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How to update PHP in WordPress? – Full Tutorial

by Naseem Kaloo
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Do you want to learn how to update PHP in WordPress? You’re in the right place.

If you don’t know, WordPress is built in PHP & has now become a great global platform to facilitate non-programmers with beautiful websites. You’re saved from writing hundreds & thousands of coding lines, all thanks to WordPress.

Even if you have zero PHP knowledge, you must be concerned with frequent & consistent updating of your WordPress site. Because outdated versions are soft-targets of hackers to exploit & hack the sites. Once your site is hacked, it might no longer exist in Google’s good-book & may lead to account suspension by your web host too.

To not let this nightmare ever turn into reality, you better update PHP in WordPress to prevent any such attacks & also ensure a smooth running website.

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How to check your current PHP version in WordPress?

Before checking out the steps to update the PHP version, let us help you to figure out your recent PHP version in WordPress.

It’s essential to check your current version for compatibility because it may be the reason for many of your plugins & theme features to not run as expected. You can also run compatibility check in 2 ways:

1. Check PHP version using cPanel

Step:1 Login to your web hosting account & go to cPanel

Step:2 Find “Software” section & click on “Select PHP version

Step:3  You’ll be redirected to a screen showing current PHP version of WordPress site

Note: If this option isn’t available in your hosting account, you can also check it via WordPress plugin installation.

2. Check PHP version using WordPress Plugin

Step:1 Install Display PHP Version plugin by WordPress from WordPress repository

Step:2 Activate the plugin & go to Dashboard -> Home -> At a glance

You’ll see the PHP version instantly visible on the screen.

By the time you run a compatibility check, you’ll find the PHP version in use for your WordPress site. It’s great if you’re having the latest & updated version. If not, we recommend updating it.

Meanwhile, don’t forget to perform these four things before updating to the latest WordPress PHP version.

4 Things to do before updating PHP Version

You must be curious to switch to the latest & better PHP version for WordPress to prevent any breaks or malfunctions. Here are the essential things to do before updating the PHP version:

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1. Take Backup of WordPress Site

What if something goes wrong unfortunately during updates? If you don’t have a backup, it will be a blank page for you. We strongly recommend you to take a backup of your current WordPress site.

In case, if something goes wrong, you’ll have the backup of the entire website to be restored in a few minutes. You can simply use Backup and Restore WordPress Plugin. It’s a brilliant plugin using which you can save every setting, posts, comments, revisions, plugin, themes, and media file uploads in one click.

This plugin is useful even if you have hundreds & thousands of webpages, it’ll take a compressed backup. Similarly, restoration is hassle-free.

2. Install & Update WordPress version

As you’re concerned with PHP, you should also ensure that your WordPress version is the latest too. Newer PHP version & outdated WordPress version can also cause incompatibility issues.

Look at your WordPress dashboard to know if you’re using the latest WordPress version or not. If any update is required, you’ll be notified there with something like

WordPress [New Version] is available! Please update now’.

Click & update WordPress.

how-to-update-wordpress-version-cPanel-Touchdroid

Image Source: Google

3. Update Plugins & Themes

An update is required for plugins & themes, if available at the moment. If you install a new PHP version & it will be incompatible with plugins & themes, you might face issues.

The recommended method is to complete the PHP update first & then enable each plugin one after the other. This is the best way to make sure that each of them is functioning well. If you see any warnings, you should disable plugins before you update PHP.

4. Run PHP Compatibility Check

You can use PHP Compatibility Checker for this. It will help you to find out if updates can cause problems or not. The possibility remains that the plugin might miss some items or flag incompatibilities as positive & hence we can’t rely on this as a surefire method.

PHP Compatibility Checker - Touchdorid

Image Source: Google

In case if you encounter any incompatibility issue, just disable the plugins or theme before you update them. This simple method will work for painless PHP version update & you can then enable plugins & update them, as discussed above.

How to update PHP in WordPress in 4 Easy Steps?

Your web hosting account is required for updating PHP on the webserver. Though updating methods differ according to web hosting providers, they’re almost the same.

We’ll share how to update PHP in WordPress using cPanel with GoDaddy and HostGator. For other web hosts, we’re sharing the following helpful links for you:

How to update PHP WordPress GoDaddy?

  1. Log in to your GoDaddy cPanel web hosting account
  2. Go to My Products > Web Hosting > Manage
  3. View Settings, go to Server
  4. Click on PHP Version & then a pop-up will appear. You can then click on the Change PHP Version.
  5. View the dropdown & select the PHP version you want to update. You’ll be required to type update as confirmation & click save changes.
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Once you’re done with these steps, you access the latest PHP version on your WordPress site. Check your website thoroughly & ensure that update is successful. If you find any difficulties, contact your web hosting provider.

Process for HostGator Update PHP Version

With HostGator, you either have MultiPHP Manager or PHP Selector plugin in the cPanel to modify the website’s version.

MultiPHP Manager

  1. Select MultiPHP Manager in the Software section from cPanel.
  2. Click on the checkbox against the domain you want to update
  3. The right-hand side will display a dropdown beside PHP Version. Select the desired version & click Apply
  4. You’ll see pop-up showing Success message which means that update was successful

PHP Selector

  1. Login to your cPanel
  2. Access Software section & click on PHP Selector icon
  3. Access the document root under public_html folder
  4. Click on the dropdown & select PHP version you want to update & click update

When updates are made using PHP Selector, they’re applied recursively i.e. the changes made to the root folder will be applied to all subdirectories. So, select the domain folder properly.

Benefits of updating PHP in WordPress

WordPress is built on PHP and so this coding language is set by your hosting company at the server-level. As you’ve seen the benefits of updating themes, plugins & WordPress itself above, updating PHP is equally important.

1. The Website gets speedy & secure

Do we need to mention that the newer versions are speed-enhanced & more efficient than older ones? You’ll enjoy boosted performance of your WordPress site after updating the PHP version & it will run up to 3x or 4x faster than before.

Not just your WP site will get faster; it also gets more secured with updates. Your website will get security updates to become more resistant to hackers & dangerous security-breaches.

2. Increased Search-Engine Visibility

A new version means an SEO-friendly website, something that search-engine & crawlers will love. No matter if you’re doing SEO or not, your website will have chances to rank higher in search engine results.

3. Lower Bounce Rates

When your website will load faster, provide satisfactory services to customers, is secured & impressive, the bounce rate will reduce. This will create a positive impact on potential customers & daily visitors. What else do you want?

The Takeaway

Updates are to be made consistently and whenever required for the sake of faster-running & secured websites. Perform a health check of your PHP website time and again & keep them up-to-date, as discussed above.

Stay tuned with us for more of such blogs & share your views in the comments.

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