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PHP 4 and MySQL 4 end of life announcement

WordPress has finally decided to move on to supporting PHP version 5 and dropping support for PHP version 4 since PHP 5 adds many new features and design changes that make developing robust, secure, feature-rich software faster and easier. This decision is in-line with many open-source projects such as Joomla and Drupal, who have already decided to move to PHP 5. Not only will WordPress drop support for PHP 4, but will also discontinue support for MySQL 4 as well.

Our approach with WordPress has always been to make it run on common server configurations. We want users to have flexibility when choosing a host for their precious content. Because of this strategy, WordPress runs pretty much anywhere. Web hosting platforms, however, change over time, and we occasionally are able to reevaluate some of the requirements for running WordPress. Now is one of those times. You probably guessed it from the title — we’re finally ready to announce the end of support for PHP 4 and MySQL 4!

In less exciting news, we are also going to be dropping support for MySQL 4 after WordPress 3.1. Fewer than 6 percent of WordPress users are running MySQL 4. The new required MySQL version for WordPress 3.2 will be 5.0.15.

PHP development began around 1994 and MySQL development began in the same year as well. After a while these 2 products were used widely together and along with Apache as the default web server. The PHP community has announced that December 2007 will be the end of life for PHP4. Per the MySQL Support Lifecycle policy, extended support for MySQL 4.1 ended on December 31, 2009.

So the technology and security behind PHP 5 and MySQL 5 is much more improved when compared to PHP 4 and MySQL 4. WordPress 3.1, which is due in late 2010, will be the last version of WordPress to support PHP 4 and MySQL 4. WordPress 3.2 onwards, due in the first half of 2011, will require PHP 5.2 or higher, and MySQL 5.0.15 or higher.

WordPress users will not be able to upgrade to WordPress 3.2 if their hosting environment does not meet these requirements. This is managed by the built in updater. In order to determine which versions your host provides, there is a Health Check plugin which you can download manually. Right now, Health Check will only tell you if you’re ready for WordPress 3.2 or not. In future releases it will provide all sorts of useful information about your server and your WordPress install, so hang on to it!.

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