How To Replace PHP To The Instructed WordPress Model

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Utilizing an outdated model of WordPress core, plugins, or themes places your website in danger. PHP isn’t any totally different.

Whereas WordPress technically works with some older variations of PHP, you’re sacrificing efficiency and compatibility, whereas opening your self as much as safety vulnerabilities through the use of these.

For security and stability, at all times purpose to make use of the WordPress really helpful variations of PHP.

On this publish, we’ll discuss the right way to verify what model of PHP you might be operating, the right way to replace your PHP to the really helpful model for WordPress, and the way a succesful internet hosting supplier can handle these components for you.

Bounce Hyperlinks for this Article:

Respect for PHP

WordPress Suggestions

Why You Must Replace PHP


An Aversion to Variations?
The right way to Replace PHP in WordPress

Step 1: Create a Copy of Your Website
Step 2: Create a Native or Staging Website


Helpful Instruments
Fixing Points

PHP Host Partnering

Respect for PHP

For those who look in your WordPress website folders, you’ll see plenty of PHP recordsdata.

Since PHP powers a bulk of the core WordPress software program, it’s a extremely important language for the WordPress group.

PHP runs on varied platforms (Home windows, Linux, Unix, Mac OS X, and so on.), and is suitable with virtually all servers used in the present day (Apache, IIS, and so on.).

Not solely is it a significant a part of WordPress, however a significant a part of the entire internet, powering 70% of all web sites.

WordPress helps many variations of PHP, some even out of date, however as a basic rule you need to use solely these with safety or secure assist.

WordPress core formally helps PHP 5.6.20 to PHP 8.0; nevertheless, not all themes or plugins are supported.

WordPress at present works greatest with the next variations:

PHP 8.0
PHP 7.4
PHP 7.3

WordPress Suggestions

PHP needs to be up to date regularly, identical to WordPress core, themes, and plugins.

With PHP, every model receives assist for 2 years after its preliminary launch, then there’s a interval of one other yr the place solely important safety updates are launched, as wanted.

After this three yr interval, that model of PHP is now not supported.

As of July 2021, the present really helpful PHP model for WordPress is 7.4 or better.

High quality internet hosting suppliers will usually require you to make use of the WP really helpful model of PHP with a purpose to use their servers, and can show you how to modify your website to make sure that the newest model of PHP is not going to break it.

For instance, we’ll discuss with ourselves (hey, we’re happy with our internet hosting!). WPMU DEV Internet hosting offers your website(s) with the newest sanctioned PHP variations.

Upgrading (or downgrading) to varied variations is an easy course of, finished by means of our Hub 2.0.

Sometimes, some third get together plugins could also be outdated and trigger points with the newest model of PHP.

In that case you’ll be able to search for updates, options, or if essential, downgrade your PHP model to an older one (so long as it’s nonetheless actively supported with safety patch releases).

Click on right here in case you’re concerned with our full documentation on PHP by means of managed internet hosting in WPMU DEV.

Puny Helping (of) Pie — A miniscule 0.7% of websites use the newest model of PHP, whereas a minimal 36.6% use the really helpful model of PHP.

Much less respected, low cost hosts is not going to take the initiative to encourage you to improve your PHP due to the extra price of assist time and sources that will help you transition.

Since they don’t wish to break your website by updating to newer, really helpful variations of PHP, they’ll typically go away your website to make use of outdated variations of PHP and hope it goes unnoticed.

PHP 7.2 made its debut in November 2017. Contemplating the three yr rule, we all know it reached its Finish of Life cycle in November 2020 (in addition to the even older PHP variations prior).

This implies greater than one-third (37.2%) of WordPress websites are at present operating variations of PHP which can be now not actively supported.

That’s not the worst of it. Traditionally, there have been prolonged durations of time the place that quantity has hovered at and even exceeded two-thirds (66%)! That is problematic for a number of causes.

Why You Must Replace PHP


For one, there are great efficiency advantages that include utilizing the newest model.

In accordance with pace exams carried out by Kinsta, throughout 7 variations of PHP, think about the next stats:

PHP variations present demonstrable pace variations.

You’ll be able to see from the above desk that with every newer model of PHP, the requests per second get incrementally sooner.

Since utilizing the really helpful model of PHP takes much less time to serve the identical variety of requests, you may give your guests a significantly better consumer expertise.

Kinsta additionally examined on PHP model 8, and I did wish to be aware the scores for it, because the enhancements in pace actually proceed to pattern upwards.

With a benchmark results of 233.40 requests per second, PHP 8.0 takes a large leap over PHP 7.4, proving to be 18.5% sooner.

Step again a number of extra variations to 7.0, and it really handles 50% extra requests per second, comparatively.

I didn’t embrace PHP model 8.0 in my chart, as a result of its assist within the basic WordPress purlieu may be very troublesome to evaluate. (WordPress 5.6 is presently thought of beta suitable with PHP 8.0.)

Realizing this, please proceed with warning and do thorough testing earlier than upgrading any essential or shopper websites to PHP 8.0.


Sustaining code takes effort, and that effort is multiplied when you could guarantee backward compatibility for added variations.

There’s a collective sigh of reduction amongst overworked theme and plugin builders every time WordPress bumps up the minimal really helpful PHP model, successfully knocking one other out of date model (and all of its related coding efforts) off the desk.

Slightly than spending time parsing by means of the code to make sure that any modifications to PHP don’t have an effect on it, builders can spend their time including new options or bettering safety as an alternative.


Similar to plugins, themes, and WordPress core get updates to repair safety vulnerabilities, so does PHP.

That is additionally why utilizing a PHP model that also will get updates is so necessary; it protects you from vulnerabilities equivalent to SQL injection, XSS and DoS assaults.

In accordance with safety vulnerability datasource CVE Particulars, there have been solely 2 identified vulnerabilities present in PHP in 2021 YTD.

Examine this to the 14 vulnerabilities found in 2020, the 23 famous in 2018, and the 105 present in 2016, and you may see why updating will help defend you from many identified safety exploits.

Variety of vulnerabilities per PHP in a given yr.

It’s a matter of proven fact that some hackers look to see what model of PHP you’re operating to find out what sort of assault can be efficient.

An Aversion to Variations?

Step one in compatibility is understanding what model of PHP your website is utilizing.

You’ll be able to simply see this data proper inside the WordPress dashboard.

Go to: Instruments > Website Well being > Standing.

In case your website ought to be utilizing a more moderen model of PHP, it is going to be proven underneath really helpful enchancment.

Whether it is, then open the handed exams part to confirm. You’ll see that it says Your website is operating the present model of PHP, adopted by the model quantity in parentheses.

The WordPress dashboard Website Well being display reveals your PHP model.

Alternately, you’ll be able to go to Instruments > Website Well being > Information > Server out of your website Dashboard, to see what model of PHP you’re utilizing.

WP dashboard settings to view PHP model data.

The right way to Replace PHP in WordPress

When you verify to see what model of PHP your internet hosting server is operating, you’ll know if you could improve to the newest model of PHP.

For those who do, checking your website’s compatibility with the brand new model of PHP is crucial. You by no means wish to take a look at main modifications like updating your PHP in your dwell website, as a result of if there are main incompatibilities, you could possibly critically impede or cripple your website.

Because of this, it’s very best to create an alternate website the place you’ll be able to take a look at your modifications first.

Step 1: Create a Copy of Your Website

Begin by getting a duplicate of your present website. You’ll want the entire recordsdata and a duplicate of the database.

You are able to do this through the use of SFTP on your recordsdata and exporting a duplicate of your database utilizing MyPHP.

In some situations, you might be able to use your final backup, in case your backups embrace each the recordsdata and the database.

You could possibly reduce the load through the use of a plugin made particularly for this process. Duplicator is a free plugin provided on that has optimistic opinions.

If you’d like probably the most streamlined, painless course of for duplicating your website, and also you’re already utilizing WPMU DEV as your internet hosting supplier, it’s your fortunate day!! Cloning is already part of your membership!

With a number of easy factors and clicks by means of our Hub 2.0, you’ll have absolutely configured, deployment prepared WP Websites in mere minutes.

Not already internet hosting with us however wish to get on the bandwagon?! No downside, simply click on right here.

For extra particulars, see our documentation on cloning websites by means of WPMU DEV internet hosting.

Step 2: Create a Native or Staging Website

After getting a duplicate of your website, you’ll must arrange a testing atmosphere. You’ll be able to both use an area atmosphere or arrange a staging atmosphere in case your host permits it*.

We now have a terrific publish on the right way to arrange XAMPP in your native pc in case you need assistance organising your native atmosphere.

As soon as your testing atmosphere is ready up, you’ll be able to add the recordsdata and database from the earlier step to your testing atmosphere, so you’ve gotten an actual duplicate of your dwell website.

After you’ve gotten a duplicate of your website in your testing atmosphere arrange, you’re able to improve the PHP model of your testing website.

*Internet hosting by means of WPMU DEV consists of the flexibility to create a staging atmosphere, and it’s a breeze to do. Click on right here for particulars.


Now comes the enjoyable half, and by enjoyable, I imply the tedious process of QC-ing.

You’ll must undergo your take a look at website to make it possible for nothing is damaged.

Pay cautious consideration to the important performance of your website. Try processes, e-newsletter signups, feedback, internet types, navigation, and the entire different components that contribute to anticipated usability and customer engagement.

You wish to catch any points earlier than they’ve an opportunity to wreak havoc in your dwell website and trigger a nasty consumer expertise on your guests or purchasers.

Helpful Instruments

There are some instruments that may help with the QC course of, for devs and non-devs alike. Any points found which can be exterior your scope of data may be intelligently relayed to assist.

Error Log Monitor – This plugin will show an inventory of PHP points as an error log in your WordPress dashboard.

WP_DEBUG – Not a plugin, moderately a PHP fixed (aka, a everlasting world variable), this can be utilized to set off debug mode all through WordPress.

Turning on WP_DEBUG will let you see the PHP failure sorts with the intention to repair them in your code. It additionally permits you to see any deprecated features which can be operating in your website (ie, people who exist in WP however are now not the usual method to carry out a specific process).

To activate debugging, head to your WordPress set up recordsdata, open the wp-config.php file (positioned within the root listing), and add the next line of code close to the underside:

If that line of code already exists however says false, change it to true.

Ensure this code line in PHP matches the one in your file.

Try this text from our weblog, for a extra indepth have a look at utilizing WP_DEBUG.

Fixing Points

If a plugin or theme is inflicting points, work out the problem first in your take a look at website, and discover a appropriate various that’s suitable with the newest model of PHP.

When you’ve discovered an answer, head over to your dwell website and make the modifications there.

PeeHP the supported model when contemplating plugins on your website.

If you’re on the lookout for an acceptable plugin within the WordPress repository, bear in mind to verify what variations of PHP are supported.


When you’ve labored by means of the entire bugs and kinks with compatibility, you’ll be able to both push staging to dwell, or make any essential modifications to the dwell website, after which change the PHP model in your dwell website.

This course of will range from host to host, however will probably contain altering a setting in your internet hosting cPanel. Some shared hosts is not going to allow you to entry this setting, through which case you’ll want to succeed in out to them for help.

Right here’s an inventory with directions on the right way to replace the PHP model for a group of fashionable hosts, together with WP Engine, Pantheon, Kinsta, Pagely, Bluehost, Hostgator, GoDaddy, and extra.

Internet hosting with WPMU DEV consists of our Hub interface, which enormously streamlines altering your PHP model.

Accessing PHP settings through WPMU DEV’s Hub.

For those who favor a easy resolution with a clear UI for checking or updating PHP variations, give WPMU DEV internet hosting a attempt, and take yet another process off your plate.

PHP Host Partnering

Would you moderately be in a Pretty Horrible Position, or a Professionally Happy Place? Rhetorical query… I actually simply wished to play with that acronym. 🙂

Low cost, shared internet hosting has satisfied lots of people that internet hosting web sites is an easy and simple course of. The reality is, there’s a lot that goes into sustaining your website recordsdata and database.

Holding all your software program up-to-date is likely one of the duties that your host can and will show you how to with.

In the event that they’re unwilling that will help you, or cover variations to maintain you at nighttime, that’s a purple flag that you are able to do significantly better, and will critically think about switching hosts.

At WPMU DEV, our internet hosting (backed by Digital Ocean) leads the business in worth.

Not solely will we show you how to replace your PHP model, we additionally present a giant ole goody bag of options, equivalent to safety, caching configuration, uptime monitoring, devoted IP, nightly backups, free & automated migration, web site analytics, and extra.

For those who ever need assistance on compatibility points along with your themes or plugins, or have questions on something WP, our top-rated assist staff is able to soar in and help, 24/7.

Additionally, each internet hosting plan is roofed by our full 30-day a refund assure (we’ll fortunately refund 100% of your cash in case you determine you don’t prefer it).

Whether or not you host with us or elsewhere, bear in mind how a lot worth your host can and will present.

Select an organization you’ll be able to belief to handle these automation and replace duties, like maintaining your PHP model present with WP suggestions.

Don’t let subpar internet hosting steal your focus. You must be capable to dedicate your time and energies to the finer particulars; making your websites shine with the skills that set you other than the competitors.

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