How and Why You Should Upgrade WordPress To PHP 7

I’m going to start out by giving you the link to an outstanding summary written by Sourav Kundu called What is PHP 7 and How to Start Using it With WordPress?

Basically, you need to upgrade because of speed and security. Trust me, when you upgrade, you’re going to see a massive boost in speed on both the frontend of WordPress but also when it comes to the backend dashboard.

Ok, so let’s talk about making it happen when it comes to upgrading your site to PHP 7+…

It can be broken down into 4 steps (don’t worry, it’s easy)…

  1. Find out if your host supports PHP 7
  2. Find out if your site is compatible
  3. Back up your site
  4. Make the switch

Step 1 (and in most cases Step 4) can be done with either contacting your host or by just doing a simple search on Google with the name of your host and put PHP 7+ after it.

For example, a lot of people have their sites hosted on Host Gator.

So when doing your search on Google it would be “hostgator php7”:

The first result will take you to this support portal result.

It goes through all the information you need to know in regards to them supporting PHP 7 and they even go through PHP Configuration under the How Do I Change My PHP Version? heading upgrade and configure in this support portal result.


You can contact your host and ask them if they support PHP 7+ and at the same time ask them what steps you would need to take in order to upgrade your sites to PHP 7+.

STEP 2 – One risk with upgrading is that some plugins may not support PHP 7+ for whatever reason. Most plugins out there from reputable developers are compatible with PHP 7+ along with depreciated PHP 5 versions so nothing to worry about there.

But some other plugins especially older plugins or themes may have not yet adjusted their code (if it needs any adjustment).

The best way to check your site if everything in regards to plugins and themes is by installing a free plugin called PHP Compatibility Checker.

You simply upload and install it on your site then run a scan (the settings for the plugins are under “tools on the left-hand side of your dashboard”:

There will be 2 types of results…

Green which means compatible and you don’t have to worry.

Red which indicates a possible issue.

It’s important to point out that there are false positives. The plugin isn’t perfect due to a few different reasons.

So if something is red, don’t freak out right away.  They maintain a list of popular plugins that are whitelisted.

Anything you are concerned with, contact the developer of the plugin and ask them.

STEP 3 – Before making the switch, make sure you have a current backup of your site in case things go horribly wrong and disaster stikes.

I’m being dramatic of course. But should always have regular backups of your site regardless especially if you are installing a lot of different plugins.

There are a ton of different options for backing up your site from paid services to free plugins in the WordPress repository.

STEP 4 – Since servers and hosting companies are different, you should contact your hosting company or if they provide a tutorial, follow that.

In most cases it’s as simple as going into cPanel and basically flipping a switch…

Login to cPanel and go to “MultiPHP Manager” under “Software:

Place a check mark next to a domain you want to upgrade to PHP 7.

Then select a version of PHP 7 from the drop down box and click apply.

It’s not difficult to do upgrade, just make sure to have a backup of your site and be in good communication with your hosting company if you’re new to all this.

Enjoy the speed and security of your WordPress site now running on PHP 7+…


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About the Author: Mark Hess

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