Understanding the difference between PHP version 7.0 and 5.6



We all are well versed with the name PHP (Hypertext Preprocessor). It is a computer programming language used for making fast and dynamic websites. It is a server side scripting language  i.e. PHP scripts or program runs on the web server.  There were different release of PHP version. The currently supporting PHP versions are given below:-

Versions of PHP

Date of release

Duration of Security


28 Aug 20141 year, 2 months


3 Dec 2015

1 year, 1 month

7.11 Dec 2016

2 years, 1 month

Few points that make PHP 7.0 different from PHP 5.6 are:

1: Enhanced Speed:

One of the advantage of the new PHP 7 is the compelling improvement of performance. The new  feature of PHP 7 is that, not only the code will run faster but it will also need fewer servers to serve the same amount of users.

Given below is the performance charts disposed by the Zend Performance Team:-



Frameworks(Laravel and Zend):-


2: Improved Error Handling:

Exception handling is one of the essential parts of the code. The exception handling saves the code in different  situations. Various fatal errors have been converted to exceptions in PHP 7. If the exception is not caught,  PHP will return the same fatal errors as it occurs in PHP 5.6 .

The \EngineException objects doesn’t extends the Base Class. This ensures backward compatibility and results in two different kinds of exceptions in error handling:-

  • Traditional
  • Engine Exceptions.

An example code of converting fatal errors to exceptions in PHP 7 is given below:

function call_method($obj)

{ $obj->method(); }

call_method(null); // oops!

This will throw a fatal error: “Fatal error: Call to a member function method() on a non-object in /path/file.php on line 4.”

Now PHP 7 replaces the fatal error with an EngineException. The code is:-

try {

call_method(null);// oops!}

catch (EngineException $e) {

echo “Exception: {$e->getMessage()}\n; }

It will display:- “Exception: Call to a member function method() on a non-object.”

3: Supports 64-bit windows systems:

PHP is basically used on Linux environment but it is also possible that it can be executed on a Windows system.

The PHP 5.6 doesn’t provide 64-bit integer or large file support, so until now x64 builds have been considered experimental in this version.

The PHP 7 changed this as it introduced consistent 64-bit support i.e. both 64-bit integers and large files will be supported, allowing the programmer to run the language efficiently on his 64-bit Windows system.

4: Accurate type declarations:

The new PHP 7 enables developers to enhance the quality of their code with the help of return type declarations.

The code below shows a very simple use case where the test() function returns an array.

function test():  array {

return ];  }

 PHP 7 introduces four new type declarations for scalar types: int, float, string and bool. They allow programmers to denote that they are willing to get integers, floats, strings, or booleans as the return type.

5: The Spaceship Operators:

The Spaceship operator is also known as Combined Comparison Operator. It is denoted as: <=> .  The spaceship operator returns 0 if both operands are equal, 1 if the left is greater, and -1 if the right is greater. It’s also called a three-way comparison operator. It is described as:

The Spaceship Operators


In this blog, we have observed some of the basic difference between PHP 5.6 and PHP 7. It is a drastic update as compared to the last stable version i.e.  PHP 5.6. It performs much faster than PHP 5.6. Hence, To convert the code from PHP 5.6 to PHP 7, one needs to check all the compatibility of code and libraries.

To know more features about PHP 7 Click Here..