Dropping support for PHP 5

Support for PHPPHP The web scripting language in which WordPress is primarily architected. WordPress requires PHP 5.6.20 or higher 5 will be dropped in WordPress 6.3, scheduled for release on August 8th 2023. The new minimum supported version of PHP will be 7.0.0. The recommended version of PHP remains at 7.4 or greater.

WordPress currently supports PHP version 5.6.20 or greater. The minimum supported version was last adjusted in WordPress 5.2 in 2019, and since then usage of PHP 5.6 has dropped to 3.9% of monitored WordPress installations as of July 2023.

There’s no concrete usage percentage that a PHP version must fall below before support in WordPress is dropped, but historically the project maintainers have used 5% as the baseline. Now that usage of PHP 5.6 is well below that at 3.9% and dropping by around 0.1% every few weeks, plans to increase the minimum supported PHP version can move forward.

The benefits to increasing the minimum supported PHP version manifest over time and in multiple places, including within the pluginPlugin A plugin is a piece of software containing a group of functions that can be added to a WordPress website. They can extend functionality or add new features to your WordPress websites. WordPress plugins are written in the PHP programming language and integrate seamlessly with WordPress. These can be free in the WordPress.org Plugin Directory https://wordpress.org/plugins/ or can be cost-based plugin from a third-party and theme ecosystem, within the long term perception of the WordPress project, within developer relations, and over time within the WordPress codebase and its developer tooling.

Discussion around this minimum version bump can be found here on the Trac ticket.

What about PHP 8?

Support for PHP 8.0, 8.1, and 8.2 in WordPress coreCore Core is the set of software required to run WordPress. The Core Development Team builds WordPress. is very good, and a proposal for the criteria for removing the “beta” support label for each new PHP version has been published.

What about security support?

Sites that are running PHP 5.6 will remain on the 6.2 branchbranch A directory in Subversion. WordPress uses branches to store the latest development code for each major release (3.9, 4.0, etc.). Branches are then updated with code for any minor releases of that branch. Sometimes, a major version of WordPress and its minor versions are collectively referred to as a "branch", such as "the 4.0 branch". of WordPress which will continue receiving security updates as it does currently. The current security policy is to support WordPress versions 4.1 and greater.

What about the GutenbergGutenberg The Gutenberg project is the new Editor Interface for WordPress. The editor improves the process and experience of creating new content, making writing rich content much simpler. It uses ‘blocks’ to add richness rather than shortcodes, custom HTML etc. https://wordpress.org/gutenberg/ plugin?

The Gutenberg plugin, which is used for development of the blockBlock Block is the abstract term used to describe units of markup that, composed together, form the content or layout of a webpage using the WordPress editor. The idea combines concepts of what in the past may have achieved with shortcodes, custom HTML, and embed discovery into a single consistent API and user experience. editor, has a separate release schedule from WordPress core and officially supports the two most recent releases of WordPress. This means that the Gutenberg plugin will continue to support PHP 5.6 for the time being, most likely until WordPress 6.4 is released. See this issue on the Gutenberg repo for further information.

Going forward

There are no plans to bump the minimum supported PHP version on a schedule. The core team will continue to monitor usage of PHP versions and work with the hosting team to encourage users and hosting companies to upgrade their versions of PHP as swiftly as possible. The 5% usage baseline will continue to be used for the foreseeable future.

The PHP usage stats as of July 2023 look like this:

  • 8.2: 2.11%
  • 8.1: 9.37%
  • 8.0: 14.05%
  • 7.4: 51.13%
  • 7.3: 7.92%
  • 7.2: 6.29%
  • 7.1: 1.38%
  • 7.0: 2.05%
  • 5.6: 3.93%

Update PHP today

If you need more information about PHP or how to update it, check out this support article that explains more and guides you through the process.

Props to all those that have contributed to this discussion recently. Thanks to those who provided feedback and proof-reading of this post: @azaozz @chanthaboune @flixos90 @hellofromtonya @javiercasares @joemcgill @jorbin @jrf @peterwilsoncc @sergeybiryukov