Anthony Ferrara, a developer advocate at Google, has published a blog post with some statistics showing the sorry state of affairs for website security involving PHP. After defining a list of secure and supported versions of PHP, he used data from W3Techs to find a rough comparison between the number of secure installs and the number of insecure or outdated installs.

After doing some analysis, Ferrara sets the upper bound on secure installs at 21.71%. He adds, “These numbers are optimistic. That’s because we’re counting all version numbers that are maintained by a distribution as secure, even though not all installs of that version number are going to be from a distribution.

Just because 5.3.3 is maintained by CentOS and Debian doesn’t mean that every install of 5.3.3 is maintained. There will be a small percentage of installs that are from-source. Therefore, the real ‘secure’ number is going to be less than quoted.” Ferrara was inspired to dig into the real world stats after another recent discussion of responsible developer practices.

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