How To Update PHP in WordPress

Written By Peter L

On August 14, 2021

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Nowadays, each website runs on code, and there was a time when it was pure HTML, but today, we normally see a mix of JavaScript as well as CSS. However, this happens when they are loaded because there must be a completely different programming language running everything on the server, especially if you are using a WordPress site.

It is because of PHP that the majority of things you can see on the front and the back end of your website. Not only are you able to find it in the page templates, but it is also included in the files that are responsible for building your WordPress dashboard. As this programming language is central to your WordPress platform, therefore, it is important to know how to update PHP in WordPress.

The importance of caching is evident from the fact that without a plugin, the requests of each of the website’s element has to be made to the server when someone visits the site. The overall simplicity of makes it the top WordPress caching plugin, which is why it is great for starters. The plugin can be installed and set up quickly, while there are some extra features that you will find great. Your website happens to get indexed on the search engines for SEO ranking improvement, and all of the JavaScript, CSS, and HTML files are minified for boosting your page loading speed.

Why should you update the website’s PHP?

WordPress happens to use PHP as its scripting language behind the scenes, and therefore, the platform supports a number of PHP versions that you or your hosting provider can install on the server of your website. It would surely be best if you always were going for the latest version of PHP because of two reasons.

  • Have a high-performing website

When you update to the new PHP version, you will notice your site running up to four times faster. You can have a much better user experience with a faster website; therefore, it is possible that your visitors may stick around for a much longer time and perform actions that benefit you. This entails examining your prevailing blog post or signing up for the mailing list.

It is worth noting that when ranking your website, Google also considers the page loading times; therefore, a WordPress update PHP can boost the SEO of your site and drive more customers.


  • Get the latest fixes and security features

Everyone is aware that hackers keep on discovering new exploits, and this is the reason why you have to keep the software updated, and PHP is obviously no exception. Normally, there are bug fixes, patches, and security features introduced by the update PHP version WordPress. You will be finding it to be very helpful for your website against any hackers, viruses, malware, and other digital threats out there.

how to update php in wordpress

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How do we update PHP in WordPress?

When refreshing your PHP version, there might be any dangers associated. There may be a possibility that you have a code on the site, which includes plugins, scripts, themes, or even the WordPress core, and this may not be compatible with the new version. Therefore, if you make a switch, then all parts of your site may break or show some faulty behavior. This is why you require to examine its prevailing version before you learn how to update WordPress PHP.


Check the current PHP version

There are numerous possible ways to find out which PHP version powers your website at present.

  • Check through the hosting management panel

Checking with the provider can be your first option, and in the back of the hosting account, you will see a menu known as PHP Settings. Here, you can easily check the PHP version that is being used by your WordPress site.

In the same place, you also get the option of upgrading to another version and go for the things like edit PHP.ini. This particular file is very important for you because it helps you to make any of the changes to the functionality of the server.


  • Go for a WordPress Plugin

There are a number of plugins in the WordPress ecosphere that are able to do the same job for you. Display PHP Version is among the easiest plugins that you will find. You only need to install the plugin and then activate it, and it will show you the present PHP version in the WordPress dashboard.

If you happen to find out that your server is running the latest version already, then you can keep doing what you were already doing without any issues. However, if the problem is new to you, there are chances that your PHP version may not be up to date. You may be needing your provider to offer the switching option, and if it doesn’t provide you this, then it is the right time for you to go for some new hosting.


Make a Staging Site

Creating a staging site can be a very good idea for testing any updates before you happen to perform them on the live website. There is always a risk of incompatibility between different elements that build your WordPress site, and this includes themes, plugins that are able to make the site go down. There are plenty of hosting firms that grant you the likelihood of producing a staging website.

A staging website is a type of clone of the original WordPress site that lets you experiment with any modifications and then check the results in the browser without having any risks. There was a time when creating a staging site used to be complicated, but now it is made so simple that you don’t even have to be an expert to do it.

The greatest benefit of having a staging site is that you are able to use the same server as the original WordPress site, whereas the local sites happen to run on your local server. When running locally, you can never be sure whether the site will behave the same way, and as PHP is a well-known server-side language, therefore, you can easily test it on the same server that runs on your original WordPress site.

There are a number of plugins ready to help you with creating a staging website in no time, if you don’t like to go through the hosting provider or if the staging sites are not offered by the hosting provider. WP Staging and BlogVault are examples of plugins that you can find very useful for this purpose.

wordpress update php

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Upgrade themes, plugins and go for a backup

If you want to understand how to update PHP version WordPress, you have to ensure that all your WordPress themes and plugins are up to date. If the themes and plugins are fairly popular, then it is necessary for these to be compatible with the latest PHP version. Even for safety purposes, it is crucial to maintain your WordPress site up to date.

If you don’t hold a backup plugin, you can begin by placing it in WordPress. This is considered to be quite a simple solution that helps to make sure that you are able to revert back to the older version of the site if any of the updates create any issues. Backup WordPress, Backup Buddy, and Updraft Plus are some of the examples of backup plugins.

After backing up the site, the next step is to upgrade the themes and plugins step by step. You have to head over to the Dashboard > Updates and then go through the plugins in the WordPress dashboard. You will be getting a notification here that needs to upgrade the WordPress core. Upgradation of all the themes and plugins is necessary for a proper WordPress update PHP.


Check for compatibility

The best scenario is that all of your themes, plugins as well as WordPress core must be ready for the latest version transition of PHP without having any issues. However, you may face some glitches; that is why you need to use a plugin in order to detect compatibility issues. You can easily pick the PHP version that you like to check for compatibility.

You will find the plugin to be quite helpful, as it will automatically run a scan and guide you regarding the reason for the clash. You will be able to get the list of any warnings and errors to the code line where they happen to appear. This can be great for you to delete or replace any of the WordPress plugins that you don’t find compatible with the latest version.

There is another possible solution that you can go to the developer and ask them if they are to upgrade the plugin. It is worth noting that PHP compatibility is never completely reliable, as one can see that from a number of reviews. The chances are that it may give flag warnings even for the up-to-date plugins.


Update your PHP version

When you are completely sure that your site is able to handle the switch, then it is the right time for you to take the step. There are a number of ways for you to do that, and SSH commands may be one of these. If you know how to do it, then it’s well and good; otherwise, it is important for you to learn how to update PHP in WordPress.

The idea should always be to go through the easier way, which means update PHP version WordPress through the hosting provider’s admin dashboard. It can be quite easy for you in cPanel as if you are finding the menu item in PHP Version Manager by navigating the location of your site and choosing the version that you would like to change.

If your host happens to run Plesk, then, first of all, it is important for you to learn how to update PHP. There are multiple distinct admin panels, but you will have to do your own exploration for these. If you are still not able to find this particular option anywhere, then there are chances that your host might have disabled the option. If this is a probable situation, then you ought to get in contact with the hosting provider.

If you want to update PHP version GoDaddy, you need to log into the account, go to web hosting and then manage the hosting account that you would like to use. In the server division, you will be able to examine your PHP version. It would help if you went to the programming languages from the more selection, and then choose the version that you prefer. This way, you can easily update PHP version GoDaddy.

update php version wordpress

PC: Kinsta

Check the site for any visible errors

In order to understand how to update PHP on WordPress, you need to head over to the browser. In an ideal situation, your site should be working fine, but if you want to know whether anything is broken or not, you have to browse and then click around.

You can start by checking any evident errors, while in the next step, you will be able to test the functionality. If a white screen or a 500 error happens to appear, then there is quite a possibility that it might be a theme or an incompatible plugin. You will be required to fix this if you want to understand how to update PHP in WordPress completely.


Test the site

In the last step, you have to perform profound testing of your site, as this will be very helpful for you to know how to update PHP in WordPress. If there are any errors that you have discovered in the previous steps, then you need to disable all of the plugins. You can easily locate the Bulk Actions dropdown and select Deactivate that is above the plugins list.

You have to re-enable each of the plugins in order to figure out which of the plugins was responsible for causing the bugs. You don’t need to worry as you are still working on the staging site; therefore, you will be having no risk of breaking something.

Another quite advanced option is to deactivate the plugin by using FTP. This is definitely the right way to go if there is any error and you are not able to access the WordPress dashboard easily. You can apply the same method for the themes and can revert temporarily to use your default theme.

update php wordpress


The tech world is continuously changing with the passage of time, and you always happen to see a new update for something. Both WordPress and PHP have become very popular website resources, and therefore, you ought to know how to update Php in WordPress and have regular updates to keep your site running. It is worth noting that once you update PHP WordPress, you will see a much higher speed, great security, and various other features that come with it. You also have to make sure that after updating PHP, you have to update WordPress also to its most recent version, and in order to prevent any compatibility issues, it will be best to update the themes as well as the plugins.

Also Read: Optimize Images WordPress

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