PHP 8 Now Available

We are very excited to announce that PHP 8 is now supported in Aqua Panel. With both some very big changes under the hood and numerous quality of life improvements, PHP 8 promises to result in some big changes in PHP code going forwards.

Please Note: Before we go into some of the new features of PHP, we should say right here that we do not currently recommend setting your site to using PHP 8. This is due to the large number of potentially breaking changes it introduces. We’d recommend making use of our staging feature for testing upgrades.

Here’s just a few of the changes PHP 8 brings to the table:

Just in Time (JIT) Compilation

JIT compilation is probably one of the biggest changes to PHP 8 in terms of the low level architecture, but also not as likely to create immediate speed improvements as some may think. JIT compilation essentially caches the low level machine code the PHP interpreter generates from your PHP code. This has the potential for big impacts in terms of performance. However because of how JIT works, code has to be specifically written in the right way to make use of it. Most web application code (WordPress included) won’t be written in that way, but we’re likely to see that change over the next few years.

Named Arguments

Named arguments allows you to pass values to a function via the value name rather than just in order. For example if you had:

function foo($a, $b, $c=null, $d=null){ /*...*\ }

You could now call it like so:

foo(a: 1, b: 2, d: 4);

New String Functions

PHP 8 adds some new functions to make finding data in strings a bit easier. str_contains() allows you to check if a string appears in another string. Meanwhile str_starts_with() and str_ends_with()allow you to find if a string appears at the start or end of another string respectively.

Non-capturing catches

You are now able to specify a catch without needing to store it in a variable first. So the following code is now valid:

try {
// Code
} catch(Exception) {
// More Code


You can find out more at PHP’s official launch page here

How to enable

The process for enabling PHP 8 on your site is the same as with previous versions. Simply log into Aqua Panel and select PHP Version from the Advanced Menu. You can then select from any PHP version between 7.2 and 8.0 in the dropdown box.


We look forward to hearing your feedback!

PHP 7.4 and friends come to Hostarium

At Hostarium we strive to provide the latest and greatest technology to our users. That’s why, less than a week after its release, we’re excited to offer PHP 7.4 compatibility for all applications.

PHP 7.4, released on 28th November 2019, is the latest version of the popular PHP programming language (which all our current applications are written in). As always, it provides a decent set of new features, which you can read about on PHP’s website here.

In addition to its new features, PHP 7.4 continues the recent trend of greater performance than its predecessors. Benchmarks indicate performance improvements of up to 15% compared to PHP 7.3 as well as lower memory usage.

Excited as we are providing PHP 7.4, we know that given its newness it may not be compatible with all sites and plugins, so we’re just as excited to announce that you now have the ability to change your PHP version on the fly from within Aqua Panel.

Multiple PHP Versions

It is now possible to choose between three different versions of PHP from within Aqua Panel. The currently supported versions are:

  • PHP 7.2
  • PHP 7.3
  • PHP 7.4

These are all the versions currently supported by PHP, which is an choice we have made to provide the best level of security. This also means we won’t be offering support for any of the PHP 5.x versions.

As with all things at Hostarium, we’ve have tried to make this process as straight-forward as possible, requiring just a few clicks. Simply select the PHP Version option Aqua Panel’s left hand menu under the ‘Advanced Tools’ submenu.

You’ll be presented with a page that shows you what PHP version your site is currently using and have the option to select your desired version from the dropdown menu.

This change will then apply instantly, both on your website and within SSH, if you make use of it.

New sites will continue to deploy with PHP 7.3 until we can be sure of the compatibility across different systems. Existing sites will also retain their current PHP version by default. We made these decisions to avoid breaking changes, but you’re free to change your version right away.

What’s next?

We continue to work to improve Aqua Panel, both by adding new features and improving performance and the user experience. So needless to say we have a lot of new things in the pipeline for early 2020.

One of our primary goals is to make the process of moving to Hostarium as streamlined as possible. So early next year we’ll be introducing new features to make migrating as easy as possible. We can’t wait to show these off to you in the very near future!

Introducing Aqua Panel

Here at Hostarium, we know that having an advanced hosting environment isn’t worth much if it’s too complicated to manage. Because of this, our major design goal with Aqua Panel was ease of use.

So we’d like to take a moment to run through just some of its features.


Your site in one click

One Click Deployment

Your very first step will be to deploy your site. With Aqua Panel this involves just one click. Enter your URL, select your CMS and click Submit. You’ll get a brief description of whichever CMS you select from the list to help you decide which is right for you. (If you’re still not sure, don’t worry! We’ll be posting an article soon giving an indepth introduction to each one and which might be best for you 😉 )


At-a-glance info on your site

Aqua Panel Dashboard

Your site’s dashboard provides important information for you at-a-glance. You can easily see how much disk space you’re using, and a basic summary of how many visitors you’ve had in the last 5 minutes, 15 minutes, 1 hour and 24 hours. As well as a quick link to your admin area and version information.

Website Users

Manage the users for your site

Simple User Management

Aqua Panel gives you an easy interface, available across multiple CMSes to manage your users. Whether you’ve forgotten your password, need to add a new user, or change a user’s permissions, you can do this all with ease.

DNS Records

Easy-peasy DNS management

Aqua Panel DNS EditorWe make use of Amazon’s Route 53 for DNS and provide a simple editor for managing your DNS. You can easily add and edit records of various types, such as A, MX, CNAME and more. Because incorrect DNS records can break site accessibility, all records are validated before insertion to avoid issues.

Website Statistics

Get the full picture

Aqua Panel statistics page

Powered by GoAccess, Aqua Panel provides a full statistics dashboard for your site. Easily see information about your visitors, including IP addresses, Operating Systems and Browsers. The dashboard is generated on the fly from live logs, so you’ll always have the most up to date picture for your site!


So much more

This is of course just a very brief summary of how Aqua Panel makes managing your website with Hostarium a breeze. And of course, if you ever have any issues, our support team is always on hand to help.

As a reminder, for a limited time we’re offering your first month for just £1 when you use the promo code WELCOME. You can view our packages and sign up here.