The topic of PHP versions is complex, and I’ll happily discuss those complexities with anyone. The Core team’s position has always been — fairly — that most WordPress site owner’s don’t know what PHP is and would be confused by having to update it. As such, they insist that to “leave no user behind,” WordPress should keep working for someone who bought hosting years ago and just keeps paying Bluehost, GoDaddy, etc for a site running on PHP 5.2.
Developers, myself included, think that some very good things about more modern version of PHP are impossible in the WordPress ecosystem because of 5.2 support. It would be great if we could just rip the band-aid off, gather WordPress, hosts, etc and get everyone to PHP 7. At least, that’d get many of them a huge performance benefit.
But compatibility is imperfect. And angry customers who will hold it against WordPress, their host, or someone else when a plugin they had written in 2009 breaks are nothing to ignore.
Saturday, March 31, 2018