Despite that it has been known for a while, the time has now simply come. PHP 4 has received its final release, version 4.4.9. The last security fix, the last bug fixes, and the last time it will get support. It’s time for PHP 5. If you run a web site at a hosting provider, or perhaps are your own host .. this blog entry is a required read for you.
The first stable release of PHP 4 was on May the 22nd, in 2000. Version 3 was history with the cool new stuff that version 4 introduced. A lot of hosting companies moved up supporting PHP 4 and later on version 5. Once a first stable release of version 5 was introduced hosting companies moved over, but a lot did not.
Actually, quite a few already focused on version 5, while still supporting version 4 simply so old code would still run. However, from the hosting providers I have an account with 2 out of 3 have emailed their customers ahead of time informing them of the EOL of version 4 and the consequences there of. And any new VPS or Dedicated solution purchased in 2007 and 2008 seems to have Apache 2, PHP 5, and MySQL 5 on some sort of Linux distribution.
So, as of August 08, 2008 (08-08-08) PHP 4 is no longer supported. The latest stable and support version is PHP 5. At the moment that is 5.2.6. If you are your own host, upgrade to the latest version as soon as possible. And if you are not, but have an account with a hosting provider please make sure they upgrade as soon as possible. You can check which version your host is running by making a new phpinfo.php file with the following content:
<?php phpinfo(); ?>
Upload it to your public html directory and browse to it. If your hosting provider refuses to upgrade from PHP 4 to PHP 5, move to another provider; One that cares about their customers, performance, stability, security, etc.
A small tip for vBulletin owners, if you run vBulletin version 3.6 or higher, I recommend to upgrade your services to Apache 2, PHP 5, MySQL 5, and check vBulletin.com/features.php (left column) which recommended version. If possible use APC and set your config.php file to mysqli.
Anyway, PHP 4 is now officially history, PHP 5 is the now. So use it!