What is PHP?
PHP is the code that your WordPress site is built on – both the back end of your site and the templates that keep it looking good. It’s an open source coding language, and the good news is that you don’t need to know PHP to build or maintain your website.
How do I know if my PHP is outdated?
Like all software, PHP gets improved and updated from time to time and it’s important to keep your PHP version up to date to keep your site secure.
There are a number of ways you may discover you need to make an update. You may see a message in your WordPress dashboard saying “PHP Update Required”, or you may find that you cannot update a plugin because of outdated PHP.
How do I update it?
The simplest, no-fuss way to update your PHP is to contact your web host and ask them to update it.
If you’re determined to do it yourself, it’s not a complicated task!
I know you’re already backing up your site daily (if you’re not, I can help you with that!), but the first thing you should do before making any changes to your site is make a new backup!
Next, log into your cPanel, via your web host – I’m using BlueHost here, but most cPanels are similar – and look for the MultiPHP Manager, under the Software section.
Click the MultiPHP Manager icon to get to the next screen.
Use the drop-down menu to choose the version of PHP you want to switch to. (This screenshot current at 7/19/2020)
Once you save your choice, your site will be updated to the new version.
It’s critical that you test your site immediately after you’ve updated to make sure everything is working correctly. If something does go wrong, revert to your backed up copy, and then go to Plan A (call your web host!)