How to Upgrade WordPress to PHP 7? Our Step by Step Guide
Picture this: your WordPress version is outdated, some plugins cannot be used or even worse your website was hacked. You may have realized you need to upgrade your PHP version for WordPress. So, now you’re wondering what are the requirements for PHP version 7, how can I proceed and also the benefits or concerns related to this upgrade. We will guide you through all the steps to upgrade your WordPress to PHP 7 in this article.
WordPress create some buzz when it recommends to upgrade your site to PHP 7. Unfortunately most of the users are running their WordPress sites based on PHP version 5.6. You’re in this situation? Then, what should you do? Should you continue using with PHP 5.6 or upgrade WordPress to PHP 7?
You’ve been running the 5.6 version and so far you had nothing to complain about? Why should you change something that is working? Well, running an old version of WordPress may affect your performance but also the security of your website and you may not use all the plugins you want.
Why Upgrade WordPress to PHP 7?
Now, you have an idea about what was introduced in PHP 7, but as I said earlier you’re running 5.6 and everything is running smoothly, so why change now? Well:
- Security: the version you are currently running may have security holes and your website is more vulnerable.
- Load Capacity: PHP 7 has higher load capacity. You’ll be able to handle higher traffic.
- Performance: PHP 7 as we explained was designed to provide greater performance, resilience and optimal utilization.
- Compatibility: WordPress recently raised its requirements and if you are running an older version you may have compatibility issues with your plugins.
- Stability: All its new features advocate upgrading and you’ll need to keep your website(s) up to date.
What are the dangers with the Upgrade?
You are no risk-free when upgrading to PHP 7. Unfortunately you need to understand what may happen and what it means switching to PHP 7. Is your website(s) and plugins a 100% compatible? Please note, PHP 7 is not backward compatible, you will not be able to revert to an older version once done. Some of your plugins, themes or scripts may not work properly.
In the worst case scenario it can even fully or partially break your website. Another possible scenario is that plugin or theme code is completely old version dependent and running the upgrade make it obsolete.
Of course, with every new version comes many improvements, security patches but also new structure not always a 100% compatible with the previous ones.
Compatibility Check for WordPress and PHP 7
Usually the issues appears because of your website(s) or plugins’ incompatibility when upgrading to PHP 7.
That’s why we suggest you to run a:
This plugin will check your theme & plugin code, generate a report of compatibility and highlight the issues that need to be fixed. It should also suggest to you the new version of plugins, if available, that will support the PHP 7 version.
PLEASE NOTE: according to the plugin, “100% reliable detection is not possible. It is best to run comprehensive tests before you migrate to a new PHP version”.
So, it’s good to check your site manually for any issues or to contact our Support for help.
Always check your Site Manually before Upgrading to PHP 7
How to check your WordPress Manually?
Before upgrading to WordPress PHP 7, we recommend you manually check your site. To do that, you simply need to proceed as follows:
1. Backup Live Site
Before making any changes to your website, just make sure you have a backup. You can download a full account backup via your cPanel control panel using the Backup feature.
Many plugins also exists to create a backup of your WordPress site. We’ve selected a few for you:
UpdraftPlus simplifies backups and restoration. It is the world’s highest ranking and most popular scheduled backup plugin, with over two million currently-active installs. Backup your files and database backups into the cloud and restore with a single click!
Backup into the cloud directly to Dropbox, Google Drive, Amazon S3 (or compatible), UpdraftVault, Rackspace Cloud, FTP, DreamObjects, Openstack Swift, and email. The paid version also backs up to Microsoft OneDrive, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Storage, Backblaze B2, SFTP, SCP, and WebDAV.
BackUpWordPress will back up your entire site including your database and all your files on a schedule that suits you. Try it now to see how easy it is!
PLEASE NOTE: This plugin requires PHP version 5.3.2 or later.
This plugin exports your WordPress website including the database, media files, plugins and themes with no technical knowledge required.
Upload your site to a different location with a drag and drop in to WordPress. There is an option to apply an unlimited number of find and replace operations on your database during the export process. The plugin will also fix any serialization problems that occur during the find/replace operation.
Mobile device compatible: All-in-One WP Migration is the first plugin to offer true mobile experience on WordPress versions 3.3 and up.
3. Update the PHP Version
See below how to upgrade your PHP version.
4. Test Your Site
Finally, look thoroughly for errors and warnings generated by
- Checking each and every website’s page. Look for any elements that have suddenly stopped working.
- Check each and every plugin one by one.
- Test that all the features of your active theme are functioning well or not.
5. Restore Your Site
You can restore the backup of your site using any of the plugin we mentioned earlier and proceed to the PHP 7 upgrade.
How to Upgrade your WordPress Website to the PHP 7 Version?
Once you downloaded your website’s backup, follow these steps upgrade to PHP 7 for WordPress:
1. Make Changes to the Live Site
Once you complete the testing and found how to fix the errors, you can now upgrade your PHP version worry-free. You simply need to correct those errors in your Live version.
2. Upgrade Your Live Site to PHP7
AUHost4u provides you the option to change your PHP version. You’ll need to:
1. Log in your cPanel interface. Find here how to log in your cPanel.
2. Navigate to the “Software” section.
3. Click the “Select PHP version” feature.
4. Next to “Current PHP Version“,
Select from the drop-down list the version you want.
You are done! Your PHP version has now been upgraded.
PHP 7 will give your website a performance boost in terms of speed, security, memory usage & more. We do recommend you to upgrade your WordPress website to PHP 7 for WordPress as it may soon be the minimum requirement for WordPress.
However, if you have compatibility issues, you can always wait until the plugins and themes developers provide their updated versions. But undoubtedly, PHP 7 is improving with every release and promises to benefit you a lot.
Upgrading to a major PHP version can also calls for a fresh design as well. If you are already thinking to rework and redesign your website; you can always start fresh using AUHost4u.