78.3% of all websites use PHP as of August 2021. The names include industry giants such as WordPress, Wikipedia, and Facebook. Here is the percentage of websites using different versions of the PHP framework:
If these leading websites are using the PHP framework, there must be a reason, right? Now, before you jump in and mutter to yourself, “I need to hire PHP developers,” wait a minute. Why not know 6 ways to boost website performance using the PHP framework first?
- Use Native PHP functions
You asked a passer-by for the direction of a restaurant. The person answered in your native language. Won’t you understand what they’re saying better than if they answered in a different language?
Native PHP functions work the same way. These are the predefined PHP functions that come in the installation package. The native functions allow you to write codes faster. Furthermore, since the functions can be called directly, you avoid performance issues as well.
PHP offers a library with over 1,000 native PHP functions. Furthermore, use special-purpose PHP syntaxes and functions instead of generic functions.
Thus, use JSON over XML. If you are using XML, never use DOM manipulation. Instead, using the regular expressions as the regular expressions will lower the time you spend writing codes.
- Apply Caching and Static Assets Minification
Let’s consider another scenario. You are going to a beach. You packed a suitcase not only with towels, lotions, and hats but also sweaters, a suit jacket, and a dress shoe. Overkill, right? You better leave the extra baggage home.
That is what Minification helps you with in the PHP framework. The process removes unnecessary characters from the source code. However, the functionality of the code remains the same. Thus, the source code becomes more efficient. Furthermore, the process lowers bandwidth usage and load times.
The removed characters include comments, line breaks, and white spaces.
This is what you get when you minimize only the CSS and HTML of a PHP website:
Notice the loading time lowering from 756 ms to 546 ms. If you minimize all the other scripts, the loading time will be lower further.
Furthermore, use caching systems such as Redis and Varnish. Why? With cache, you can store certain content for future requests. When a user makes the same request in future, the requests pass through the caching system. Thus, the server load reduces.
- Upgrade to the latest PHP version
How does upgrading to the latest PHP version help? Here is how:
- The latest versions offer the fastest performance. PHP 8 offers a 45% faster performance than PHP 7.4. Furthermore, PHP 7 executes twice requests per second compared to PHP 5.6 at half the latency.
- The latest PHP versions offer the highest level of security. However, the older versions never get security updates. PHP 5.5 has never received a security patch since 2016. For PHP 5.4, the year is 2015.
- Most compatible with the latest versions of popular CMSs such as WordPress.
- The latest PHP versions are compatible with themes and plugins.
Thus, always upgrade to the latest PHP version. For now, that is PHP 8 which launched in November 2020. A PHP version is usually supported for 3 years.
- Code optimization
With code optimization, you can optimize the website performance. Furthermore, code optimization allows you to make sure the cost-effectiveness of the system storage is reliable.
A quality code enhances performance and is easy to optimize. Here is how you can optimize code:
- Use single quotes over double quotes.
- For web services, use JSON over XML. Native PHP functions such as json_encode ( ) and json_decode ( ) perform much faster than manually written ones.
- Release all resources and iterations. Releasing include closing a curl request, closing file handler, and unsetting large arrays. Miss that and resource maintenance will take up large memory space.
- When processing codes, use an absolute path instead of a relative path for all the included files. Furthermore, initiate codes by defining a WEB_ROOT. You can further use the WEB_ROOT globally in the entire code. The process will speed up the PHP performance.
- Apply profiling for PHP performance tuning. Profiling helps to detect slow code and other performance bottlenecks. You can use third-party PHP profiler tools such as Blackfire, Tideways, and Zend.
- Never use count in the condition section. Why? When the loop gets iterated, the count function in the condition section gets called each time. Thus, the process continues till infinity. Thus, not using count will save you in code processing time.
- Identify and address performance bottlenecks
When a component’s limitations slow down the entire system, performance bottlenecks arise. Thus, fine-tuning your code is essential to boost website performance. The performance bottlenecks can include anything such as caching, database queries, or third-party APIs.
Check the following areas of the web server for performance bottleneck issues:
- CPU performance
- Network capacity
- Memory utilization
- Fragmented life system
- Unwanted background processes
Take the following steps to detect and sort out performance bottlenecks:
- Set performance parameters and conduct tests to identify the processing time for every component.
- Track performance for the entire life cycle of the application. Gather data on the key metrics including cache, databases, average response time, and throughput.
- Check the data for release cycles. Compare the same with the baseline performance metric.
- Furthermore, distribute workloads across multiple servers and minimize redundant servers.
Enable OPcache on PHP server
OPcache stores precompiled scripts in shared memory. Thus, PHP never needs to load and parse scripts at each request. How does that help?
PHP script processing has 4 steps:
- Lexical analysis (Lexing)
- Syntax analysis (parsing)
OPcache removes the first three steps. Thus, you can directly execute or launch the application. Imagine how much time you will save.
Furthermore, each subsequent request skips the compilation phase. However, OPcache compiles and stores new code updates.
OPcache makes the PHP performance 3x faster. Furthermore, the load time reduces as well.
PHP development is here to stay
With its multi-platform compatibility with Windows, iOS, and Linux, voice search optimization, and cloud integration, PHP will continue to rule the web. Thus, knowing the techniques to boost website performance will help you take your business to the next level.