Table of Contents
PHP is a programming language that powers the majority of websites on the internet, including WordPress. PHP stands for Hypertext Preprocessor and is used to create dynamic content on websites. In WordPress, PHP is used to create the structure and functionality of your website, from displaying blog posts and pages to handling user comments and form submissions. Keeping your PHP version up to date is important for several reasons.
First, new versions of PHP often include security fixes and performance improvements. Using an outdated version of PHP can leave your website vulnerable to security breaches and may cause it to run slower. Additionally, new versions of PHP may introduce new features and functions that can improve the overall user experience of your website.
It’s important to note that updating PHP can also potentially break your website. This is why it’s important to carefully plan and test your PHP updates before implementing them on a live website.
Checking Your Current PHP Version in WordPress
Before updating your PHP version, it’s important to first check what version you are currently running. This is because some WordPress plugins and themes may not be compatible with newer versions of PHP, which can cause issues on your website.
To check your current PHP version in WordPress, you’ll need to access your website’s WordPress Dashboard. Once logged in, go to the “Tools” menu and click on the “Site Health” option.
On the Site Health page, scroll down to the “Info” tab and look for the “PHP Version” field. This will display the version of PHP that your website is currently running on.
It’s also a good idea to check with your hosting provider to see what version of PHP they recommend for your website. Some hosting providers may have a specific version of PHP that they recommend for optimal performance and security.
Updating PHP Version in WordPress: Two Method Options
There are two main methods for updating PHP in WordPress: via the WordPress Dashboard or via cPanel. Both methods have their own pros and cons, and which one you choose will depend on your specific needs and preferences.
Method 1: Updating PHP via the WordPress Dashboard
One way to update PHP in WordPress is by using a plugin called “PHP Compatibility Checker.” This plugin allows you to easily update your PHP version without having to access your hosting control panel (cPanel).
To use this method, follow these steps:
- Install and activate the “PHP Compatibility Checker” plugin on your WordPress site.
- Go to the “Tools” menu and click on the “PHP Compatibility” option.
- On the PHP Compatibility page, select the desired PHP version from the dropdown menu and click the “Scan Site” button.
- The plugin will scan your website for any compatibility issues with the selected PHP version. If any issues are found, they will be displayed on the screen.
- If no issues are found, click the “Update PHP” button to update your PHP version.
- A notification will appear on the screen indicating that your PHP version has been updated. You can then click the “View PHP Version” button to confirm that the update was successful.
Method 2: Updating PHP via cPanel
Another way to update PHP in WordPress is by accessing your hosting control panel (cPanel) and changing the PHP there. This method requires a bit more technical knowledge and is best for users who are comfortable with managing their own hosting environment.
To use this method, follow these steps:
- Log in to your hosting control panel (cPanel).
- In the “Software” section, click on the “Select PHP Version” icon.
- On the Select PHP Version page, select the desired PHP version from the dropdown menu and click the “Set as current” button.
- A notification will appear on the screen indicating that your PHP version has been updated. You can then click the “Switch To PHP Options” button to confirm that the update was successful.
Troubleshooting Common Issues with PHP Version Updates
Despite careful planning and testing, it’s possible that you may encounter issues when updating PHP in WordPress. Some common issues that may arise include:
- Website downtime: If your website goes down after updating PHP, it may be due to compatibility issues with plugins or themes. To fix this issue, you can try disabling all of your plugins and switching to a default theme to see if that resolves the issue. If it does, you can then enable your plugins and themes one by one to identify which ones are causing the issue.
- Plugin and theme compatibility issues: As mentioned earlier, some plugins and themes may not be compatible with newer versions of PHP. If you encounter issues with specific plugins or themes after updating PHP, you may need to contact the plugin or theme developer for support or consider finding an alternative plugin or theme that is compatible with the new PHP version.
- Server-side issues: If you’re using a shared hosting plan, you may encounter issues with your PHP update due to server-side issues. In this case, it’s best to contact your hosting provider for support.
Best Practices for Updating PHP in WordPress
To ensure a successful PHP update in WordPress, here are some best practices to follow:
- Always backup your website before updating PHP. This will allow you to restore your website in case anything goes wrong during the update process.
- Test your PHP update on a staging or development environment before implementing it on a live website. This will allow you to identify any potential issues before they affect your live website.
- Check for plugin and theme compatibility before updating PHP. As mentioned earlier, some plugins and themes may not be compatible with newer versions of PHP, which can cause issues on your website.
- Stay up to date with the latest PHP version releases. Newer versions of PHP often include security fixes and performance improvements, so it’s important to keep your PHP version up to date for the best possible website experience.
- Consider consulting with a developer or hosting provider for assistance with updating PHP. If you’re not comfortable with managing your own hosting environment or have a complex website with many custom plugins and themes, it may be best to seek the help of a professional.
Updating PHP in WordPress is an important task to ensure the security and performance of your website. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can successfully update your PHP and enjoy all the benefits that come with it. Just remember to always backup your website and test your updates on a staging or development environment before implementing them on a live website.