PHP is a server-side software language used in most websites, including WordPress and Zen Cart. Like all software, it is continually updated, fixed and improved.
Why Should I Upgrade?
Security – older versions are no longer receiving security patches. If you are not using PHP 7, your site is at risk.
Speed – PHP 7 is significantly faster than older versions. With page load speeds being so important for both users and search engine ranking, anything to help improve speed is a big help. As an example, a WordPress site running PHP 7 can handle twice as many visitors as PHP 5 can, using the same amount of memory.
Functionality – old functions are removed and new ones added. This is where the world of software never stands still. Removing old functions is necessary but also means using older versions can break your site if it needs these old functions. It also means if you have a newer site, you need the newer functions or your site could break. Short version….software has to be constantly maintained to stay current.
What Version Am I Using?
If you have cPanel, you can find the PHP version under “MultiPHP Manager”. If you are unsure or don’t know how, ask your hosting company or web developer.
If you are using WordPress, you might see a warning in your admin like this:
If you are using Zen Cart, you can check your PHP version from the admin like this:
Since December 2019, PHP 7.3 is the oldest supported version. Click the image below to see the current status of supported versions.
How Do I Upgrade?
You’ll want to involve your hosting company or web developer. After performing the upgrade, your website should be thoroughly reviewed to ensure the new version of PHP didn’t break anything. There are tools that can be used to check for compatibility, but none are 100%. Real-world testing is best.
Like all software upgrades, it’s not a question of ‘if’ you will upgrade but ‘when’. The reality is if you never upgrade one day something will just stop working. You’re site will be down and you’ll be in a rush to get it fixed and running again. Planning for upgrades and doing them on your schedule is a much better way to go.
Contact us with any questions about PHP or upgrading.