Increase your Drupal 7 site speed with PHP 7
PHP has spent many years in the 5.x era, moving through point releases and incremental functionality changes. There was an attempt at a large Unicode rewrite for PHP 6 that never got too far off the ground and we’ve just kept trucking along on PHP 5.
We’ve now skipped right past PHP 6 and on to PHP 7, which has focused almost exclusively on performance, with some very dramatic improvements. Many benchmarks have been touting a 2x speed increase, and some initial benchmarks on Drupal 8 and other PHP platforms have shown that to be true.
What about Drupal 7 though? A Drupal 8 upgrade is a long way off for many people. PHP 7 is largely backwards compatible with PHP 5, so making Drupal 7 work on it is not out of the question. Just recently Drupal 7 achieved 100% passing test coverage on PHP 7 and I figured we should run it through some benchmarks to test performance.
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As you can see in the chart above, the improvements are even greater than expected, with average response times 2.5x quicker on a standard Drupal install and 3x quicker on a standard Drupal Commerce Kickstart install.
For the above benchmarks, I ran the following setup:
- Stock Ubuntu 14.04 Nginx setup on an AWS t2.small instance
- Both setups are identical except for the PHP version.
- I used Apache Bench for the tests, running 1000 requests at 10 concurrency
ab -n 1000 -c 10 http://mydomain.com/
I ran the tests multiple times to ensure consistent results and also ran them with different concurrency settings, which produced different times but the same ratio between PHP5 and PHP7.
Drupal 7 and Drupal Commerce 1.x are quite new to running on PHP7, so use them with caution, but it seems very easily worth the risk with such drastic speed improvements.