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Understanding the Importance of PHP for Your WordPress Site

In the world of WordPress, you may have encountered notifications urging you to update your PHP version. Alternatively, you might have come across news about WordPress raising its minimum required PHP version to 5.6. If you’re not well-versed in web hosting, this can seem perplexing. Fortunately, WP Stagecoach simplifies the process of testing your website on various PHP versions, making it accessible to everyone.

What is PHP, and Why is it Significant?

PHP is the programming language that powers WordPress. When you use WordPress, you rely on a web server equipped with PHP. PHP stands out as the most commonly used programming language for the web. While most web hosts offer PHP, some run outdated versions. Using outdated PHP versions can pose security risks and cause you to miss out on new features and performance improvements. Hence, it’s crucial to keep your PHP version up to date.

Choosing the Right PHP Version

WordPress recommends using PHP version 7.3 or higher. To ensure compatibility, you may need to verify with your web host that they offer PHP 7.3 or above. If they don’t, it might be worth considering a switch to a different web hosting provider.

Will Changing PHP Versions Impact My Site?

The impact of changing PHP versions depends on the recency of your themes and plugins’ updates. Generally, anything updated within the past six months should function smoothly with PHP 7.3 or higher. Nevertheless, it’s always prudent to conduct testing before migrating to a new PHP version.

Testing Your Site with a New PHP Version

You’re in luck because we have a handy tool for this very purpose! 😊 The safest approach is to set up your website on a server running PHP version 7.3 or later. However, you certainly don’t want to experiment with your live site for fear of breaking it. This is where staging sites come into play—an exact copy of your website where you can freely experiment without risking your live site’s integrity.

When using WP Stagecoach to create a staging site, the tool automatically detects the PHP version your live site uses. By default, WP Stagecoach uses the same PHP version on your staging site as detected on your live site. However, if your live site runs on PHP version 7.0 or older, WP Stagecoach prompts you to select a different PHP version when creating the staging site.

Choosing a PHP Version for Your Staging Site

If WP Stagecoach doesn’t automatically provide this option when creating your staging site, you can access it via the WP Stagecoach settings page. By enabling the Advanced settings menu, you gain the ability to select a specific PHP version.

After confirming that the new PHP version works flawlessly on your staging site, you can contact your web host to request an update for your live site. This way, you’ll enjoy the latest security and performance enhancements without any concerns about compatibility issues with the new PHP version.

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