PHP Versions | Detailed Guide On Top Versions Of PHP

To understand the latest version of PHP and the new features of the PHP team added to it, you need to understand PHP basics and its core first.

Here, we will make you drive through with phases of each PHP version and its features.

Now, let’s dive in 

Firstly, What is PHP and by whom PHP was found?

PHP was founded by Rasmus Lerdorf in the year 1994, primarily known as (Personal Home Page Tools), its early non-released versions were used just at his homepage for keeping track of those who were looking at his online resume (PHP version 1.0), its first online version (PHP version 2.0) was got on-air sometime in early 1995, it was made out of a very basic parser engine that got only recognized a few specific macros and a few utilities that were popular on home pages at the time. Estimated by 1996 PHP got in use on 15,000 websites across the world, this number got raised over 50,000 by the mid-1997. It evolved from Rasmus’ personal initiative to a well-organized collaborative effort. Zeev Suraski and Andi Gutmans rewrote the parser from the ground up, and this new parser served as the foundation for PHP Version 3. A lot of the PHP/FI utility code was transferred to (PHP version 3.0), and some of it was totally remodeled.

PHP Versions:

PHP Version 4.0

The release of PHP version 4.0 in the year 2000 caught a significant increase in the popularity and use of this computer language. PHP version 4 is the first version to use the Zend Engine (compiler and runtime environment for PHP), which allows the Zend Optimizer to operate with encoded files. PHP version 4.0 powered by the Zend Engine was much more efficient, more reliable, and quicker than PHP version 3.0. This improved efficiency was due to a complete rewrite of the PHP version 4.0 scripting engine, which employed a far more efficient “compile-then-execute” paradigm rather than the “execute-while-parsing” one used in PHP 3.0. yet it wasn’t supported for security updates.

PHP version 5.0 and 6.0

PHP version 5.0 was released in the year 2004, powered by Zend Engine 2, it was an improved version of PHP with sounder support for OOP (Object-oriented programming – a programming approach for computers that organizes software architecture around data or objects instead OF functions and logic.) and PDO (PDO is an acronym for PHP Data Objects, it is a skinny, compatible way to access databases.) that enabled developers a lighter-weight interface and many other performance advancements. In December 2018, authorized support of security ended, but Debian lasted to deliver security support until 2020, as it got in use over the widespread absence of support for Unicode encoding hit the eye of developers.

To get over the resolution today’s well-known core developer and member of the PHP Group named Andrei Zmievski stepped into the situation and launched a project to embed Unicode support during the whole PHP system as a solution of it including the IC (International Components for Unicode) library to basic PHP system (PHP version 5.6.). With this update, PHP’s text strings were now internally encoded as 16-bit Unicode Transformation Format or UTF-16. In March 2010, (PHP version 6.0) was launched with non-Unicode extensions. This advancement exited the developers expecting efficient Unicode integration.

PHP version 7 and 7.0.

Between 2016 and 2017, PHP underwent significant revisions, and as a result, PHP version 7 was published. The version number chosen for this release is the subject of various controversies. Despite the fact that the PHP Unicode project was never formally launched, it was mentioned in various books as PHP version 6. The developer community would have been confused if an actual release had likewise been sent out as PHP version 6. As a result, the decision was made to release this upgrade as version 7.0.

PHP 7 is built on the phpng (PHP Next Generation) framework. PHP Next Generation was created by developers to address the performance issues that plagued prior PHP versions. For PHP version 7.0, the phpng branch served as the base branch. PHP 7 included a number of speed enhancements and optimizations. It also has a built-in caching system for improved speed.

PHP version 8.0

PHP 8.0 is a significant version upgrade and a watershed moment in PHP since it introduces a slew of new capabilities to the type system, syntax, error handling, strings, object-oriented programming, and more.

Hundreds of individuals are collaborating to influence the future of a programming language that runs a large chunk of the Internet’s web pages and apps.

Even though PHP 8.0 strives to be cautious with modifications that might break the majority of applications, it adds several new key features.

Major enhancements and syntax changes come from Named Parameters, JIT, Attributes, and Constructor Properties, while subtle improvements like a resource to object migrations, enhanced error handling, and modifications and improvements in operators and engine comparisons aid.

PHP version 8.1

On November 25th, 2021. PHP version 8.1 was launched on the series of PHP version 8, with unique features and deprecations. PHP latest version features offer over two dozen new features, ranging from minor tweaks like adding a new $options parameter to the different hash_*() methods to whole new syntactic features like Enumerations, intersection types, fibers, syntax, and many more performance improvements

If we get PHP version support, its basic cycle starts from the time of its initial stable release, each PHP release branch is fully supported for two years. Each branch is then supported for an extra year for significant security concerns only after this two-year active support term. During this time, releases are issued as needed depending on the number of reports.


As seen above, PHP has been popular since its very first release. This continuous improvement and optimizing cycle of PHP hooked many developers and business leaders who seek for rich online appearance to stay committed to it.

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Chetan Rathod

Chetan rathod is a project manager at Horizoncore Infosoft and passionate about developing and delivering innovative high-reach Web applications. He endeavors to keep himself abreast of all the latest technological changes and updates to deliver the best in the business. When at leisure, he loves to read books and have interesting conversations with his colleagues and friends.

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