Kinsta, the managed WordPress hosting provider, released a full benchmark of the most popular 20 PHP platforms/configurations running on different PHP versions from PHP 5.6 until the latest 8.0. The latest version of each platform have been used for each test and benchmarked one of its URLs with 15 concurrent users for 10,000 requests.

For WordPress users, PHP 8.0 is the clear winner, proving to be 18.47% faster than PHP 7.4. And if you compare it to PHP 7.0, it can handle 50% more requests (or transactions) per second. The benchmark have been done with  WordPress 5.6, the latest version at the time of writing this article. It comes with the new Twenty Twenty-One theme installed.

For eCommerce users, if your WooCommerce store is running on PHP 7.1, it is 60% slower than your competitor’s store on PHP 8.0! It’s also noticeable that PHP8 performance is very similar to PHP 7.4, it only beat it out by a very small margin.

Drupal and Symfony, however seems to be more comfortable with old PHP versions, at least the last supported one. Drupal 9.1.0 and Symfony 5.2.1 runs much faster on PHP 7.3 rather than PHP 8.0. Drupal was the first PHP platform where the benchmark results scaled backward with increasing PHP versions. It’s strange, but not uncommon. Perhaps newer PHP 8.x and Drupal 9.x.x versions might fare better, but that’s for another day! Since Drupal is based on Symfony, it’s obviously to have the same conclusion for both. However, it’s surprising for Symfony to note that PHP 7.4 performed the worst out of the three, with PHP 7.3 edging it out by the slightest margins.

Laravel readiness for PHP8 seems to be much higher, as it is performing 8.54% more requests per second than PHP 7.3. The framework also dropped support for all the unsupported PHP versions.

Kinsta PHP Benchmarks

PHP Platforms benchmarked by Kinsta include : WordPress 5.6, WordPress 5.6 + WooCommerce 4.8.0, WordPress 5.6 + Easy Digital Downloads 2.9.26, Drupal 9.1.0, Joomla! 3.9.23, Grav 1.6.31, OctoberCMS 1.0.470, Laravel 8.21.0, Symfony 5.2.1, CodeIgniter 4.0.4, CakePHP 4.2.2, PyroCMS 3.8, Craft CMS, ExpressionEngine 6.0.0, PrestaShop, Backdrop CMS 1.18.0-preview, concrete5 9.0.0a3, Kirby 3.5.0, Pico 2.1.4, and Photon CMS 1.2.1.

The extended benchmark results from Kinsta are :

  • For WordPress, PHP 8.0 was the fastest in all benchmarks (Stock WordPress 5.6, WooCommerce, and Easy Digital Downloads).
  • If you’re using WordPress, and all your themes and plugins are compatible with PHP 8.0, there’s no reason you shouldn’t update your PHP version to PHP 8.0. You’ll appreciate the performance benefits it brings.
  • PHP 8.0 was also the fastest with Laravel framework, which is the most popular PHP framework to build web apps. The same holds for many other popular content management systems.
  • If any of the plugins or themes you use aren’t compatible with PHP 8.0, Kinsta suggest you get in touch with their developers and let them know.
  • With support for PHP 7.3 ending soon in late 2021, you should plan to move your sites to PHP 7.4 and above as soon as possible.
  • PHP 8.0 heralds a new dawn for PHP, much like PHP 7.0 was when PHP 5.6 reigned supreme. Kinsta expect the later PHP 8.x versions to be optimized further for performance and security.
  • Kinsta didn’t test PHP 8.0 with JIT enabled. While PHP’s new JIT compiler won’t bring any significant performance benefits to real-apps such as WordPress, it’ll be interesting to see how it plays out in actual usage.
  • Rethink your hosting provider if they don’t keep up with the newer versions of PHP.
  • As mentioned earlier, please test your site thoroughly before updating your webserver’s environment to PHP 8.0. The WordPress Core team still considers WordPress 5.6 to be only “beta compatible” with PHP 8.
  • Besides upgrading to the latest PHP version, WordPress users can further speed up their sites with many other web performance enhancement techniques. We’ve compiled them all in our ultimate guide on how to speed up your WordPress site.

Read the detailed Kinsta PHP Benchmarks here.


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