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PHP 5 vs PHP 7

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PHP is a server side scripting language designed for web development by Rasmus Lerdorf in 1994. Since its launch in 1994 PHP has become an industry standard supporting almost 80% of the websites ( 79.8% to be precise) with its closest competitor being ASP.Net at 19.8% and others like Ruby, Java trailing far behind.

The PHP development team released the latest version of PHP: PHP 7 claiming it to be twice as fast as its predecessor PHP 5. So, is migrating to PHP 7 really worth it?

Let’s get into some details:


  1. Performance: As per Zend Technologies, the performance improvement is huge!! Just upgrading to PHP 7 gives enormous performance upgrades. Hence, PHP 7 is often termed PHPNG (PHP – Next Gen) taking the performance of your code to a whole new level.
  2. Return Type: Developers have been raising their eyebrows over not being able to declare a return type for their function. This has somewhat been taken care of in PHP 7 where you will be able to declare what type of value will be returned. Eg. :
    public function area (float $r) : float
       return 3.14*$r*$r;
  1. Spaceship Operator: As the name suggests, the spaceship operator introduced is certainly from a different world. It can be mostly used in sorting and combined comparison. Example:


    function sort ($a,$b)
        if ($a>$b)
            return 1;
        else if ( $a ==$b)
            return 0;
            return -1;

 In PHP 7:

    function sort ($a,$b)
       return $a < = > $b;
  1. Null Coalesce Operator:The coalesce operator (??) returns result of its first operand if it exists, or null if it doesn’t. Eg. :


   if (isset ($_GET [‘name’]))
        $name = $_GET [‘name’];
        $name = null;

In PHP 7:

$name = $_GET [‘name’]?? Null;

Additional Features:

  • Unicode Codepoint Escape Syntax : PHP 7 introduced syntax to escape Unicode codepoint as below :
          echo “\u{202E} Reverse “;      // This outputs : esreveR
  • Deprecation of mysql_* functions: PHP 7 has deprecated all mysql_* functions, now developers have to use mysqli (the intelligent version of MySQL) instead.


While there is no major downside to it, but to just point out, here is a list of some:

  1. A lot of extensions are not ready yet for PHP 7.
  2. If anyone has functions like “ereg” and “mysql” buried deep inside their code base, they are gonna strike a Backward Compatibility wall as these functions are deprecated and, it is going to be a real pain in the behind to upgrade.

Let us look at more differences between PHP 5 and 7 in the below table –

S.No PHP 5 PHP 7
1. 64-bit integers as well as large files are not supported as it do not have 64-bit support. Having a 64-bit support , it enables the programmer to use native 64-bit integers and large files.
2. Handling of fatal errors is a bit challenging. Handling of fatal errors is quite simple.
3. Anonymous class concept is not present. To expedite the execution time , anonymous class is used.
4. Simultaneously performing several activities was difficult. This issue has been resolved in PHP 7 and it allows seamless execution of a variety of tasks.


PHP 7 is the future of PHP and all the applications will need to upgrade to PHP 7 sooner or later. Like all major revolutions throughout history, the PHP 7 revolution will also be spilling some blood before producing something awesome.

How do you feel about PHP 7 in general? Is it heading in the right direction? Let us know!!

This blog is contributed by Ayusch Jain. If you also wish to showcase your blog here, please see GBlog for guest blog writing on GeeksforGeeks.

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Last Updated : 19 Dec, 2022
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