An introduction to Hip Hop Virtual Machine and WordPress 3.9

We’re not talking about a new craze in urban dance, but a new open source PHP execution engine created by Facebook that could seriously boost the performance and efficiency of your site.

hiphop-woofer (FlickR user RPM1200 https://flic.kr/p/7JLUWV)

Why would Facebook need to develop HHVM?

The rapid growth of Facebook around four years ago meant they needed to constantly buy more server space to service all the requests using traditional PHP execution engines. To solve this problem they designed a way to compile the code and execute it directly rather than have it compile opcodes and interpreted. They called this HPHPc, or Hip Hop to C++. Maintaining this, developer and debugger versions became unwieldy, so they used their experience with the compiler to launch Hip Hop Virtual Machine (HHVM).

What does it do?

HHVM turns PHP to bytecode which in turn is further converted into 64bit machine code at runtime by a just-in-time (JIT) compiler. In laymans terms, HHVM removes a step of the process that makes PHP (your website) perform on your server, which gives performance boosts of 2 to 20 percent.

What does this mean for your WordPress site?

The latest update to WordPress, 3.9, means you can take advantage of HHVM. Pragmatic can advise on how to go about this, but fundamentally it could mean your site has the edge over competitors by loading faster, and getting content to your visitors/customers in the most efficient way.

According to kinsta.com, one second additional page load time results in 7% decrease in conversion rates.

How we can help

  • Consult on how to implement HHVM on your site
  • Analyse your current site and provide optimisation advice
  • Don’t have a WordPress site? Talk to us about creating one, and taking advantage of HHVM

Sounds interesting? Not sure if it’s for you? Contact us to find out more.

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