How do I update my WordPress PHP

WordPress: Update PHP version successfully

For web hosting

Here's how to change the PHP version your WordPress website is running on and what to consider when changing to a newer PHP version.

Note

AtManaged WordPressInstallations, IONOS takes over the PHP administration for you and ensures that your website is using the latest PHP version and that all components work perfectly with the PHP version. Therefore, manual configuration of the PHP version is not intended for Managed WordPress.

What is php

PHP is a programming language that runs on the web server. PHP is mainly used to create dynamic websites or web applications. For example, all WordPress websites run on PHP.

When does a version change make sense?

Like WordPress, PHP is constantly being developed and improved. For the operator of a WordPress website, one of the following situations can arise that make it necessary to change the PHP version:

  • A WordPress update requires a newer version of PHP.
  • A certain version of PHP is out of date and should no longer be used.
  • A new PHP version has been released and contains performance enhancements that you would like to take advantage of.

Which version should be used?

At IONOS you can choose between different PHP versions. Unless there is a specific reason for a particular version, consider using recommended version in your PHP administration. Currently this is PHP 7.4. With this version you can use the best known and most tried and tested applications without further compatibility problems.

Prepare and carry out the change of the PHP version

From a technical point of view, you only need a few clicks of the mouse to convert your domain - and thus the WordPress website - to a new PHP version. However, it is possible that the WordPress version used, individual plugins or the theme are not yet fully compatible with the new PHP version. In order to avoid malfunctions resulting from this, it is therefore advisable to prepare the website for the change of the PHP version and then to change the PHP version. We recommend the following procedure when changing to a new PHP version:

  • Create a backup

    Before you switch to the PHP version, you should create a backup of your WordPress website. So you are prepared for all eventualities and can restore the old state of the website at any time.

  • Update WordPress installation

    The older your WordPress version, the more likely it is that the PHP program code used is no longer compatible with the new PHP version. Please check for updates for your WordPress version, Plugins and the Theme Are available. Unless you have to use an older WordPress version for certain reasons, you should always keep your WordPress and all components up to date. Because these updates also regularly close security gaps.

  • Check the compatibility of the theme and the plugins

    If you are using third-party plugins, such as a photo album, you can check in advance that it is compatible with the future PHP version.

    One way to do this is to open the official WordPress plugin page, search there for the plugins used and then look in the detailed information for notes on the supported PHP versions.

    However, this is more convenient with the free PHP Compatibility Checker plugin, which can be installed via the WordPress plugin management. The installed plugins and themes can then be tested for compatibility with different PHP versions. To test compatibility with PHP 7.4, click Start Scan, select PHP 7.4 and click Scan site to start the scan. You will then receive an overview with the details of the scan.
  • Change the PHP version

    After you have made all the preparations, you can switch your domain to the desired PHP version. Activating the new PHP version only takes a few minutes. How to change the PHP version for your domain
     
  • Check website for errors

    As soon as the new PHP version is active, you should immediately put the website through its paces:
    - Is the website accessible?
    - Are all subpages accessible?
    - Are all sliders, galleries, forms etc. working?
    - Does the backend (administration area) work?

Hints

If there are problems with the new PHP version, it is advisable to check all plugins again to ensure that they are up to date and compatible. You may need to uninstall incompatible plugins or replace them with other plugins.

In order to restore the accessibility of the website - or the backend - as quickly as possible in the event of a problem, you can switch the domain back to the previous PHP version. Please note that after the conversion it can take a few minutes until this PHP version is active. If errors occur with the old version as well, we recommend restoring the website from the backup and using a local copy of your WordPress website for further compatibility tests.