We at iThemes have always worked hard to ensure compatibility of our products with what people are using in the real world. Our plugins and themes are tested with the current release version, the current development version, and at least two previous releases of WordPress. We run our code through various versions of PHP (from 5.2.4 through pre-release 5.6.0). We run sites on various web servers such as Apache, Nginx, LiteSpeed, and IIS. We test with a dizzying array of browsers: Internet Explorer (versions 6 – 11), Chrome (desktop and mobile), Firefox (desktop and mobile), Safari (Windows, OS X, and iOS), and Opera.
Starting on April 8, 2014, we will be removing two browsers from our testing lineup. On that date, we will no longer support Internet Explorer 6 or Internet Explorer 7.
What does this mean for our customers?
The primary difference is that issues that only apply to Internet Explorer 6 or Internet Explorer 7 will fall outside the scope of support. In other words, if one of our products has a rendering or functional issue in one of those two browsers, this will not be considered a bug, will not receive fixes, and will not receive support attention.
It should be noted that we will not go out of our way to create problems with these browsers, but since we will not test with them, issues are likely to be produced over time.
Why are we taking this action?
You may wonder why we are taking this action now. The short answer is that Microsoft will officially stop supporting Windows XP on April 8. You can find more details about this in addition to a countdown clock here.
Without support from Microsoft, it is predicted that Windows XP will become a very insecure operating system in a very short period of time. And since the end of support has been known about for some time, many security experts believe that many Windows XP exploits have been held in reserve while the attackers patiently wait for support to end so that their exploits will never be protected against.
What if you’re still running Windows XP?
If you are still running Windows XP, you need to upgrade to a new operating system or replace your hardware very soon. For more than a year, there has been a tremendous increase in sites becoming hacked due to FTP and similar login credentials being stolen by keyloggers running on the system accessing the site. Thus, the security of your sites is dependent not just on the security of your site’s software and the server the site runs on, but on the security of the computers you use to work on those sites as well. After April 8, it will be quite dangerous to manage sites using Windows XP soon as the unpatched holes that keyloggers can come in through will only continue to increase with no possible future solution.
It’s the end of an era. After more than twelve years of service for Internet Explorer 6 and seven years of service for Internet Explorer 7, it’s time that we let them fade off into history so that we can all move on to bigger and better things.