Recently, some have been wondering how Laravel handles releases. So, I thought I'd shed some light on what our release schedule is.
For the framework releases (as well as Lumen), we do 2 major releases each year. These releases are typically in January or February and the other in August or September. The reason for doing two releases each year is that it's the only time we can introduce breaking changes to the framework. This way we can provide the community with new and improved functionality fast at the trade-off that you'll have to upgrade twice a year. That being said, these upgrades are typically easy to implement. It's also our recommendation that you try to stay up-to-date with each release since we drop support for old releases shortly after a new release.
We also do a minor version release each Tuesday. This allows us to provide you with all of the fixes and improvements from the past week at a rapid pace. Occasionally, we may skip a week if nothing important was added. Crucial bug fixes may be tagged earlier.
For the various Laravel first-party libraries like Cashier, Horizon, Passport, etc. we also do weekly releases on a Tuesday if something relevant was merged into the library. This may be a patch or minor release depending on whether new functionality was added. Major version releases for the libraries only happen after significant breaking changes - which typically is only once or twice a year. All of Laravel's libraries, except for the framework and Lumen, follow SemVer.
Update: as of v6.0 both Laravel and Lumen also follow SemVer.
Lumen and first-party Laravel libraries drop support for old releases immediately when a new major version is released. The length Laravel framework support depends on whether the release is an LTS version or not. Non-LTS versions typically get 6 months of bug fixes and one year of security fixes while LTS versions receive 2 years of bug fixes and 3 years of security fixes.
If you are ever unsure when support for a release has ended you can always reference our support policy page. The next major version update for Laravel is coming later this year and we're excited to share what it has in store for you. Happy coding!