Why hosters should install the PHP-intl extension

Although there are many types of hosting, most WordPress users use shared hosting and some use VPS or Cloud hosting. Those who use VPS or Cloud usually manage their own servers and therefore decide which PHP extensions to install, but those who use shared hosting do not usually have that option.

A few weeks ago the Hosting team received a request to analyze the suitability of using the PHP Internationalization extension because, although the WordPress Core does not need it right now (because at no time does the Core or hosting team recommend or demand it), the development teams do not use it because it is not, and hosters don’t install it because WordPress doesn’t use it. It is the fish that bites its tail.

Deciding which Apache modules, which PHP extensions, which database configuration, or the choice of cache is not something to be taken lightly.

Why is the PHP Intl extension important?

WordPress is a global and international software, with support for a multitude of languages and with infinite combinations. Approximately half of the installations are in a language that is not the default (English) and this leads us to think about localisms, transliteration, coding conversions, calendar operations, collation… in short, everything that has to do with the different languages and formats that exist on the planet. And this is what the PHP Intl extension provides.

What do we gain as a WordPress Community with this extension?

Above all, we gained the possibility of using a lot of functions that can make our lives easier as developers and that would improve the way we develop to improve WordPress.

Functions such as collator_compare will allow us to compare Unicode text strings; with numfmt_format we can format a number according to the selected location; character normalization ; message formatting; know what the first day of the week is according to the location, without having to ask the user.

And not only in functionality or ease, but also to improve security, with functions such as Spoofchecker that can tell you if ‘google.com’, ‘goog1e.com’ can confuse the user, or functions related to Internet domains, both to convert an IDN domain to text and text to IDN.

Yes, you might think that WordPress already does a lot of these things, but in many cases it does them using hacks that could now be ignored and used natively.

Recommendation of the hosting team

Taking into account that WordPress continues to grow, the Hosting Team has considered a good recommendation, but not an obligation, for all hostings that work with WordPress the possibility of offering this extension, by default, to all users.

About this document

This document is regulated by the EUPL v1.2 license, published in WP SysAdmin and created by Javier Casares. Please, if you use this content in your website, your presentation or any material you distribute, remember to mention this site or its author, and having to put the material you create under EUPL license.