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How To Update PHP Version In WordPress?

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What Is PHP On A WordPress Site?

Every website is code-based. It is never noticeable, but it is vital to the appearance and functionality of a website. There are several different types of programming languages, and WordPress employs a mix of four major ones:

  • HTML and CSS are web browser-based declarative languages. They are in charge of a website’s presentation, such as the layout and pictures.
  • Web programming languages such as Javascript and PHP are used on web servers. They are in control of a website’s diverse features and activities, such as call-to-action buttons and navigation menus.

PHP is by far the most common web development language. The WordPress heart, as well as the majority of themes and plugins, are written in PHP. You can think of it as WordPress’s driver.

Why do you need to be concerned about the PHP on your website?

PHP is a scripting language that runs on your web server. This means that any issues with site output caused by PHP must be resolved by you. Even if your visitor has the fastest wifi link, the best browser, and the best machine in the world, if your server has PHP-related problems, your website will work poorly. It won’t make any difference.

It’s possible that your WordPress website would have issues if you’re using an old version of PHP.

Why Do You Need To Update Your PHP Version?

There are three primary reasons to keep the PHP version up to date:

Security

PHP is a free and open-source scripting language. This means that everyone can alter, strengthen, or contribute to the language’s growth. The language is also extremely influential, with millions of developers using it all over the world.

Both of these factors make PHP a tempting target for cybercriminals. If a vulnerability in the language is discovered, the developers quickly patch it and release a new version of the language. A security patch for the vulnerability will be included in this version. The vulnerability will be removed and your site will be protected until you upgrade the PHP version on your site.

This isn’t to suggest that previous versions of Windows didn’t have security features. It just isn’t safe enough to protect your site from a determined hacker.

Speed and Performance

PHP developers are also actively working to refine and enhance the language. They come out with new models that include updates and new features. When you upgrade to the latest edition, your site’s load speed will increase and the overall performance will be improved.

Search Engine Optimization

According to statistics, if a website takes longer than 3 seconds to load, 40% of visitors will abandon it. Furthermore, Google has made page load speed a ranking factor. Here’s where you can find out why your website is sluggish.

Certain PHP updates will speed up the loading of your website. As a result, the website will be able to retain more visitors. This would result in a higher search engine rating, a better user experience, and more conversions and sales.

Compatibility

WordPress is constantly developing the core and releasing updates. Plugins and themes follow suit, ensuring that their software is WordPress-compatible. The same rules hold true for PHP. WordPress, along with plugins and themes, uses the most recent versions of the PHP language as it improves and is updated.

Plugins and themes will become incompatible if your PHP is not modified.

In such instances, you will be unable to upgrade or install new plugins/themes over time.

Now that you know why upgrading PHP is so critical for your site, let’s see what version of PHP you’re running.

How To Check PHP Version In WordPress?

It’s critical to verify which PHP version you’re currently using before updating to the most recent version available.

This is because, particularly if you haven’t updated PHP in a long time, updating it may cause incompatibility issues. It can cause plugins and themes on your site to malfunction or stop working.

We’ll show you two ways to find out what version of PHP your WordPress site is running.

Using cPanel

Step 1: Log in to your web hosting account and navigate to the cPanel section.

Step 2: Look for a segment called Software here. You’ll see the option to “Select PHP Version.”

Step 3: Upon clicking that, you’ll be redirected to a new page where you can view what PHP version your WordPress site is running on.

In case this option is not available in your hosting account, we recommend installing a plugin.

Using a WordPress Plugin

Step 1: You can install a plugin called ‘Display PHP Version’. It is available in the WordPress repository.

Step 2: After you activate the plugin, visit your WordPress dashboard > Home > At a glance.

Step 3: Here, you can see what version of PHP your website is using.

The most recent version of PHP available at the time of writing this article was 7.4. As you can see in the picture above, the PHP version is very old. The current edition of the site is 5.6.

Since then, there have been four major variants that have been overlooked. (Versions 7.0, 7.1, 7.2, and 7.3 were abandoned)

Directly upgrading from 5.6 to 7.4 causes your site to break or malfunction. But don’t worry; we’ll show you how to update your WordPress site safely and without causing any problems.

Steps To Take Before Updating Your PHP Version

We previously discussed how upgrading your PHP version might cause your website to crash or malfunction. To avoid this, we strongly advise you to take these precautions before upgrading your PHP update.

Take a backup of your WordPress site

Before upgrading your PHP edition, make a full backup of your WordPress account. If something goes wrong, you can easily restore your site to its previous state.

Installing the BlogVault backup plugin will give you a backup of your entire site in a matter of minutes. Simply link your website to the BlogVault dashboard, and your site will be backed up automatically.

It also helps you to restore your site with a single click and guarantees that it will work.

Update WordPress

Always make sure your WordPress core installation is up to date to avoid problems when upgrading your PHP. If you upgrade to the latest PHP version while using an outdated version of WordPress, it can cause incompatibility issues and make your site unusable.

To get started, go to your WordPress dashboard. If a new version is available, you will be prompted as shown above. Update Now should be selected.

Check your plugins and themes

We suggest updating the list of plugins and themes you’ve built in your WordPress dashboard.

If there are any pending changes, we suggest that you do so first. This is due to the possibility that certain plugins would become incompatible with the latest PHP update. We suggest finishing the PHP update first, then activating your plugins one at a time to ensure they all function properly.

If an alert appears that the new version is incompatible with your PHP version, you can disable the plugin before upgrading PHP.

You can be certain that it would trigger issues on your website. After you’ve modified PHP, we suggest updating the plugin.

Check PHP compatibility

To see if upgrading your PHP would cause issues, use the PHP compatibility checker plugin.

This isn’t a foolproof method of detecting compatibility problems because the plugin sometimes ignores things or generates false positives. However, in the vast majority of situations, it is beneficial.

If you experience compatibility problems, disable the plugins or themes in question before upgrading them. You may contact the developers and suggest that they look into the issue. If they can’t fix the problem or don’t react, you’ll have to search for other ways to use these incompatible plugins and themes.

You can proceed to safely upgrade the PHP version on your WordPress site now that you’ve taken these steps and are confident your site can accommodate the update.

How To Upgrade PHP Safely And Easily?

Some coding languages run in web browsers, while PHP runs on your web server, as we described earlier.

Your web host is in charge of and manages your web server. You won’t have much influence over it unless you have your own server.

As a result, there will be no choice to update PHP in your WordPress dashboard. To update PHP on your web server, you’ll need to log into your web hosting account.

While each web hosting service has its own method of updating PHP, they will all be very similar. With two hosting services, GoDaddy and NameCheap, we’ll show you how to update using cPanel.

How to Update PHP version Using NameCheap?

1. log in to your NameCheap web hosting account.

2. Go to cPanel > Software > ‘Select PHP Version’.

3. Under PHP version: you’ll see the text in blue with a dropdown menu. Select the version you want to update to and click on ‘set as current’.

How to Update PHP version Using GoDaddy?

1. Log in to your GoDaddy hosting account.

2. Access My Products > Web Hosting > Manage.

3. Under Settings, switch to Server.

5. Click on the option ‘PHP version.’ A pop-up will appear which allows you to Change PHP Version.

6. Select the version you want to update, type ‘update’ to confirm, and save changes.

Your WordPress site is now running on the most recent PHP update. We highly suggest that you visit your website to ensure that the update went smoothly and that everything is working properly. If you experience any difficulties or are unable to upgrade your PHP edition, please contact your web hosting provider.

Last Thoughts

Your site’s security and efficiency will be harmed if you use obsolete tools. Your site will be stronger and quicker now that you’ve modified your PHP edition! It would also be more resistant to cyber-attacks.

This is, however, just one step in the right direction toward better WordPress protection. On your WordPress blog, we suggest that you always do the following:

  • Use MalCare, a security plugin, to search and track your website. Its strong firewall will keep hackers away from your website.
  • Create a copy of your WordPress site’s backup. If something goes wrong with your site, you can restore it to its previous state using your backup copy.
  • Make it harder for hackers to break into your WordPress account by hardening it. You may link to our WordPress Hardening Guide for more details.

As a result, your WordPress site now runs faster and is more stable.