How to update your PHP version of WordPress Website?

Juhil Mendpara

Content Manager

You are reading this article. And here’s what we make of that fact: you are running an old version of PHP on your WordPress site. 

Running an old version of PHP can be a threat to your website and a potential cause of higher bounce rates. 

Higher bounce rate: Around 53 percent of sites are abandoned by users because the site didn’t load within six seconds. Outdated PHP can be one of the reasons behind such sluggish sites. Apart from that, Google also uses the loading speed of the website as a ranking factor.

Moving on. We did say threat for your website - Yes?  If you are using an old PHP or WordPress version, your website is prone to security loopholes. The possibility of hackers getting through is way more in such cases. 

In short, you must keep your PHP updated. To highlight the reasons, here’s why:

  1. 1
    Improved load Speed
  2. 2
    Better Security
  3. 3
    Potential to get noticed by Google (SEO)

Now that you know why you should update PHP, let’s move on to the reason you’re here- How to update the PHP version of your WordPress site.

What to Do Before Updating your PHP Version?

Before updating your WordPress PHP version, make sure that you have secured your data by backing it up. There are two reasons why you should always back up your website data for either WordPress update or PHP update.

  1. 1
    Do you know all plugins and themes of WordPress are built on PHP? Just imagine a WordPress theme that is poorly scripted and incompatible with the new version. What will happen when you update PHP? Perhaps the site will collapse. Therefore, create a backup of your databases, files, logs, etc. Prevention is better than cure.
  2. 2
    Another reason for creating a backup is contingency planning. If your internet connection gets disconnected during the update, the site might start acting weirdly or go offline altogether. So, rather than crying over spilled milk, be proactive.

The best way to get a full backup for free is by using a plugin like UpdraftPlus.

Create a backup using UpdraftPlus Plugin

UpdraftPlus is one of the most popular plugins on WordPress, with millions of downloads and positive reviews. Here’s the A-Z of using it:

  1. 1
    Go to your WordPress panel, locate plugins, and click add new plugins. After that, search UpdraftPlus in the search bar, and the plugin shown in the screenshot will appear. Click Install Now.
UpdraftPlus Wordpress Plugin
  1. 2
    After installation is complete, click on Activate. And your UpdraftPlus is ready for creating a backup.
Active UpdraftPlus plugin
  1. 3
    Now in installed plugins, look for updraft plus and click on Go to tour. The window will open with options. As you can see in the picture, there is an option to backup. Click Backup and your data will be stored safely.
Backup with UpdraftPlus

Now, your data has been backed up, and you are ready to upgrade your PHP version without any worries.

How to Update Your PHP version for WordPress Websites

There are two ways to update your PHP version. The most common and easy to use is cPanel. Otherwise, you can contact your hosting service provider to upgrade your website PHP version manually.

1. Update your PHP version using cPanel or any other Panel

Login to your cPanel and look for PHP Version Select. Or you can simply search in the search bar given.

Update your PHP version using cPanel

After clicking the PHP Version Select, you will be directed to a new window with many options. Your current PHP version will be shown there ⁠— in our case, it shows 7.4; in your case, it can be ‘3.’ or ‘5.’ something. 

Click on that current version, and a dropdown menu will appear. Click on the most recent version available. That’s it. You are done with updating your PHP version.

Set latest PHP version as current

2. Update PHP Version by Contacting Service Provider

We won’t stretch this. Contact customer support and ask them to update. Depending on the hosting provider, they will either direct you or do it for you.

Final Words

The world of technology has a fast pace, and if you fail to match that speed, you will be left behind. WordPress is undoubtedly the most popular platform. And it uses PHP in the backend. 

There are regular updates and tweaks available for WordPress websites and PHP. You need to keep a check on those to have optimized speed and a better experience. That’s it. 

We hope that this guide proved beneficial for your update process; in that, we hope your site performs the best to its capacity. Any doubts? Comments are always open.

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