: “PHP 5 has been, from an adoption point of view, a complete flop. Most estimates place it in the single-digit percentages or at best the low teens, mostly gassed by marginal frameworks. Even hosted PHP-powered services who have no shared host compatibility concerns like 30boxes, Digg, Flickr, and WordPress.com, have been slow to move and when they do it will probably be because of speed or security, not features.”

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  6. @Dan – I’m not fanboying this. But. I like PHP 5 over PHP 4 for a variety of reasons, and was an early adopter, so I’ve been using it for … ages.

    But as you said. What Matt said was years ago. Slow adoption … years. He was correct. It’s taken three years. That is pretty fast for these things, but there are reasons.

    And Matt DID NOT advocate that ‘we’ maintain PHP 4 as PHP-lite. Selective quoting there on your part.

    I wonder if PHP 5+ should be called something other than PHP. A unique name would have allowed the effort to stand on its own, and not imply something that’s an upgrade from what came before when in many cases it’s just different, not better, from an end-user perspective. Continue to maintain PHP 4 as like a PHP-lite. Make it harder, better, faster, stronger.

    Matt was saying that PHP should consider it. Not WordPress.

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  7. After doing the MySQL upgrade last night, my site loads much faster. Not sure if that’s because of the upgrade or a strange coincidence, but it’s nice. Much faster loading now.

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