I woke this morning with a grin. Nope, nothing to with the Olympics; PHP 4 is dead and by that I mean it is no longer supported – no more official security updates for PHP 4 – or backports from PHP 5 or PHP 6.
The last release of PHP 4.4 occurred yesterday.
Why is this important – and why am I grinning?
PHP 5 has improved support for Object Oriented Programming, PDO, numerous performance and security enhancements that make continuing to maintain or develop PHP4 specific code a mugs game.
The enhancements in PHP 5.3, which is scheduled to be released in October, and those in PHP6 make it all the more compelling to move from PHP4.
If you are a developer and are unaware of this or are clinging on to PHP4 for dear life, you’d do yourself a favour by evaluating all options open to you – including a change of career.
The hosting market may be slow to catch up but remember this: there will be no more security updates for PHP4 and there are security enhancements in PHP5. Compelling reasons to ask your hosting provider if they do PHP5 hosting. Web hosts who are dedicated to supporting PHP 5.2 or later are listed on the gophp5 website.
Blacknight are the only Irish hosting company listed there.
Ivo Jansch, CTO of iBuildings painted a fairly bleak picture a month ago regarding continued PHP4 usage; poising the question “what if there’s an exploit for PHP4 and the bad guys are waiting until after 8/8/8 to make malicious use of it”. This is just scare-mongering but he does make a valid point, after today it will take longer than usual, if at all, for a fix against such expoints to be made available. So if you’re in business it would be wise to consult with your hosting company ASAP.