Run HHVM WordPress at Pagely

Here at Pagely® we’ve been working hard on getting our VPS & Enterprise setups dialed in. Please consider running HHVM with us in beta and here is all the information you need to know.

What is HHVM?

HHVM stands for Hip-Hop Virtual Machine and is an open-source virtual machine designed for executing programs written in Hack and PHP. You likely know what PHP is, but what is Hack? It’s a programming language for HHVM that interoperates seamlessly with PHP, while adding features found in other modern programming languages. It allows for both dynamic and static typing. Think of it as PHP on steroids, doing cool stuff that PHP can’t do but yet can work alongside it.

HHVM converts PHP/Hack code into high-level bytecode (intermediate language), and this bytecode is then translated into x64 machine code dynamically at runtime by a just-in-time compiler much like the Java Virtual Machine does for Java.

Who created HHVM and why?

HHVM was initially released by Facebook in February 2010. HHVM was created to save resources on Facebook’s servers, since the site grew rapidly and featured a PHP codebase. After that, engineers at Facebook realized that HHVM could speed up any PHP application in general, with increases in throughput factors of up to 6 observed for webpage generation over Zend. Maybe most impressive, most Zend-based PHP programs can run unmodified on HHVM, illustrating high compatibility. HHVM is distributed under the PHP License.

How does this help me here at Pagely®?

The main benefit is all around performance. Your site could see increases in page load times for the same reasons that Facebook’s did. Running HHVM will also make you bleeding edge and you can tell all your friends about it.

Which plans are eligible?

The VPS-1 is the minimum plan required. Anything above that such as VPS-2, VPS-3, or any of the Enterprise plans will support it as well.

What about compatibility and support?

Some PHP extensions aren’t supported and that means that some WordPress plugins won’t be either, however WordPress core is tested against each HHVM release which is good news. As far as support goes, it’s experimental right now since this is a new aspect for Pagely® as well which means you should be a technical user or have a developer on your staff to help resolve any compatibility issues. We will help identify them but will not be expected to fix them since we don’t have a services division.

Where can I learn more?

We recommend you check out the HHVM website and this video that Facebook’s Paul Tarjan created which explains things nicely.

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  1. I just installed HHVM on one of my production servers last night, and saw an instant 25%+ performance improvement. Now, instead of my webserver being the slowest part of my site, it’s now my CDN and Google’s repositories. I’m getting 700ms load times. It’s really cool that you’re offering this to clients now, not only does it make their sites faster, it also decreases server load which is better for VM reliability.