Upgrade to PHP 5.2 coming soon

Laughing Squid Web Hosting is currently planning to upgrade our servers from PHP 4 to PHP 5.2 starting after March 24th, 2008. This is being done with the announced End of Life for PHP 4 (August 8th 2008), requests from customers for PHP5 support and the push from developers to move to PHP 5. There will be many improvements in security, performance, XML handling, the MySQL extension and object-oriented design with PHP 5.

There are some incompatibilities between PHP 4 and PHP 5.2 that may break existing scripts depending on how they are written. If your blog, wiki, or any other tool used in your site is using an older script that is dependent on features in PHP4 that are removed in PHP 5.2 then those scripts will simply not work. Over the next month you should check to see if the scripts you are using are compatible with PHP 5.2. You can do this at the website for the script and you will find many only require that you have the latest stable version or a PHP 5 compatible version installed. If that is the case and you are not already running the latest version you should upgrade the script before the PHP 5.2 migration. Keep in mind that if a tool requires PHP 5 you would need to wait until after your server has been upgraded. Not only is it important to update them for the migration it is also important to keep them updated for security and bug fixes that can affect the security and performance of the server and your site.

We will be sending out an email to all of our customers which will include a time frame on when we will be starting to upgrade the servers. Each server will be upgraded one at a time with one additional email being sent to the customers one week prior to their servers upgrade.

If you are not sure if you are running any PHP scripts, you can try searching your website using an FTP client for any files with a .php extension. Below is a list of some tools that use PHP that you will need to update for the migration (remember you should still check any PHP script you are using to see if it needs to be updated) :

  • Mediawiki (download): Version 1.11.1 shoudl be used after the upgrade since it requires PHP 5.

To assist developers there are manuals available for migrating from PHP4 to PHP5, PHP5.0 to PHP5.1 and from PHP5.1 to PHP5.2. Which cover what has changed between each version including items like which modules in PHP4 have been removed:

  • dbx: Database abstraction library.
  • domxml: Replaced by PHP5’s DOM module.
  • XLST: Replaced by PHP5’s XSL module.

And new modules that are available in PHP5:

  • DOM: For manipulating an XML document usign the DOM API.
  • MySQLi: Improved interface for MySQL.
  • PHP Data Objects (PDO): Low-level database abstraction.
  • SOAP: Create and use webservcies in PHP
  • XSL: PHP XSLT transformation library.

We will be updating this blog post with any additional information on the upgrade, sending out the first email to all of our customers informing them of the upgrade, a time frame on when the first one will be done and one additional email to the customers of each server one week prior to its upgrade. If you have any other questions on the upgrade to PHP 5.2 please submit a help desk ticket and we will answer them as best we can.

UPDATE Known issues with the following:

Joomla version 1.0.x both the OpenSEF and redirect components failed to work on one customers site after upgrading to PHP5.2. This resulted in a blank white page for the site, but disabling these components resolved the problem.