GovCMS Platform PHP version update (April 2020)

GovCMS Platform PHP version update (April 2020)

The latest GovCMS Drupal 8 (D8) distribution update has been released. Deployment to SaaS sites is scheduled for 4 and 5 May 2020.

Ordinarily Platform as a Service (PaaS) customers are not impacted by distribution updates. On this occasion however, there are impacts to PaaS customers, and you must:

  • before the update , complete prerequisite activities
  • before the next deployment run , decide and implement an upgrade option.

Important! This document includes critical PaaS-specific information that explains what PaaS customers must do before 4 May.

See: What must my organisation do now? > PaaS customers (mandatory actions).

What is included in the update?

In addition to the usual module and core updates, this release contains:

  • an upgrade to PHP 7.3
  • an update to Solr 7.5

Upgrade to PHP 7.3

Active support for PHP 7.2 stopped on 30 November 2019. Security support stops on 30 November 2020, which means that PHP 7.2 is at end of life then.

The GovCMS D8 update includes an upgrade to PHP 7.3, which is supported until 6 December 2020.


What must my organisation do now?

PaaS customers (mandatory actions)

This section explains what PaaS customers must do before 4 May and before their next deployment run. If you do not follow the instructions below, the GovCMS D8 update may negatively impact your website(s).


For Platform as a Software (PaaS) customers, the updates will not install automatically on May 4 or 5. However, the updates will install when your next deployment is run.

Before the next deployment is run, you must merge any outstanding Merge Requests submitted by the GovCMS team.

Additional information is provided below.

Potential impact on PaaS websites

The update from PHP 7.2 to PHP 7.3, means that several modules must be updated, including the Search_API_Solr module. In addition, due to complexities with dependencies, Solr 6.6 will be updated to 7.5 and later to 7.7.

As a PaaS customer, the Dockerfiles in the scaffold that built your initial website are likely to contain a reference to these govcms8lagoon upstream images. Usually, before a PaaS website is built, the Drupal codebase is removed from the PHP images, to minimise the impact of Software as a Service (SaaS) website updates on PaaS websites. However, these images are being upgraded to PHP 7.3 and the Solr image is being updated to 7.5, which means that your site would normally automatically be updated. However, we recognise that this may have unintended consequences for your website.

To prevent the updates from automatically installing on PaaS websites, the GovCMS team has created several GitLab merge requests. These temporarily pin your website to the current PHP 7.2/Solr 6.6 images, which prevents the updates from installing automatically.

Next steps

Before 4 May , your organisation must review, remediate and merge any outstanding merge requests from the GovCMS team that have been added to your project (example below). This will prevent the updates from applying until your next deployment is run. If you require assistance or further explanation on this, please raise a service desk ticket.

Note: Requests cannot be merged by the GovCMS team or GovCMS Service Desk.

In order to upgrade your Drupal installation going forwards , you must either:

  • upgrade to the new versions of the GovCMS Lagoon images – this will involve ensuring that your particular modules are PHP7.3 compatible, and the version of search_api_solr is configured for use with Solr 7.7
    Note: If you intend to become a SaaS customer, this is the recommended option.


  • if you want more control over the update process yourself, replace the current image versions with the upstream source images provided by, which allow you to select the:
    • PHP version 7.2 7.3 or 7.4
      Note: Versions 5.6, 7.0 and 7.1 are available but are at end-of-life. While amazee supports versions 7.2, 7.3 and 7.4, security support for version 7.2 stops on 30 November 2020, which means it will be at end of life.
    • Solr version.
      Note: Versions 6.6 and 7.5 are available. Version 7.7 will be available soon.

Additional advice

The GovCMS team will soon provide more information about how to switch from GovCMS8lagoon images to the provided images.

If you require assistance with this process, please create a GovCMS Service Desk ticket (

Contact details

Need to contact us? Please email:

More information

PHP supported versions:


8.x-1.3 release:

Bug fixes: