WordPress 5.2 has just been released and it requires a minimum of php 5.6.20 to run effectively. If you are getting a warning about your WordPress running on an insecure version of php each time you logged in to your dashboard, you need to take care of the matter right now. Your website won’t update to 5.2 and as you know already, not having the latest WordPress update makes you vulnerable to attacks.
While you may be tempted to update to the bare minimum of 5.6.20 for the sake of simplicity, I strongly encourage you to upgrade all the way to php 7.3 for the following reasons:
- Since December 31 2018, the php team no longer provides security fixes for 5.6.20, which opens a door to hackers if a major vulnerability gets discovered. 7.3 will be supported until the end of 2021.
- It increases your website’s speed, which Google loves. When I made the switch from php 5.6.20 to 7.3, my page load time got reduced by 0.9 seconds according to GTMetrix.
- By the end of the year, the WordPress team is planning to make php 7.0 the minimum requirement for their CMS, so moving to php 7.3 right away will save you the trouble of having to upgrade your php version once again.
Okay, so now that you know why you need to make the switch, how do you upgrade to php 7.3? Here’s how to proceed:
- First of all, make a backup of your website in case anything goes wrong. You should always make WordPress backups anyway so do one now.
- Update your plugins, theme and core install if you don’t have the latest version.
- Run the php compatibility checker plugin to see if your website is compatible with the latest php version. This tool is not perfect, however if you use plugins and themes from reputable companies that provide timely updates you should not run into any major problems.
- Login to your webhost’s control panel. Go to the help section and find the directions to upgrade php. Here are the links to the popular hosting providers : HostGator, Bluehost, SiteGround, GoDaddy, Namecheap.
If your specific hosting company does not have instructions on their support portal, or if you have a huge website with a lot of components, contact them and ask them to upgrade php for you. In the case they say they can’t provide you an up-to-date version of php, move your website to Namecheap (affiliate link), a service provider I use myself. They will provide you with php 7.3 on shared servers.
In a nutshell, upgrading to php 7.3 will enhance your website’s security, provide a better visitor experience through faster load times, and future-proof your WordPress install for upcoming minimum php requirement raises. This makes it worth your time to worry about php, even though you are not a techie.
Still confused about the matter?
Just relax, and let me take care of it. This is what I do for you, I make word press problems go away. Contact me and I’ll update your site to current standards to keep you not only running fast but keep you free from the potential risk of malicious attacks due to php attacks.