PHP version update, what to look out for when upgrading, updating

Many website owners may not even know that they need to upgrade their PHP as the security support of PHP 7 is not yet available.4 am 28.11.2022 expires. This does not sound too dramatic, but the topic should not be taken lightly, but should be tackled as soon as possible.

With the end of support (EOL = End of life) of PHP 7.4 your hosting provider will ask you to change to PHP 8.0, because the old version will be switched off, or offer you a paid "PHP Extended Support.

Depending on how old, or. How well your homepage is maintained, it can happen during the update to PHP 8.0 come to problems. WordPress websites might primarily experience compatibility issues with older themes or plugins.

Our PHP migration service will of course help you with any difficulties that may arise during a PHP upgrade.

PHP update, upgrade, update

Overview of all currently supported PHP versions:

PHP benchmark

Outdated software poses a security risk as well as a stability risk. Compatibilities of different technology versions can not be guaranteed. This increases the risk of application failures, which has a negative impact on system stability.

If your website is not compatible with a newer PHP version and your hosting provider disables the old version for security reasons, your homepage will no longer function!

The operating costs for obsolete IT systems are significantly higher due to the higher maintenance and support costs, as well as the higher failure rate. Services like a "PHP Extended Support" can sometimes even double the hosting fees (depending on the contract).

According to WordPress statistics 91,89 % of all WordPress sites currently use PHP 7.4 or older. This means that at the end of 2022 a rather large upgrade wave is to be expected. This, in turn, could lead to support bottlenecks, especially in the hot phase of year-end business. If you don't want to lose revenue because of a non-functioning website, you should upgrade to PHP 8 as soon as possible.0 upgrade.

Update the PHP version

WordPress is from version 6.1 fully compatible with PHP 8.0 and PHP 8.1. There is also compatibility with PHP 8.2, for websites in operation it is advisable to use the previous version. In addition, of course, the theme and all plugins used must be compatible with the PHP version in question.

How to migrate PHP safely, we explain in the following guide.

PHP update in 5 steps

  1. Create backup
    Before you start the changeover, you should make a backup of your entire website, including all plugins. Make database. So you are prepared for all eventualities and can restore the old state in case of emergency.
  2. Make updates
    Do all updates of themes, plugins and the WordPress core. Then test your site if everything works smoothly.
  3. Check compatibility of theme and plugins
    To exclude possible problems in advance we recommend to check the compatibility of the used theme and all plugins in use.
  4. Change PHP version
    To change the PHP version you have to log in to your hosting provider. Where exactly the change can be made varies from provider to provider, in case of doubt just ask support.
  5. Check website for errors
    It may take a few minutes for the new PHP version to become active.
    Then check if:
    – the website is reachable,
    – all subpages are accessible,
    – all forms, sliders, galleries, etc. Work,
    – and whether you can log into the backend.

Under Tools → Website Status → Report → Server → PHP Version (3. Line) you can find out which version is currently being used. The status also shows you if WordPress has detected any errors.

Hints / tips

For complex websites it is recommended to test the update on a clone first. So any problems that may arise can be fixed without downtime.

If you encounter problems with the new PHP version, you should quickly analyze the cause of the problem using the error messages displayed in the browser or the error log files. If the error can't be fixed quickly, you should rollback and switch back to the previous PHP version. In this case, it is necessary to create a clone of the website for error analysis and correction.

In the course of the PHP upgrade, it is a good idea to check the memory limits and adjust them if necessary. By default, 40 MB is defined for a single site and 64 MB for a multisite. This should be limited to 128 MB resp. 192 MB can be increased. However, the value may still vary, depending on the memory requirements of the particular installation.

In addition to the pure PHP update service, we also offer a general update service, which brings all components of your website up to date.

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