PHP Versions and Why They Matter
PHP Versions and Why They Matter

The Importance of Upgrading Your WordPress PHP Version


Keeping your WordPress system up-to-date is essential, but have you ever considered the significance of your PHP version? Just like testing smoke detectors, checking your PHP version might get overlooked until a problem arises. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into why upgrading your site’s PHP is crucial and outline the steps for managing PHP upgrades.

Understanding PHP

PHP, a scripting language for web development, powers more than three-fourths of all websites. WordPress, a popular content management system, relies on PHP for rendering pages and executing code within core system files, themes, and plugins. The version of PHP running on your web server plays a pivotal role in this process.

WordPress PHP Version Requirements

As of the release of WordPress 6.0 in May 2022, the minimum PHP version required is 7.4 or higher. While WordPress may function with older PHP versions above 5.6.20, it’s not recommended. The following sections will explain why upgrading is essential.

Why Upgrade Your PHP Version

The PHP development team provides full support for each PHP version for two years after its initial release. During this period, regular updates address bugs and security issues. Afterward, a one-year period of security support follows. Beyond this timeframe, the PHP version reaches its end of life, with no further updates or support.

For instance, PHP 8.1 was released on Nov. 25, 2021. Security support for version 7.4 ended on Nov. 28, 2022, potentially leaving sites vulnerable to unpatched security risks. Key reasons to upgrade PHP versions include:

  1. Enhanced Site Speed: Outdated PHP versions can slow down your site, whereas newer versions optimize performance.
  2. Optimized Security: Using an unsupported PHP version exposes your site to security threats, akin to leaving your front door open during a vacation.
  3. Access to New Features: Each PHP release introduces updated features that plugin and theme developers may want to utilize, particularly those introduced in PHP version 8.0.
  4. Better Support: Upgrading ensures you receive regular bug fixes and patches, and your web host may require it before offering support.

How to Upgrade PHP Versions

Here’s a step-by-step guide to checking your current PHP version and upgrading to the latest version:

1. Check Your Current Version

  • Pressable customers can easily check their PHP versions within the MyPressable Control Panel.
  • Alternatively, view your PHP version from your WordPress admin by navigating to “Tools” and clicking on “Site Health.”

2. Ensure Your Host Supports Upgraded PHP

  • Contact your hosting provider to confirm which PHP versions they support. Pressable customers enjoy compatibility with the latest PHP versions.

3. Create a Site Backup

  • Before switching PHP versions, create a backup of your site to have a fallback option in case of issues during the upgrade.

4. Update Your WordPress

  • Ensure your WordPress software is up-to-date before changing your PHP version. Managed hosting plans usually run the latest WordPress version.

5. Switch Your PHP Version

  • Log in to your hosting account and follow your host’s instructions to switch the PHP version. Pressable customers can refer to provided instructions.
  • Preferably, perform the PHP version upgrade in a staging environment to test functionality before applying changes to your live site.

6. Check for Errors

  • After the upgrade, review your site for any issues. Common culprits include theme files or plugins. Deactivate plugins and switch themes to identify the problem.
  • Verify the compatibility of custom code with the latest PHP version.

7. Update Plugins and Themes

  • Check for updates to your themes and plugins, install them, and recheck your site for issues.

8. Finalize Your Update

  • Ideally, carry out this process on a staging server. Once everything functions as expected, either push the changes to your live site or switch the version directly.


Upgrading your WordPress PHP version is not just a technical task; it’s a crucial step in ensuring your website’s performance and security. By following these steps and staying on top of PHP updates, you’ll keep your site running smoothly and protected from potential vulnerabilities. Remember, with Pressable’s managed hosting, you can enjoy worry-free updates, keeping your WordPress site up-to-date and secure. Choose a managed WordPress hosting plan today for top-notch performance and security.

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