It's not infrequent we come across sites running on PHP 5.3 and cringe at the thought of running a potentially insecure and unsupported version of the language. But aside from that we should take care to look at the other tangible benefits of running a more modern version of PHP, namely performance and stability. With the latest version of concrete5 we're able to even run PHP7 and we're about to show you what's so exciting about that.

Below is a table of our findings. These tests were run against an account on our very own standard shared hosting plan, so nobody should think that "I can only get these kinds of results by having my own VPS or Dedicated Server and optimizing it to the max". The requests were made against the default home page of concrete5 version 7.

About the results

The sections with Concurrency Level, Average TTFB (Time to first byte), and Results File are the results of ApacheBenchmark. The TTFB is measured in milliseconds, and as you can see the more requests per second we throw at it the more it slows down. But perhaps what's most interesting here is that PHP7 with opcache at 10 concurrent requests averages a lower TTFB than PHP 5.3 does serving up only 1 requests at a time, and also outperforms all other versions of PHP at 10 concurrent requests by at least 53% and as much as 214%.


The Siege Results, were taken from a HTTP stress tester known as Siege. These are the results that came from throwing ~40 concurrent requests repeatedly at the server for 60 seconds, when one of the requests finished another one was sent. The Transactions is the number of successful requests processed. The Availability percentage indicates out of the 40 "users" making request, how often did the request succeed. Finally the Response Time in seconds is on average how long did it take to receive a response.

As we can see from these results, PHP7 with opcache enabled is the clear winner when it comes to performance, serving up requests 4x faster than PHP 5.3. Additionally the average response time under load was 1/4 of what it was and when not under load it was consistently half.  Another aspect which I feel is important when looking at the results is the Availability. Most websites don't just have a nice steady stream of requests all day long, there are lulls and spikes in traffic. These results show a pretty clear distinction on scalability with the newer versions of PHP, and the overall performance improvements that having opcache can have for you. By default PHP 5.4 and PHP 5.3 don't even offer opcache, you have to manually add the PECL module and many web hosts don't do this.




  PHP7 OpCache PHP7 PHP5.6 OpCache PHP5.6 PHP5.5 OpCache PHP5.5 PHP5.4 PHP5.3
Concurrency Level 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
Average TTFB 419 711 561 895 645 633 815 835
Results File PHP7_opcache_1.txt PHP7_1.txt PHP5.6_opcache_1.txt PHP5.6_1.txt PHP5.5_opcache_1.txt PHP5.5_1.txt PHP5.4_1.txt PHP5.3_1.txt
Concurrency Level 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
Average TTFB 438 723 554 900 662 635 819 839
Results File PHP7_opcache_2.txt PHP7_2.txt PHP5.6_opcache_2.txt PHP5.6_2.txt PHP5.5_opcache_2.txt PHP5.5_2.txt PHP5.4_2.txt PHP5.3_2.txt
Concurrency Level 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5
Average TTFB 545 731 724 902 609 633 852 872
Results File PHP7_opcache_5.txt PHP7_5.txt PHP5.6_opcache_5.txt PHP5.6_5.txt PHP5.5_opcache_5.txt PHP5.5_5.txt PHP5.4_5.txt PHP5.3_5.txt
Concurrency Level 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10
Average TTFB 753 1265 1166 1616 1023 1159 1525 1545
Results File PHP7_opcache_10.txt PHP7_10.txt PHP5.6_opcache_10.txt PHP5.6_10.txt PHP5.5_opcache_10.txt PHP5.5_10.txt PHP5.4_10.txt PHP5.3_10.txt
SIEGE RESULTS PHP7_opcache_siege.txt PHP7_siege.txt PHP5.6_opcache_siege.txt PHP5.6_siege.txt PHP5.5_opcache_siege.txt PHP5.5_siege.txt PHP5.4_siege.txt PHP5.3_siege.txt
Transactions 1037 511 682 362 499 339 355 276
Availability 87.51 62.17 75.36 51.06 71.59% 50.67% 54.67% 43.40%
Response Time (seconds) 2.24 4.5 3.37 6.22 4.62 6.65 6.97 8.06


PHP7 Concrete5

Concrete5 Page Speeds

Whether you're looking for the version of PHP to serve up the most requests or have the fastest load times, PHP7 will definitely serve you well. If you'd rather go with something a little bit less bleeding edge and more widely tested across concrete5 websites, PHP 5.6 with opcache is most likely your next best bet. If you can't get opcache, try checking if you are offered xcache, as it also has some decent performance advantages (even though I didn't benchmark in the above list I can tell you from experience that they produce similar results to opcache). If you're curious about HOW fast it really is, go ahead and check out and witness PHP7 for yourself on exchangecore shared hosting. You can even try out the editing interface by using the username demo and the password demouser. Very frequently you can have the entire page RENDERED in under a second.


Posted by Owen on
That demo site is running fast! And no compatibility issues?
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