78% of the web powered by PHP (3% on PHP 8)

Originally published at: https://linuxblog.io/78-of-the-web-powered-by-php-1-on-php-8/

Today, PHP is used by almost 78% of all the websites whose server-side programming language we know. Popular websites such as Slack, Etsy, Wikipedia, WordPress, Mailchimp, Canva, Indeed, Investing.com, and others are powered by PHP. However, in the coming months, many websites that fail to upgrade to the latest version of PHP 8 will be…

Why does PHP break so much across releases? Part of the problem delaying upgrade is that developers fear breaking their application completely by moving from PHP 7.4 to PHP 8. This has been an issue with PHP from version 4 to current.

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Honestly I did not notice that many important breaking changes and the PHP community has tools to detect them. Some of them can even be automatically be fixed.
The real problem is that some important softwares/frameworks did not support PHP 8 until recently:

  • Wordpress supported PHP 8.0 since version 5.6 (released on 08.12.2020), but only in a “beta” kind of way. Like it’s cool when your blog works, but we can’t guarantee it. Even the most recent Wordpress version, 5.9, still only supports 8.0 in a beta. PHP 8.1 isn’t even mentioned. See also https://make.wordpress.org/core/handbook/references/php-compatibility-and-wordpress-versions/
  • Typo3 supported PHP 8.x beginning with Typo3 v11, released on 05.10.2021. See also https://typo3.org/cms/roadmap/
  • MediaWiki is still not compatible with PHP 8.x. See also https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Compatibility/en

The only big exceptions I found are the following:

  • Symfony supported new PHP versions very early and even made existing releases compatible, e.g. in the issue PHP 8.1 Support which was closed on 14.09.2021, more than a month before PHP 8.1 had it’s first stable release. See also https://symfony.com/releases/4.4 and https://github.com/symfony/symfony/issues/41552#issuecomment-919304798
  • Laravel seems to have supported PHP 8.x early too. Though I don’t know more details. See also https://blog.laravel.com/laravel-php-8-support
  • Drupal supports PHP 8.0 since version 9.1.0, released on 02.12.2020. See also https://www.drupal.org/docs/system-requirements/php-requirements
  • Joomla supports PHP 8.0 since version 3.9.23, released on 24.11.2020. See also https://downloads.joomla.org/technical-requirements
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Welcome to our community! Thanks for the informative post. This indeed is part of the issue.

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I’m still blown away by this. 4/5 of the web is powered by PHP?! Wow. I thought everyone hated PHP. Personally I remember liking it, but I haven’t used it in 10+ years. My current website is a Pelican-powered static website written in markdown.

Yes. Of course thats only because we are counting per # of websites on the web. So Facebook counts as 1 site, Youtube counts as 1 website also. On the other hand, if we were counting percentage of daily web traffic, it would most likely be ~ 25% or less I belive. (guessng)

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The reason for the 78% is down to them getting it done first. Not only that, but it is easy to learn and runs everything. It is hard to outmatch that - even with their faults.

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Right, I was just surprised that so many sites are still coded in PHP. I figured people had moved on by now. Anyway, I think it’s cool, because I like PHP.

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