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Update on PHP 8 Support in WHMCS

By Sarah / July 2nd, 2021

At WHMCS, we work hard to keep our product (and codebase) up-to-date. We want to provide the best possible product and customer support for you while also delivering great performance. In the past year, that has meant adding POP3 OAuth2 support for Google, implementing Bootstrap 4 in the Client Area, changes to our PHP support, and more.

Our PHP version support in particular is vital. WHMCS operates using PHP, both natively and, often, in your third-party customizations. Last year, in WHMCS 8.0, we added support for PHP 7.4 and removed PHP 5.6, 7.0, and 7.1, taking a big step in our ongoing efforts to remain ahead of the curve.

Requests for PHP support
Recently, customers like you have contacted us for more updates to our PHP support. We want to be sure you have all the information on this important part of WHMCS's continued evolution.

Currently, as we finish releasing WHMCS 8.2, WHMCS can run on PHP 7.2, 7.3, and 7.4. The next step for us will be PHP 8 (we even have as much development work for it as possible ready to go) but implementing and releasing it presents a major roadblock. That's unfortunately due to ionCube and its support for new PHP versions. Our current scope of PHP support is compatible with the most recent versions of ionCube. However, ionCube's incompatibility with PHP 8 is a major limitation that prevents us from going further.

PHP 8 reached General Availability near the beginning of the year. Our customers want to run supported PHP versions in their webstacks for a variety of important reasons and we hear you! We'd love to tell you you'll see this coming soon, but, right now, our ability to support PHP 8 is entirely dependent on ionCube applying the necessary updates first.

ionCube and WHMCS
Why does WHMCS have a dependency on ionCube? ionCube is vital for performance, to protect and enforce licensing requirements, and to ensure that upgrades go smoothly, among other benefits. ionCube also assists in the process when you submit a support ticket with us. WHMCS support is able to verify that your installation uses the same core code we ship and hasn't been altered. (Of course, this doesn't apply to supported customizations.)

As you can see, ionCube is an important piece of the software development puzzle, which is why we can't release support for PHP 8 until we're able to test it with an up-to-date version of ionCube. It's important that ionCube continues to update their products for these newer versions of PHP. Since ionCube isn't developed by WHMCS, though, and since ionCube has not announced their development plans, we can't currently give a timeline for PHP 8.

In the future
Moving forward, WHMCS is continuing to monitor ionCube's status and ensure that our own codebase is ready for a swift and easy transition to PHP 8 support as soon as it's feasible. When PHP 8 is supported, we intend to move as quickly as we can while still ensuring that we meet your needs. Our developers are ahead of the game right now, with our changes for PHP 8 support already staged and ready. We're just waiting for that last piece of the puzzle.

We always want to provide the widest range of PHP support possible, both for new PHP versions and those that are approaching End of Life, whenever we can. PHP 8 will bring performance enhancements to help WHMCS run faster and more efficiently, so we're excited to add it to the list of supported PHP versions just as soon as we can.

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