Decline in usage of unsupported PHP versions

Decline in usage of unsupported PHP versions

Rami Yushuvaev 4 Comments

Six months ago, in July 2017, over 80% of all active WordPress websites used unsupported PHP versions. Today only 32% are using old PHP versions. Huge improvement over a short period of time.

Ending the support of PHP 5.5

On July 2017, just before the support of PHP 5.5 was officially ended over 60% of all active WordPress websites used unsupported PHP versions (5.2 – 5.4). With the end of support for PHP 5.5, the stats showed that over 80% of all active WordPress sites used old PHP versions (5.2 – 5.5).

Those were alarming figures! Only 20% of the sites used updated PHP versions (5.6 and 7.0).

PHP versions in use July 2017
PHP versions in use July 2017

Current Status

Since than, many web hosts upgraded the software running the infrastructure. Some hosts upgraded to PHP 5.6, others upgraded to the cutting edge PHP 7.2. But there was a constant transition to more up-to-date software.

Today, at the end of January 2018, we see a substantial decrease of the usage of old PHP version – only 32% of all active WordPress sites are using unsupported version!!!

The division, more or less, is 32.2% are old PHP versions (5.2-5.4), 40.6% are 5.6 version, and 22.1% for 7.0+ versions. As you can see PHP 5.6 is the dominant version, compare to PHP 5.4 six months ago.

PHP versions in use January 2018
PHP versions in use January 2018

What’s Next?

The core team is working on a new project called Server Happy. Just like the Browser Happy project.

While Browser Happy aimed to encourage users to upgrade their browsers (effecting the sites front-end), Server Happy objective is to encourage webhosts to upgrade the back-end of the site.

Rami Yushuvaev

I'm a fullstack developer, a blogger and an entrepreneur. I contribute to open source projects. Creator of,, and many other projects. I work mainly with Israeli startups, providing development services.


  • Hi Rami,

    Aren’t you overlooking the fact that the PHP group decided to extend the life of PHP 5.6 by 12 months, because it was the last 5.x version?

    i.e. We’re only seeing this increase in supported version because of the PHP group’s one-off extension. There’s little to indicate that it’s because hosting companies have upped their game. It’s still the case that only about 20% of sites use one of the 3 most recent PHP major releases.


    • Hi David,

      As you mentioned, the support for PHP 5.6 has been extended by four months, and the security fix period has been doubled from one to two years.

      It may be the reason why hosts did not upgraded to PHP 7. On the other hand, some may say that the slow adoption rate of PHP 7 led them to extend the support of PHP 5.6. 🙂

      In any case, I just present the facts and try to conclude my own insights. In large markets with multiple player we can’t always know the actual reason. But it may be one of the reasons.

  • I like your charts, but it would sure be easier to follow if the same colors were used for the versions in each chart.

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