WordPress and PHP: The Ultimate Guide to Upgrading Your Website’s Performance
If you’re one of the 40% of online users who trust WordPress as your preferred content management system (CMS), you’re undoubtedly aware of how crucial it is to stay ahead of the curve with updates and optimal functionality. One key area that often goes overlooked? Your PHP version.
What is PHP?
PHP is the programming language that serves as the backbone of WordPress’s open-source platform. And like any other essential component, it undergoes frequent updates to address security loopholes, enhance performance, and add new features. By upgrading to the latest PHP version, you’ll not only enjoy improved website performance but also enhanced security measures.
Step-by-Step Guide to Upgrading Your WordPress PHP Version
Step 1: Check Your Current PHP Version
Before diving into upgrading your PHP version, it’s fundamental to verify what version you’re currently running on. You can check by using a plugin like PHP Compatibility Checker. The process is straightforward; install the plugin, activate it, and voila! You’ve accessed vital performance data and compatibility metrics!
Step 2: Backup Your Website
Upgrading PHP can be unnerving and stressful, and the potential for unforeseen errors and glitches always exists. Backup your website to mitigate this risk completely. UpdraftPlus is an excellent plugin that immediately creates effective site and database backup, safeguarding your files, databases, plugins, and themes.
Step 3: Select the Latest PHP Version
The current latest PHP version is PHP 8, and it’s the recommended choice for several reasons. It’s stable, secure, and has the best performance enhancements. Keep in mind that some of your existing themes or plugins could be incompatible with PHP 8; thus, it’s vital to use plugin Health Check & Troubleshooting to run a compatibility assessment.
Step 4: Test Your Website with PHP Compatibility Checker.
Before completing the upgrade, you’ll need to test your updated PHP version to ensure seamless, error-free interactive user experience. PHP Compatibility Checker plugin offers comprehensive analysis on compatibility and generates a detailed report, highlighting shortcomings in your existing themes and or plugins. Be sure to address all issues, or reach out to the plugin or theme developers for assistance.
Step 5: Upgrade PHP
The final step is to upgrade PHP, and there are two established methods to execute this:
Method 1: Upgrade PHP Manually
This methodology requires access to your server and a foundational understanding of PHP and server administration. Feel uncertain or overwhelmed? Opt for Method 2 instead to ensure everything is done correctly.
- Login to server using FTP or SSH.
- Open the root folder and download the .htaccess file.
- Open the file and find the following standard line of code:
# Use PHP x.x AddType application/x-httpd-php80 .php
- Adjust the version by swapping out ‘x.x’ to the version applied in upgrading. For instance, switching up to PHP 8 looks like this:
# Use PHP 8 AddType application/x-httpd-php80 .php
- Save the file, re-upload it to the server using FTP, and refresh your website to test it for errors.
Method 2: Upgrade PHP Using Your Hosting Provider’s Control Panel
Most hosting providers include a control panel feature that facilitates seamless and secure upgrading of your PHP version. Locate the ‘PHP version’ or ‘PHP settings’ in your hosting control panel, choose the aimed-for version, and save the changes. In addition, if you’re not comfortable maneuvering through changing the PHP version, contact your hosting provider’s support team for assistance.
Step 6: Monitor Your Website For Errors
Now that PHP has been upgraded and everything appears to be operating smoothly, it’s important to monitor your website carefully for glitches or errors. Some plugins and themes may prove incompatible with the latest version, leading to critical errors. Similarly, pay keen attention to server logs and run tests such as clicking on different pages or evaluating website functionality.
Step 7: Update Plugins and Themes
Finally, remember to update all of your themes and plugins to ensure their compatibility with the latest PHP version. Failure to do so will render your WordPress site vulnerable to errors, glitches, or broken pages. Update all plugins and themes or contact the relevant developers for more insight.
In conclusion, upgrading your WordPress PHP version is ultimately a necessary step, taking you closer to optimum website performance and security. By following the above steps and making the appropriate backup before initiating any changes, you’re sure to reap maximum benefits from optimal site performance, seamless user interaction, and enhanced security standards.