Retiring PHP 5.6 in favor of PHP 7.1
PHP.net will end support for PHP 5.6 in December 2018. As a result, Acquia is ending support for PHP 5.6 in favor of PHP 7.1 on Monday, 1 October 2018. At that time, we will remove PHP 5.6 and convert all remaining environments to PHP 7.1. This deadline will not be extended, as it is critical your website be upgraded to ensure its continued security.
PHP 7.1 provides significant improvements in performance and security over previous versions. PHP 7.1 has been shown to have significant performance increases when upgrading on any version of Drupal. In some cases, PHP 7.1 performed twice as fast when compared to PHP 5.6. We strongly recommend customers move to PHP 7.1 as soon as possible after appropriate testing. Backwards incompatibility between PHP 7.1 and PHP 5.6 is minimal and consists of bug fixes and security improvements.
Customers can perform self-service upgrades until 1 October 2018. This deadline is due to a number of factors:
Many of our customers, rather than upgrade themselves, choose to allow us to perform their PHP upgrade for them. While we don't advise this approach, it is a reality that we will end up completing some of these changes as forced upgrades.
For customers who have compliance certifications with requirements related to privacy and data security, ensuring these upgrades are complete prior to PHP.net's end-of-life is important in ensuring we help our customers meet their compliance deadlines.
Further, we want to make sure that all customers are upgraded to PHP 7.1 or better before PHP.net ends support for PHP 5.6, which in turn leave can leave customer's files and data insecure. We anticipate that security attacks will begin against PHP 5.6 immediately after security support from PHP.net ends. As a result, we are obligated to ensure that all customers and internal system are updated and PHP 5.6 is removed from our platform prior to the PHP.net deadline.
Because many of our customers have high traffic events near the end of the year (e.g. financial closing, business/sales season spikes, holiday-related traffic, administrative end of year events, school registration or finals, etc.) we find that waiting to perform these events in November and December often hurt our customers more than help them. As a result, we are asking customers to perform these upgrades themselves on or before 1 October 2018. After that, we will move forward with forced upgrades. We are leaving time between the end of our self-upgrade window and the holidays so that we have plenty of time to assist customers who run into issues with their forced upgrades prior to their busy holiday period.
Q: Is there any action required on my part?
All environments for all applications must be upgraded to PHP 7.1 before Monday, 1 October 2018. Prior to that date, you should upgrade your non-production websites to test for any incompatibilities in your application. We recommend beginning with your non-production upgrades as soon as possible to ensure you have time to test, prior to upgrading your production application. Once you have resolved any incompatibilities, upgrade your production environment before the end-of-life deadline. See Configuring PHP settings for instructions on changing your PHP version.
Cloud Edge websites will be upgraded to PHP 7.1 automatically as part of regular maintenance, as communicated to customers by email.
Q: How would Acquia recommend I proceed with preparing for my PHP upgrade?
We advise upgrading your development environment first to detect any potential problems in your codebase. Then, we recommend using your staging environment to test any changes that might need to be carried over before upgrading your production environment.
For some Acquia Cloud Enterprise customers, you are able to create a CD environment to test PHP 7.1 before converting your production environment. More information about CD environments can be found at Acquia Cloud CD. If you do not have access to Acquia Cloud CD environments please contact your account manager for additional details.
Q: I am using Acquia Cloud Site Factory. How do I upgrade?
Customers on Site Factory can submit a support ticket or respond to our reminder notification tickets to request the upgrade. Acquia will then perform the upgrade and confirm this with you in the support ticket.
Q: How can I try out PHP 7.x locally?
One option is to use the latest version of Acquia Dev Desktop which supports PHP 7. You can download the latest version from https://dev.acquia.com/downloads
Q: Will there be any downtime for my non-production environments or production website?
There will a moment or two of interrupted service for some connections as PHP restarts. Any content cached by Varnish will not be impacted. Additionally, some Drupal 6.x contributed modules may not be compatible with PHP 7.1. Code changes may be required to ensure your production application operates as expected once you upgrade to PHP 7.1. For further details, see Upgrading from PHP 5.6 to 7.1 or 7.2.
Q: How does this impact applications currently running Drupal 8.x?
For customers with applications running Drupal 8.x, PHP 7.0 or better will be required by 6 March 2019. More information regarding Drupal 8 and PHP 7.0 support can be found on Drupal.org.
Q: What issues are typically encountered when upgrading from PHP 5.6 to PHP 7.1 when using Drupal 6?
Typical issues collected from our technical staff and customers will be shared in Upgrading from PHP 5.6 to 7.1 or 7.2 as they become known. Please share any issues you may encounter with Acquia Support when you upgrade, and we will post them to the article if they are universal in nature.
Q: Are there any other changes related to my PHP upgrade that I should know about?
None at this time. New Relic on the Acquia Cloud platform now works with PHP 7.1.
Q: Are there any tools that can assist with this migration from PHP 5.6 to PHP 7.1?
There is an external tool that can be used to audit codebases for migration to PHP 7.1 that may help with the conversion from PHP 5.6.
Q: Are there other major upgrades coming soon?
We are committed to maintaining the security and stability of the Acquia Cloud platform. To do so, we are removing software that has reached end-of-life and adding new features on an ongoing basis. We work to provide as much lead time as possible, in order to ensure your application runs smoothly while these upgrades and retirement efforts are underway. For more information on upcoming maintenance upgrades, see our Software end-of-life schedule.
Q: I have some additional questions and concerns. Who can I contact?
If you have any questions about this or any other maintenance, you can contact Acquia Support.