Keeping your website running smoothly is everyone’s ambition right? So it makes sense to have everything up to date as much as possible. Now everyone knows about updating plugins and themes but what about the stuff going on in the background?
An often overlooked feature is to update the PHP version that your server is running.
What is PHP?
PHP is a scripting language which plays a part in powering tour website. Like all software from time to time, PHP gets updated to patch security issues and improve its features. And just like other software, it’s important to keep your PHP version up to date to keep a smooth running website.
Why you should upgrade to WordPress to PHP 7
You may not have even known or realised but you already have PHP installed. PHP doesn’t automatically upgrade itself and an outdated version might not play nicely with the plugins and scripts installed on your site.
It is also possible that the minimum requirements to run WordPress have been increased.
A more up to date PHP version can also increase site loading time.
There are many very valid reasons to go and upgrade but there are also some drawbacks and some possible side effects that you should look out for
The main thing to keep in mind is that not all plugins or your theme may be compatible with the latest PHP version.
PHP has an up to date list of unsupported version including dates on their website
Each version of PHP brings on some form of coding improvements and security fixes. An update may also mean that an older version is unsupported and outdated. So for example, an upgrade to the latest PHP version could be a disaster for your website if some sections rely on the older PHP version.
If you find that you are using a plugin or a theme that is not compatible with the version of PHP that you would like to upgrade to, then you must contact the author and ask about resolving the issue.
A great plugin to run on your site is PHP Compatibility Checker
This plugin lets you select a PHP version and run some tests to see if your website is compatible. It will also give you a report advising you on what to fix.
Can I do it myself?
Yes, although web hosts differ, most Cpanel layouts are very similar. Just follow these steps
- Log into cPanel.
- Click the PHP Configuration button in the Software section…
- Select the version of PHP you want to use from the dropdown.
- Click the Update button to save your PHP configuration.
- Check your changes by viewing your settings in a phpinfo page.
It is really not as difficult a process as you may imagine. It is also advisable to check your website for any errors that may have occurred. If you do not feel comfortable going through this process, then it is advisable to contact your web host customer support and ask them to assist you in making the change.