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Summary: offers a choice of alternative next-generation PHP engines, like PHP7 or HHVM to be used with WordPress

Alternative PHP Engines

By default, uses the PHP 7.0 as its PHP driver because it is widely supported in the WordPress community and the vast majority of plugins will work with it. Alternative engines have however also been available and changing the PHP engine is remarkably easy.

PHP 5.6

If for some reason the old PHP version is preferred, just add a line to your nginx conguration in /data/wordpress/nginx/custom.conf

set $mode php5.6;

Remember to reload nginx configuration afterwards with wp-restart-nginx.

You can follow the same intructions both in our Vagrant box, and on the live servers. When you make the nginx configuration part of your development repository, all your development, staging and production enviroments will use the same PHP back-end across the board.


For a performance boost we used to offer the option of using the Facebook’s Hip Hop Virtual Machine (HHVM) instead of PHP as the WordPress driver. HHVM was a massive improvement over PHP 5 in speed, but sometimes suffered from stability and compatibility issues. Now when PHP7 has been in general availability for over a year, HHVM is not offered for new WordPress instances any more as HHVM has been deprecated in favour of PHP7.