With PHP 7 reaching its General Availability Status in December, and with PHP 7 being available at SiteGround (albeit in Beta) for some time, SiteGround announced some significant improvements to their SuperCacher system. These includes replacing Memcache with Memcached to ensure PHP 7 compatibility.
Now that PHP 7 has reached General Availability Status, it is now suitable to use on production websites. You should still bear in mind that some functions in PHP have been depreciated with PHP 7, so you may still want to check that all your plugins \ websites work.
PHP 7 Adoption Status at SiteGround
As SiteGround has made PHP 7 available to their clients for some time, they are uniquely qualified to comment on the prevalence of any issues with its uptake. While some of the major Content Management Systems have declared support for PHP 7, others may need some further time to make fully that declaration. SiteGround’s tests indicate the following:
- Drupal 8 — Officially supports PHP 7. Available for download.
- Drupal 7 — Works with PHP 7. Available for download.
- WordPress 4.3.1 — Works with PHP 7. Available for download.
- Joomla! 3.4.5 — Does not support PHP 7.
- Joomla! 3.5 — Supports PHP 7. Will be released in January 2016.
As we mentioned, this does not necessarily mean that all your plugins, themes and other scripts that you are using are compatible. If you do with to try it out, then we highly suggest testing it out thoroughly. You may also wish to refer to this migration guide if you are more technically minded.
An alternative, for a small additional cost, is to sign up to the SiteGround Cloud Hosting, which features HHVM. The performance benefits between PHP 7 and HHVM are very comparable. Either way, both PHP 7 and HHVM offer significant performance improvements over the previous version, PHP 5.6.
Improvements to the SiteGround SuperCacher
This announcement is just one of a long line of improvements to the SuperCacher that have been made recently. Most notably, SiteGround recently changed from using Varnish + Memcache to NGINX + Memcache to better support websites using SSL (Varnish is incompatible with SSL). Furthermore, SiteGround announced the implementation of PHP 7, and ensured as far as they were able, that it integrated nicely with the SuperCacher (note Memcache was incompatible with PHP 7). This, of course, comes hot on the heels of HTTP/2 implementation (another significant performance benefit, but requires SSL), which you can read more about here.
It is only natural, then, with SiteGround being at the forefront of performance-related technologies, that they would ensure that PHP 7 would be fully compatible with the SuperCacher upon its General Availability. To do this, they moved away from using the Memcache PHP PECL module that was incompatible with PHP 7, to the Memcached, a new PECL for PHP that provides more features and better performance.
If you are using PHP 7, available on all plans, and with you use Memcached you will need to update the plugin to the latest version (version 2.3.9) and then disable, and re-enable the plugin in the WordPress dashboard.
If you have not already, you will then need to change your PHP version for your website within the cPanel -> PHP Version Manager tool:
Jonathan Griffin Editor, SEO Consultant, & Developer.
Jonathan Griffin is The Webmaster's Editor & CEO, managing day-to-day editorial operations across all our publications. Jonathan writes about Development, Hosting, and SEO topics for The Webmaster and The Search Review with more than nine years of experience. Jonathan also manages his own SEO consultancy, offering SEO developer services. He is an expert on site-structure, strategy, Schema, AMP, and technical SEO. You can find Jonathan on Twitter as @thewebmastercom.