How to Easily check and Update the latest PHP Version of Your WordPress Site?

Last updated on October 28th, 2023 at 07:57 am

Have you ever given a thought about what your WordPress website is running on right now? If not, it’s high time!

Having at least some basic knowledge of which WordPress PHP version your website’s host is very important these days and I will tell you where I am getting with this, just be patient and keep reading!

Being a non-techie has a privilege of its own, I mean you may never need to understand all this complex stuff regarding frameworks as everything happens at the backend. WordPress is a CMS of a kind where without even editing a single line of code, you can add features and functionalities.

Websites are based on pure coding! Earlier HTML was the Wild West and now a mix of CSS and JavaScript have entered the realm. However, most of the things you see on your site on both frontend and backend are simply due to the programming language being used and in this case, it’s PHP. It cannot be seen on your page template but it certainly makes up the files that build the WordPress dashboard. In a nutshell, PHP is the backbone of your website.

I am sure the topic is something which may or may not face in a lifetime but learning a bit more about the tech is no harm. So, are you up for being a bit nerdy for a while?

Know PHP as a Programming Language

Before we delve deep into the concept let us try figuring out what exactly PHP as a programming language is. One of the biggest advantages of using PHP is it is an open-source language used by Facebook and other popular sites such as BBC. And it may quite interest you to know that it can be used for other purposes as well as it’s a server-side programming language. Unlike client-side language (JavaScript), it is processed on the machine whose hard drive it lies on.

History says

At present, most of the WordPress websites are seen being supported by PHP version 7.0. In case you are using anything lower, time to update the version.

PHP Version Release Date End of Support Last Release
3.0 06 Jun 1998 20 Oct 2000 3.0.x
4.0 22 May 2000 23 Jun 2001 4.0.6
4.1 10 Dec 2001 12 Mar 2002 4.1.2
4.2 22 Apr 2002 6 Sep 2002 4.2.3
4.3 27 Dec 2002 31 Mar 2005 4.3.11
4.4 11 Jul 2005 7 Aug 2008 4.4.9
5.0 13 Jul 2004 5 Sep 2005 5.0.5
5.1 24 Nov 2005 24 Aug 2006 5.1.6
5.2 2 Nov 2006 6 Jan 2011 5.2.17
5.3 30 Jun 2009 14 Aug 2014 5.3.29
5.4 1 Mar 2012 3 Sep 2015 5.4.45
5.5 20 Jun 2013 21 Jul 2016 5.5.38
5.6 28 Aug 2014 31 Dec 2016 5.6.25
7.0 3 Dec 2015 3 Dec 2017 7.0.11
7.1 1 Dec 2016 1 Dec 2018 7.1.14
7.2 3 Nov 2017 30 Nov 2019 7.2.2

Current versions of WordPress 4.9.4 allow the following requirements to protect the site from vulnerabilities.

  • PHP version 7.2 or greater
  • MySQL version 5.6 or greater OR MariaDB version 10.0 or greater
  • HTTPS support

Now how’s that beneficial, you may ask? Well, any problems regarding the site performance that stem from PHP are something that can be and should be fixed from your end.

Laying a good grounding is very important or else it will start cracking and decaying your website inside out. Everything can fall apart from plugins to far more substantial issues that can be handled by a reliable individual or WordPress development company.

This surely brings us to the next part.

Time to Check and Update the PHP Version of Your WordPress Site

Things must be going fine for you only till you receive any update regarding some plugins that require a particular version of PHP to work as intended. For instance, let’s assume that you have been working on PHP version 5.6 but due to some technicality, you are finding it difficult to work and losing revenue as an excess advantage.

Finding which PHP version your WordPress website is running on is not that difficult actually.

First, ask your host

Second, use a plugin like Display PHP Version to see the version number in your dashboard under the “At a Glance” section.

Third, use php.ini or phpinfo.php file to view the PHP version.

Fourth, if you have a bit of technical know-how regarding stuff like WordPress development, and PHP languages you can check your CPanel located under the statistics sidebar. Also, you can use apps like “PHP Config”, “PHP Variable Manager” or similar. Remember, you need to look for the folder on which you have WordPress installation as each folder on your account can have a different PHP version.

Why PHP version is important for updates?

I am pretty sure by now you must have understood why PHP is important for WordPress but what you might not know is why it needs an update. Think of PHP as the core that not only pulls data from the database but also wraps it in HTML and then delivers it as a finished site to the visitor’s browser.

1. Updation leads to improvements

Almost all programming languages are constantly being improved upon. Your server needs at least PHP 7 or higher to create a website that is more secure, faster, leaner, less resource-hungry, and overall better.

2. The best one is always yet to come

WordPress and PHP have this one thing in common. None of this is to say, that they both don’t have any room for improvement but still they keep on producing new benchmarks like never before. And all this is done twice as fast as its predecessor.

3. Older versions are no longer supported

Older PHP versions are running out. Active support for version 5.6 ended in early 2017. Safety assistance will be received only by the end of 2018. However, these are just cliff notes but you might find much information regarding WordPress and PHP.

Other reasons can be improved functionality, ease of use, cost-efficiency, scalability, versatility, fast, and security.

How to Upgrade PHP Safely?

Upgrading your WordPress site can surely reduce the chance of running into any nasty surprises even further.

Step 1: Use a plugin to check compatibility issues

Try using WP Engine which checks all the code on your site and reports any possible issues.

Replace faulty plugins or themes or find some other kind of solution

Step 2: Backup and update everything

Time to back up your site and then click the upgrade button wherever necessary.

Step 3: Upgrade

And you are almost done! There are different ways for doing this such as using an SSH command. But let us go for something easier, make the switch via the admin dashboard of your hosting provider. Go into the Cpanel pick the version you want to change to and hit Save.

In case, you are unable to find any such option, consult a relevant WordPress developer to avoid further issues.

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