However, those are only applicable if the website is loaded. If you are using a WordPress website, you are undoubtedly using a different programming language. The language we are talking about is PHP.
The things that you see on your WordPress website are all there because of PHP. From the page templates to the dashboard, those are products of PHP. Without PHP, the WordPress site would not exist.
What Is PHP as a Programming Language?
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For you to understand PHP, we will give you a brief introduction about it.
PHP is a programming language. It is open source and websites can use it for free. As a result, it has become one of the most well-known programming languages in web development.
It is not only responsible for running WordPress, but it also works for other popular sites like Facebook. Moreover, you can also use it for other purposes.
However, when you are using PHP, and a problem with site performance arise, you will have to fix it on your end. No matter how fast your visitors’ computer is and you have low resources on your server, it will surely be a problem.
In connection to that, you will have to update PHP version of your website for a good performance.
What version of PHP are you running?
People ask this question often. Fortunately, you can choose among different ways to check PHP version of your WordPress. You can check PHP version via command line, but it can be quite tricky if you’re not that good with commands.
Here are two easy ways to know your PHP version:
Check it through WordPress plugin
One of the easiest ways to check PHP version is to use a WordPress plugin like Display PHP version.
Just install the plugin then activate it and you are ready to go. Once it is enabled, you can view the PHP version in your WordPress’ dashboard under the At A Glance field.
Check it through hosting management panel
Another option is to check the version through your provider. You can find PHP Version Manager or PHP Settings on your hosting account. You can check your WordPress PHP version from there.
Moreover, you can use this option to upgrade to a higher PHP version (only applicable if you don’t have the updated version). You can also edit your PHP from there to make changes to the function of your server.
If your PHP is already running in the latest version, you don’t need to do anything but continue the rest of your day happily.
However, if the result showed that you do not have the latest PHP version, you will have to update to the newest version.
Why should you update the PHP version of your WordPress?
Updating WordPress PHP version is essential as the version of the PHP affects the performance of your WordPress. You should know that the PHP serves as the middleman for your website.
It gets the appropriate data then wraps it in CSS and HTML to deliver a finished site to your website visitor’s browser.
If your middleman is slow, it will inevitably affect the performance of others.
Below are the reasons why you should check the PHP version of your WordPress and update it:
Older PHP versions are not supported
Just like an old phone, old PHP versions are also outdated. They don’t function smoothly as newer versions do.
Although security support for version 5.6 will last until the last month of 2018, its active support already ended during the first month of 2017.
The latest version (PHP 7) is the best
This is also one of the main reasons why you should update your PHP. You will love the increased speed that it can offer. According to benchmarks, the new PHP version has twice the speed compared to previous versions.
As a result, your website will be quickly delivered to your visitor’s browser while doing less work. Moreover, the new version has easy to read codes.
The latest version of PHP can handle errors better than others. It can fix script problems without terminating the whole process. It will be excellent news for people who hate visiting faulty websites.
Lastly, an updated version also protects your site from getting hacked.
Updating means improving
The programming language is continuously growing through the years. There were a lot of previous versions created before.
You can only run WordPress using at least PHP 5.2.4. But now the official recommendation is PHP 7 and higher. (The latest version is 7.2)
A newer version means that you’ll enjoy the improvements that come with it. As PHP improves, its language becomes better, less resource hungry, leaner, faster and more secure.
How to safely upgrade PHP version?
Even though the latest PHP version is impressive, you still have to be careful in upgrading. It is possible that some of your current codes will not be compatible with the newer version.
If that happens, your site may experience faults or breaks in behavior. Here are things that you can do to upgrade your PHP version safely:
Back up site data and upgrade
Since the codes might not be compatible, all you have to do is to update your WordPress to the latest version.
Check compatibility issues
Even though you have upgraded everything, it is not guaranteed that it will work smoothly. It is better to check for compatibility issues beforehand through a plugin.
Update PHP version
If you have successfully done the first two steps, you can now update your PHP.
Check WordPress site
After the upgrade, all you have to do is to look around your website and find out if all the features are working well.
PHP is the backbone of WordPress. Without it, WordPress will not work. In connection to that, it should always be upgraded to the latest version.
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