There are many factors that affect the speed of your website. But one that is often overlooked is PHP. PHP is a scripting language used to develop WordPress themes and plugins.
This language is regularly being updated and improved upon, but without regular back end updates, many sites get left in the dust.
The newest version of PHP, PHP 7.3, has just been released. Upgrading from PHP 7.2 to PHP 7.3 can result in a 15% decrease in request processing time (WP Engine).
Speed is a major ranking factor for search engines. Users expect sites to load near instantly, and when they don’t, they move on to the next search result. Knowing this, search engines favor sites with short load times. If your site is too slow, users will be less likely to find your business online.
Even if users do find your business, a long load time may reduce the likelihood that they stay on your site. According to WP Engine, “Slow-loading sites are the number one cause of page abandonment across all audiences.”
Bottom line, a slow website means lost traffic, lost leads, and fewer clients.
Additionally, PHP 7.3 improves website security. WordPress requires regular software updates in order to ensure security. No major security issues have been detected in PHP 7.2, but it is best practice to keep all components of your website up to date, including PHP. Unlike older versions, PHP 7.3 is actively supported by WP Engine. This means that if vulnerabilities are found, the host will resolve them before a security breach can occur.
Upgrading to PHP 7.3
Updating your website’s PHP is relatively simple, but like any technical change, making this switch does have the potential to cause issues on your site. If you would like your PHP upgrade to be handled by professionals, contact Mockingbird for help.