We get support requests in waves about what version of PHP Sparkle supports, or if it needs PHP at all. Generally the waves happen when web hosting providers are notifying their customers about a version upgrade, so understandably customers think to ask to us.
At the time of writing, Sparkle uses PHP for 3 built-in features:
- Contact form
- Instagram support
- Site Search
All three features work throughout the most common versions of PHP in use, we have so many customers using a large variety of web hosts, so clearly we need to be compatible with all.
The minimum version for Sparkle-generated PHP is 5.6, and the reason is earlier versions don’t really have good UTF8 support, which is necessary for international text in contact forms and in site search.
All PHP versions throughout PHP 7.3 are supported.
Considering that even PHP 5.6 is now deprecated because it’s too old, there is no current PHP version that Sparkle doesn’t support.
Sparkle’s PHP does use some modules that are not installed in all deployments of PHP, but in those cases it checks if they are installed and uses a fallback or workaround if they are not, this is generally just for cases where using a module would improve performance.
We will be adding more features that makes use of PHP, but always keeping the above guidelines in mind – we need to support all web hosts so it’s safe to say that all PHP versions are supported.