PHP Updates and Removals
It's been almost 2 years since I last wrote about major PHP updates to Reclaim Hosting's platforms. At the time the big move was setting our default PHP to 7.0. The transition from PHP 5.6 to 7.0 was perhaps the biggest breaking change of all and at the time 5.6 had already been deprecated for a long time but software (particularly some WordPress themes and plugins) had been slow to make the transition.
One of the great things about running a site on Reclaim when it comes to PHP is that you aren't limited to the version we run on the server (we have been defaulting to PHP 7.2 for the past year or so). With the MultiPHP Manager in cPanel you can adjust your PHP version allowing you to run the absolutely latest or something older for compatibility. But allowing older versions to continue running does pose a security risk for us and we've had to strike a balance between compatibility and security. At the time of the last post I promised we would likely remove support for PHP 5.6 in 1 year's time. We ended up giving it 2 years but that time has now come and we want to provide enough advance notice for users to test their systems.
As a recap PHP 5.6 was end of life on January 1st, 2019. It has not received security updates in a year and a half. Meanwhile later versions of PHP not only improve on the security front but also have performance benefits. Even WordPress is recommending PHP 7.4. You can find full information on supported PHP versions from the PHP project on their website. PHP 7.2, our current default, is actually only receiving security fixes and no improvements and will be end of life at the end of this year prompting a need for these updates.
On January 1, 2021, Reclaim Hosting will make PHP 7.4 the default version on all of our servers. Users will have the option to downgrade as low as PHP 7.2 but no lower. We will be removing all support for PHP 5.6, 7.0, and 7.1 which have all been end of life for over a year. If your site is currently set to use one of these versions the site will go down when those versions are removed so we recommend spot checking your account now to ensure you are running later versions. It remains our strong recommendation that users attempt to run test and run their software with the latest possible PHP version. If you wish to follow the server defaults you can set your PHP version to "inherit" to use the server version.
Q: I have a really important project hosted with Reclaim that does not support PHP 7.2. Can you make an exception so we can keep the project alive?
A: Unfortunately it is not safe for us to make exceptions to our systems for one-off cases like this. The best way you can ensure the long term sustainability of the project is to update the software to be compatible with more recent versions of PHP.
Q: My website is not really used anymore. If I can't get it updated what options do I have?
A: For archival purposes you may wish to convert your website to static HTML. There are some great recommendations on this approach in this community forum thread.
Q: Does this policy apply to institutional and managed hosting customers with their own servers?
A: Yes, this policy will apply to all servers managed by Reclaim Hosting regardless of customer. To ensure the security of our systems and meet SLA requirements we will not make exceptions.
Q: What about your new Reclaim Cloud offering?
A: This policy was already in place for Reclaim Cloud at launch time so it is not currently possible to run a PHP version lower than 7.2.
Q: Who do I contact if I have more questions?
A: You can reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org with all questions.