WordPress Upgrades Minimum Required PHP version to 7.2
WordPress finally dropped support for PHP 5.x. As of yesterday, the minimum required PHP to run WordPress is PHP 7.2.
Supported PHP Versions
According to php.net, each release branch of PHP is fully supported for two years from its initial stable release. Then each branch is supported for an additional year for critical security issues only. When those three years of support are completed, the branch reaches its end of life and is no longer supported.
PHP 7.2 was released on November 30, 2017 and the branch was fully supported for two years until November 30, 2019. PHP 5.2 branch will reach its end of life on November 30, 2020 (~5 more months). Until then it will receive only security updates.
WordPress Minimum Requirements
WordPress 2.0, released on December 2005, was the first version to set a Minimum Required PHP version – it was decided to use PHP 4.2. In March 2008 WordPress 2.5 bumped the minimum PHP version to PHP 4.3 (abandoning 4.2 branch). With the release of WordPress 3.2 on July 2011 the minimum PHP version bumped to PHP 5.2.4 (abandoning 4.x branches). The last version bump happened last year, in May 2019 when WordPress 5.2 was released, the minimum PHP version bumped to PHP 5.6.20.
The current PHP version bump to PHP 7.2 means that the next version will abandon the entire PHP 5.x branch!
Note that the in addition to the Minimum Required PHP version WordPress also has a Recommended PHP Version , you should use the recommended PHP version to run your site. Using newer PHP versions increases security, efficiency, speed and makes the web a better place.
My guess, WordPress will have a more frequent PHP version bumps. We had a version bump on May 2019, the current version bump happened on June 2020, The next one will happen in a year from now in mid 2021. WordPress will adopt PHP release cycle to use updated software.
Have any insights? Share them in the comments area below.