PHP 5.3 and 5.4 being phased out

The authors of the PHP scripting language stopped supporting the PHP 5.3 and PHP 5.4 series some time ago.

Newer versions of PHP are generally more secure, have fewer bugs, and in some cases run far faster. Of course, that’s really just another way of saying that older versions of PHP are insecure, buggy, and slow.

Because of that, we are phasing out PHP versions earlier than 5.5 (we also offer the 5.6 and 7.0 series):

  • New customers can no longer choose the old versions.
  • We’ll start sending reminders to customers who use the old versions, asking them to upgrade.

We have a page dedicated to explaining how, and why, to update PHP.

We now offer free SSL certificates from Let’s Encrypt

Our hosting customers can now get free SSL certificates to secure their site.

What’s an SSL certificate? It activates the “padlock” icon for your site in a Web browser, showing that the connection is encrypted for security. You should use an SSL certificate if your visitors type sensitive data such as usernames, passwords or credit card numbers, because it ensures that “hackers” can’t intercept that data.

SSL certificates used to cost a lot of money, but an organization called Let’s Encrypt is now providing them for free, trying to encourage the widespread use of encryption on the modern Internet.

We believe that encryption should be widely available, so we’ve changed our SSL certificate system to provide free Let’s Encrypt certificates to our hosting customers. You can get one now in our “My Account” control panel.

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PHP 7.0.0 and 5.6.16

The PHP developers recently released PHP version 7.0.0, as well as an update to the 5.6 series, version 5.6.16. We’ve upgraded PHP on our servers as a result.

The official release of PHP 7 means we’ll start encouraging customers to use it (as long as they use modern scripts like current versions of WordPress). It’s almost twice as fast as old versions of PHP. Yes, really: Twice as fast. We’re using it ourselves on this blog.

If you’d like your WordPress or other PHP-based site to seem snappier, or be able to handle twice as many visitors per second, you can easily do so:

  1. Login to our My Account control panel
  2. Click PHP Settings
  3. Click PHP 7.0 series
  4. Click Save Settings

Then test your site to make sure it works properly. If it does: Great, you’ve just made your site much faster! If it doesn’t, it’s probably because you’re using older scripts that haven’t yet been updated, and you can simply set PHP back to an earlier version for now. We recommend that you always use the latest version that works properly with your scripts.

As always, if you have any trouble, don’t hesitate to contact us.

PHP 5.2.6 being phased out

This post was updated November 30, 2012 to reflect the additional availability of PHP 5.2.17.

We currently offer PHP versions 5.2.6, 5.2.17, and the 5.3 series. You can choose which version your account uses in the “PHP Settings” section of our “My Account” control panel.

PHP 5.2 has been obsolete for many years. Because of that, we’re beginning the process of removing PHP 5.2.6 from our servers and encouraging customers to switch to PHP 5.3. (PHP 5.2.17 is still available for now, but discouraged.)

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PHP 5.3.15 available

PHP 5.3.15 is now available on all hosting accounts. It’s the default for new customers, and existing customers can update their PHP version using the “PHP Settings” link in our “My Account” control panel.

If you’re an existing customer using an older version of PHP, we haven’t yet changed your PHP version. However, we will begin doing that in about 30 days (we’ll announce that separately), so we recommend that you upgrade now. That way, if you find you’re using an outdated PHP script that isn’t compatible, you can set PHP back to the previous version and work to update the script. The old PHP 5.2 series will be removed from our servers by the end of 2012.

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Data center move complete

As a followup to our previous posts about the move to a new primary data center, we want to confirm to our customers that the change was successfully completed.

Due to unrelated network outages at the old data center, we accelerated the original schedule mentioned in that post. Almost all customer sites were moved by October 7, and the remainder (a small handful of customer sites that needed manual intervention due to old software that was incompatible with the Debian Linux software update) were moved as of October 18. Everything is, and has been, working normally.

I want to again take the time to apologize to our customers for the service interruptions that occurred because of the original power problem and the later network problem. They weren’t acceptable. We know you count on us for your success, and we’re constantly working to improve reliability.

2011 server upgrades

Over the next four weeks, we’ll be migrating customer Web sites to upgraded servers. The servers have updated software (and upgraded hardware in some cases), and are also located in a data center with increased power reliability.

For most customers, these changes will be completely unnoticeable. However, a very small number of customers might notice software differences or experience up to five minutes total of “downtime” at some point. We recommend reading through this entire post for details.

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Now We Are Six: IPv6 support

We’re pleased to announce optional IPv6 support for Web sites hosted with our company (just in time for World IPv6 day next week!).

Most customers shouldn’t use IPv6 yet, and if you don’t know what it is, you can safely ignore this post. But if you’re familiar with IPv6 and interested in adding it to your site, this post explains what you need to know.

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WordPress “one-click” installer

We’re pleased to announce our WordPress “one-click” installer. Using this new feature in our “My Account” control panel, you can easily install WordPress on your Web site.

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Wildcard SSL certificates now available

Back in May, we posted that we now offer basic SSL certificates for just $19.00 a year, allowing you to protect your Web site without going broke.

Today, we’ve added another option: you can optionally choose a “wildcard” AlphaSSL certificate instead for just $49.00 a year.

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