How to Upgrade PHP on WordPress Step-by-Step?
To upgrade PHP on WordPress, you need to first determine your current PHP version by checking your website’s server configuration. Once you know your current PHP version, you can check the WordPress and plugin compatibility with the latest version of PHP.
WordPress is one of the most popular content management software platforms used for almost every type of website, from a regular portfolio website to an e-commerce marketplace. Its codes are written in PHP, which is why it is an open-source platform, allowing users to connect with one another without restrictions. In addition, WordPress is popular due to the availability of great themes and plugins that can be customized according to the needs.
However, you cannot use WordPress properly until and unless you migrate it to the latest PHP version being released. As PHP is updated with new releases and modifications, the same transformations must also be implemented in WordPress. Currently, the platform supports PHP version 8.1 and version 8.2, which will be valid till 2024.
In this following article, we will guide you on upgrading the PHP version for WordPress in detailed steps so that you won’t have any problems using this CMS platform.
What are The PHP Tequirements for WordPress?
There are specific server-side requirements to ensure your WordPress version is directly compatible with the PHP version mentioned above. Before you upgrade from the older to the newer PHP version, you should check if all the prerequisites are met.
If your system or the server where the WordPress website is hosted does not meet the initial requirements, you won’t be able to complete the upgrade process swiftly. In addition, these requirements change from 1 version to another of WordPress, so you should check the list updated on the official website first.
Why Should You Upgrade to PHP 8 for WordPress?
The recently launched version of PHP is considered the major upgrade to the entire programming language. Several new upgrades to the existing features make PHP 8 fast performing, secure, and better for hosting WordPress websites. To sum up, the following are some significant upgrades introduced in this recent version.
- The first and foremost significant update in PHP aid introduced for WordPress is the upgraded performance of the JIT compiler. Now, the compiler will convert any PHP code into machine language code only when there is an external trigger. As a result, the threads won’t be occupied, and the website will perform faster and much better.
- Introducing a weak map is also a significant change that will significantly benefit WordPress websites. The recent changes extend the support PHP 7.4 used to provide for weak references in the library functions. Currently, developers will be allowed to create objects with arbitrary or assumed values without the details that will be sent for garbage collection.
- PHP 8 has a whole new section of functions that will make web searching much easier and more convenient. For example, the str_contains function will help find results using a simple word in the search bar.
With all these new updates introduced in PHP, you must upgrade your WordPress version to make it compatible with PHP 8. However, specific prerequisites must be met at any cost before you do so.
When Do You Know Your WordPress Site Is Incompatible with PHP 8?
As of now, top websites are still powered by PHP 7.4. Unfortunately, it means that PHP 8 isn’t integrated with WordPress completely, so websites will soon find themselves dealing with different incompatibility issues. If that happens, it can create many problems, especially since your website won’t be available on the hosting server.
So, the following are some of how most professional WordPress developers know whether your website is incompatible with the latest PHP 8 version.
- First, you must run PHP lint on the recent version. The command you have to use is php -1.
- After this, you can use sniffing software to check if the WordPress website has any compatibility issues with PHP 8.
- You can use unit integration testing t
- o deduce any incompatibility in the theme or plugin and run the codes from the back end. First, however, you must ensure all the test suits you will run are compatible with PHPUnit 9.3+.
You cannot immediately upgrade the PHP in your WordPress website. However, there are specific prerequisites you should meet to ensure no data is lost or the website starts performing in the wrong way. So, the following descriptions will help you understand the steps most professional WordPress developers follow in the virtual upgrade process.
- First, you need to create a backup of the current water website. Then, if any error occurs during the Update process, you can revert to the old website and begin the steps from scratch. As a result, there won’t be any discrepancy in the new website once the update is successful.
- The second thing you must do is check the server where the WordPress website is currently hosted. The server must support the recent PHP version; if not, you have to change the hosting provider.
- Before you begin the actual update procedure, you have to update all the plugins you have added to the website from third-party sources, WordPress core files, and themes. If that’s not done, there will be incompatibility issues with the themes and plugins belonging to the older and newer versions of PHP.
- Run unit and integration tests to ensure the updated themes and plugins are working correctly without any hassle. If you run into any bug, fix it immediately so that the same won’t cause conflict in the update process.
How to Upgrade PHP in WordPress Step-By-Step?
There are different ways in which professionals offering WordPress website development services can upgrade the PHP version in WordPress, namely through the hosting provider, SSH with terminal commands, and the cPanel. In the below section, we have discussed all these three ways to help you understand the processes in-depth.
Using The Hosting Tools for The Website
One of the best ways to update PHP in WordPress is by using the hosting tools. In addition, several third-party tools are available on the market with which you can process the upgrade process easier.
Using SSH With Terminal Commands
Another suitable way to upgrade the WordPress website is using the SSH client. It is compatible with most operating systems, including MacOS, Windows, and Linux. The following are the ways:
a. First, open the terminal window on the local web server. If this is not possible, you can connect to the remote server with the help of an SSH Client.
b. After you are connected, type the command php -v and press enter.
c. If the local web servers are in Debian or Ubuntu, you must type sudo apt-get install software-properties-common && sudo add-apt-repository ppa. These commands will install the recent version of PHP by replacing the older one of PHP 7.4.
d. Do use the third-party repository where all the source codes and containers will be stored.
e. To check if the installation is successful, you can run the command for pho-v.
- First, you need to log in to cPanel and click on the option for the MultiPHP Manager link. It will be present in the Software section on the homepage.
- Once done, you will see all the website options where you want to upgrade PHP.
- Now, you need to select PHP 8 since it is the desired version into which you want to complete the upgrade.
- Now click on the Apply button.
How to Fix Website Issues After Upgrading PHP in WordPress?
Once you are done upgrading the PHP in WordPress, there can be certain problems with the website. As a result, this will negatively impact the overall performance and server uptime. So, follow these steps to ensure you won’t encounter problems for a long time.
- First, go to phpMyAdmin and deactivate all the plugins you initially added to the upgraded website. The website can stop working if any plugin in the updated PHP version is outdated or has malicious code.
- If you have customized any theme for the WordPress website, change it to the default version. Sometimes, the customizations you include in the theme might not be compatible with
- PHP 8. If that’s the case, your website is bound to perform in adverse ways.
- Ensure the server where you are hosting the WordPress website is updated correctly so that it becomes compatible with PHP 8. If not, you can use the hosting software to make changes or choose another host.
- After all, these changes, activate the themes and plugins for the WordPress website and check if it is performing expectedly or not.
Since the update process from PHP 7.4 to PHP 8 in WordPress is difficult, it would be best to go with professional WordPress website development services. These experts have enough knowledge about the update process and what problems can surface after the procedure is completed. However, they can’t even update PHP in a customized WordPress website without losing any content or putting the overall security at risk.