Upgrade to PHP 5.3 on Windows for 40% Performance Boost

Devs that stick to PHP 5.2 on Windows are simply missing out on some extra speed

By on October 13th, 2011 11:19 GMT

The latest version of PFP on Windows allows developers to take advantage of quite a consistent performance boost, all the more reason for them to upgrade.

In all fairness, PHP 5.3 on Windows has been around for a while, but there are still projects leveraging older iterations of the technology. Microsoft’s Brian Swan quoted Rasmus Lerdorf, the father of PHP, who noted at the Seattle PHP Meetup that moving to PHP 5.3 on Windows implies getting an increase in speed of no less than 40%.

The image on the left comes from a presentation authored by Pierre Joye, and does an excellent job of highlighting some of the aspects of the evolution from PHP 5.2 to PHP 5.3 on Windows.

“As you can see from the slide, there are 3 main reasons for the performance improvement: PHP 5.3 is compiled with the VC9 compiler (also known as the Visual C++ 2008 compiler); rather than calling the POSIX abstraction layer in the Windows build of PHP, the Win32 API is called directly; PHP library management was improved in PHP 5.3,” Swan explains.

“Clearly, that’s the short answer, but it should give you some idea of why PHP 5.3 is 40% faster on Windows than previous versions of PHP.”

Of course, devs need to make the jump to PHP 5.3 in order for their projects to start benefiting from the speed improvements introduced in the latest version. PHP 5.3.6 is the most recent update available to developers, released in March 2011.

Microsoft has worked closely with the PHP community in order to improve performance dramatically compared to what it was a few years ago.

The Redmond company’s efforts are obviously designed to get more and more developers interested in building PHP projects designed to run on top of Windows Server, and even Windows Azure, attracting them away from Linux and Apache.