How to Check and Update Your PHP Version
How to Check and Update Your PHP Version

The Role of PHP in Modern Web Development


Websites have long been reliant on code to function, but the landscape of programming languages has evolved significantly. In the contemporary web development scene, languages like JavaScript and CSS play vital roles in scripting and design. However, in the early days of the internet, websites were predominantly composed of HTML. This article delves into the significance of PHP, an essential server-side programming language, particularly in the context of WordPress websites.

Understanding PHP

What is PHP?

PHP, an acronym for Hypertext Preprocessor, is a widely used programming language primarily employed for web development. It stands out as an open-source language, aligning with the spirit of platforms like WordPress. Consequently, PHP has emerged as one of the most prevalent languages in web development, powering a multitude of websites, including giants like Facebook. Furthermore, PHP plays a central role in the core architecture of WordPress, making it indispensable for both frontend and backend operations.

Distinguishing PHP

Unlike HTML and CSS, which dictate the visual style and layout of a website, PHP focuses on the website’s functionality. It operates on the server-side, processing code on the server hosting the website. This distinguishes it from client-side languages like JavaScript, which execute code within a user’s web browser. The server-side nature of PHP implies that site performance issues related to PHP demand careful consideration and management. Even with a state-of-the-art computer, slow-loading websites can result from PHP-related performance problems.

The Significance of PHP for WordPress

Why Updating Your WordPress Site’s PHP Version is Important

PHP’s role in WordPress extends beyond mere functionality. It is responsible for retrieving data from the database, encapsulating it in CSS and HTML, and rendering a complete website visible to users through their web browsers. Therefore, any slowdown in PHP directly impacts the overall performance of a WordPress website.

Furthermore, keeping your WordPress site’s PHP version up to date is crucial for security and stability. Older PHP versions can expose your site to vulnerabilities and cyber threats, potentially compromising sensitive data. As a result, PHP has undergone continuous development, resulting in various versions.

WordPress officially recommends running PHP 7.4 or higher on your server to ensure compatibility with the latest WordPress updates. Over time, PHP has evolved to become faster and more secure, making it imperative for WordPress site owners to embrace the latest PHP version. This is especially crucial for those who access their sites remotely through a VPN, a common practice among users concerned about online privacy and security. As of the time of writing this article, PHP 8.1 offers the optimal blend of speed and security for your server.

The Urgency of PHP Updates

Before embarking on the journey to check and update your WordPress site’s PHP version, it is essential to acknowledge that support for older PHP versions is diminishing rapidly. For instance, PHP 7.4’s support was terminated in 2020, with security support ending towards the end of 2021. This underscores the necessity of updating your WordPress site’s PHP version. The lack of active support and security updates for older PHP versions should serve as a compelling motivation for site owners to ensure they are running the latest PHP iteration.


In the ever-evolving realm of web development, PHP remains a foundational element, especially for WordPress websites. Its server-side functionality, coupled with its role in rendering websites, underscores its importance. Updating your WordPress site’s PHP version is not merely a matter of performance but a crucial aspect of security and stability. As support for older PHP versions dwindles, site owners must prioritize keeping their PHP up to date to ensure their online presence remains secure and efficient.

Post On September 29, 2023 | By Geneva Obrien

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