Hosting Chat Recap: Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Here’s the summary of our meetings in #hosting-community on Wednesday, August 26, 2020 at 09:00 UTC (Slack archive) and on Wednesday, August 26, 2020 at 1800 UTC (Slack archive).

The meetings were led by @mikeschroder and @jadonn. Notes taken by @javiercasares.

Attendees: @chaion07, @Crixu, Mark Muyskens, @amykamala, @piotrekkaminski, @davidvee, @asmartbear


## Greetings
Welcome and Check-in
New Contributor Call Out

## Highlights
Call for volunteers for WP a11y day
WordPress 5.6 Kickoff
Apple, Google, and Mozilla SSL/TLS certificate policy changes
Learn WordPress is Live

## Hosting Team Time
Dropping support for old PHP versions in a fixed schedule

## Open Floor / Work Time


Call for volunteers for WP a11yAccessibility Accessibility (commonly shortened to a11y) refers to the design of products, devices, services, or environments for people with disabilities. The concept of accessible design ensures both “direct access” (i.e. unassisted) and “indirect access” meaning compatibility with a person’s assistive technology (for example, computer screen readers). ( day

There’s a call for volunteers open for WordPress a11y day!

@mikeschroder invites everyone from the team to join.

The event itself will be for 24 hours, and held on Friday, October 2, 2020.

WordPress 5.6 Kickoff

WordPress 5.6 kicked off last week, and is the final release of the year for WordPress. It is currently scheduled for release on December 8th, 2020.

@mikeschroder encourage everyone to give it a read.

Apple, Google, and Mozilla SSLSSL Secure Socket Layer - Encryption from the server to the browser and back. Prevents prying eyes from seeing what you are sending between your browser and the server./TLS certificate policy changes

It was said that commercial certificates usually are for 1 year, and Let’s Encrypt for 3 months, and the main concern is for internal or service organization certificates.

Learn WordPress is Live

Community and Training teams have launched a new platform for online learning for WordPress – Learn WordPress!

Hosting Team Time

Dropping support for old PHPPHP PHP (recursive acronym for PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor) is a widely-used open source general-purpose scripting language that is especially suited for web development and can be embedded into HTML. versions in a fixed schedule

On July 24, the coreCore Core is the set of software required to run WordPress. The Core Development Team builds WordPress. team brought up a proposal to drop the support for older PHP versions via a fixed schedule.

There have been several proposals and comments. Premises and data that have come to light (context):

  • PHP: bump minimum version requirements #51043
  • Key WordPress Statistics
  • A lot of hosts give from PHP 5.4 to PHP 7.4 (at least, from PHP 5.6 to PHP 7.4)
  • One thing is core, and another are plugins and themes
  • Plugins and themes may need a “tested up to” PHP version #51139

Mark Muyskens has explained that he is against a fixed schedule. “Too many folks out there drag their feet as far as updating it, unless forced by the host. What do propose when a customer doesn’t switch off PHP 5 for example when support is dropped? Blocking core updates? That’s going to lead to other larger problems.”

@javiercasares made a lot of proposals. First, WordPress should be in line with PHP (those are example on how it should be on older versions):

WordPress 5.6 = PHP 8.0 (dec 2020) -> supports PHP 8.0 – 7.2
WordPress 5.3 = PHP 7.4 (dec 2019) -> supports PHP 7.4 – 7.1
WordPress 5.0 = PHP 7.3 (dec 2018) -> supports PHP 7.3 – 7.0
WordPress 4.9 = PHP 7.2 (dec 2017) -> supports PHP 7.2 – 5.6
WordPress 4.7 = PHP 7.1 (dec 2016) -> supports PHP 7.1 – 5.6

So, WordPress (as a Community) should give info on WordPress (major) versions and PHP (major) versions supported. For example: WordPress 5.5 supports PHP 5.6.20 to 7.4. @mikeschroder considers that this could be in the Hosting Handbook.

In summary, each major WordPress version should officially support the PHP versions supported in that time (+/- 1 version), also, create a table with supported versions, so anybody knows the limits in each version.

@mikeschroder like the idea of scheduling, so that hosts (and users) can know what to expect. The actual schedule being up for debate is great. Also, love to discuss how hosts can help with the issue that is the background of this particular proposal, how can we best work together / with the project to get folks upgraded — not just from the 5.x, but in the future.

@jadonn highlighted that some hosts’ platforms’ PHP versions are provided by cPanel, Plesk, or the software managing the platform. In that case, the host is beholden to cPanel or whoever provides the PHP binaries.

@asmartbear “The good thing about a fixed schedule is it’s easy to plan for, way ahead of time. Tech, customer comms, measuring potential impact, etc…”. “A bad thing is you can’t use judgement calls.”

“It could be helpful for Core to mandate things, because it’s a forcing function for action, which doesn’t “blame” the hosts. So that might be net-positive for all hosts.”

“I think the main tension is that increasing PHP requirements is what’s best for the entire project/community from a technical perspective (features, performance, security, modernity), but anything that causes friction for users moves us away from the goal of “51% of the web.”

piotrekkaminski: “Support will either have to deal with PHP issues or sites getting hacked. My personal POV is i would rather take PHP issues.”

@jadonn: “It is probably a worthwhile question to ask about what is the path to the 51% goal. Is enforcing a newer version of PHP the path to achieving that goal? Like how does the PHP version correlate to or drive WordPress adoption.”

With that in mind, we left the meeting asking if there is a possibility to have more correlated data to make that kind of decisions.

@asmartbear closed with: “To Democratize Publishing doesn’t just mean that you can publish, it also means you own your work, which in the Internet world, means owning your site, and the wider ideals of the Open Web as well. No one wants to do maintenance, and many people (most?) don’t understand it. I believe we should be part of the solution, helping them along, rather than telling them to go to some closed-sourced, closed-web system. Also I think you’re not considering the fact that it’s not necessarily even the site owner’s “fault” in a certain sense. They use / bought some 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 Plugin Directory or can be cost-based plugin from a third-party or theme years ago and now it won’t work. Now you’re saying they have 4 months to replace their theme “or else.” While there is merit in that forcing function, our attitude should be one of compassion and trying to find the best way forward, rather than saying to a non-technical site owner that they should go re-tool a theme or else take their site.”

Next Meeting

The next meetings will be in the #hosting-community channel on Wednesday, September 2, 2020 at 0900 UTC and Wednesday, September 2, 2020 at 1800 UTC. Hope to see you then!