Today on Episode 29 Web Hosting Podcast.  The status of PHP and web hosting. WordPress 5.1.1 has been released with some great improvements.  A gutenberg block add-on with 19 ready made blocks.

The status of PHP and hosting.

I found a few articles regarding the deprecation of PHP before 7.1 and that relates to the amount of sites still using old and no longer supported versions of PHP.  I was stunned, to say the least, that the number of users using no longer supported versions of PHP is so high.  According to this article by from January 24th, a staggering number of users, 77.5%, are still using outdated versions of PHP.  That number is mind blowing.  Considering that 33% of all websites use WordPress and PHP is used by 78% of all websites on the internet, that is a lot of outdated and potentially vulnerable websites.   I know I keep saying words like stunned and staggering, but there is no other way to put it.  I am having a hard time understanding why there is not a bigger push to get users on current and supported versions of PHP.  There are some great benefits to using PHP 7.2.  So why should you make the switch to a newer version of PHP.

  1. Security.  Older versions of PHP are no longer being patched for security issues and vulnerabilities.  
  2. Performance.  PHP 7.2 has been shown to be almost twice as fast as previous versions of PHP.  In a world where site speed is important, just moving from PHP 5.6 to PHP 7.2 could dramatically improve site speed performance.  For hosting providers, PHP 7.2 uses less memory, cpu and can handle more requests per second than older versions of PHP.  This means lower overall server load.
  3. Support. Older versions of PHP require more development to maintain backwards compatibility.  Things will eventually break and moving forward on a better version of a code base is needed.
  4. New Features.  PHP 7.2 has a load of new features that developers can take advantage of to add site improvements.  These features can only be used on the latest versions of PHP.
  5. It is just the right thing to do.  It really is.  For the safety of the internet as a whole, we all should be doing our part to make sure our applications support the latest secure versions available.  Shared hosting, which most of us use, is a bad place to be when a few website owners don’t want to update their application.  It puts all the sites on the server at risk to total take over and hacking.  You are only as secure as the weakest link or website.

Interesting fact about stats for WordPress along with PHP versions.

WordPress 5.1.1 is released.

From the release notes.Site health notifications.  This release introduces WordPress’s first Site Health features. WordPress will start showing notices to administrators of sites that run long-outdated versions of PHP, which is the programming language that powers WordPress.  When you install new plugins, WordPress’s Site Health features will check them against the version of PHP you’re running. If the plugin requires a version that won’t work with your site, WordPress will keep you from installing that plugin. FINALLY!!

It is recommended to install the Health Check & Troubleshooting plugin.  This plugin will allow you to run a check on your WordPress install and determine if there are any common configuration issues and known issues.  Once installed, go to Dashboard Menu then select Health Check.  This will run a little check of your site and report any findings.  The one menu marked “Tools” will allow you to do a file integrity check.  This is done by validating the files against a known state or also known as a checksum.  If the checksum does not match what it should, then either your site core files have been modified (which you should not be doing) or your site has been hacked.  This is not 100% foolproof as some people do modify the core files, but if you are in curious give it a try and see what your results are.  Another useful option is the “PHP Information” tab.  This will show you all the information about the current PHP version you are running.  Finally the “Troubleshooting” tab will allow you to disable all of your plugins and go back to a default theme for you, but your site remains fully functional to others.  This is a brilliant idea for trying to determine if a plugin is not functioning correctly or if a theme is breaking your site.  You can enable each plugin one by one and change back to your theme at any time.  Once done, you just take the site out of troubleshooting mode.
Editor performance; improved gutenberg editor speed improvements.

I have been using WordPress 5.1 since it was released and I think this update is well worth the install.  The improved performance of the gutenberg editor is wonderful.  The addition of the Site Health notifications and the prevention of installing plugins that may not work on your currently selected version of PHP is fantastic.  WordPress is quickly moving to remove support for old and outdated PHP versions finally and I could not be happier.

Gutenberg Blocks

Ultimate Addons for Gutenberg If you are looking for a easy way to add some gutenberg blocks to your website, then look no further.  This add-on plugin for WordPress includes some of the most useful blocks that are pre-made and ready to drop into your website.  I have tried all of these blocks and find them very easy to use.  Here are some of the  blocks included with this add-on.

  1. Social Share – Allows for a easy way to share your content via social media.
  2. Post Layout – List your blog posts in a layout of your choice.  Choose from timeline, masonry, grid, carousel.
  3. Testimonial – Simple testimonial block
  4. Contact Form 7 Styler
  5. Gravity From Styler
  6. Google Map – no google api key required according to the site.
  7. Content Timeline

There are 19 of these blocks ready to go.  No coding is needed.

Along with the Ultimate Add-on for Gutenberg, they offer Gutenberg website templates.  There are quite a few templates, ready to go.h