I broke 100,000+ WordPress websites

Well, I didn’t really, but if you listen to stakeholders in WordPress why we can’t bump PHP versions, I sure did.

I work for a WordPress plugin company and I have released the wordpress.org version and multiple premium add-ons with this composer autoloading issue. I.e., due to generating the autoloader on PHP 7.4 and Composer dropping support for PHP < 7.2.5 with the 2.3.0 release this happened, but has since been fixed. There are two big points here:

  1. Terrible testing job by us. We’re behind on automating many of these things but no one picked up the issue in manually testing this, i.e. we don’t run our own plugin on our minimum supported versions?! This is something that has to be and will be discussed internally.

  2. There have been two (!) support requests for this issue. The free version shows up on wordpress.org as having 100,000+ installation, yet there have been two people affected by this Fatal Error! And none in the premium add-ons offered.

I’m aware this is anecdotal evidence and the stats on wordpress.org are, well stats, empirical data. But for one, that data is incomplete. If you don’t match the WordPress version number to the PHP version, it does not mean much. Also, according to that data, more than half of WordPress installations are running on PHP 7.4 or 8.x. I have written about this earlier this year: PHP versions in WordPress, but I would really like to see a push towards more modern PHP versions soon (as in this year).

Let me clarify one thing: I made the mistake by releasing this code, our team made the mistake by not properly testing our releases. I don’t blame anyone "in WordPress" for mistakes of me and the team.