Have you upgraded your website to PHP 7? Are you unaware of requirements for PHP version 7, benefits or concerned about any related issues? Don’t know about the PHP upgrade procedure? No more worries; you are at the right place to get all that you need. PHP is a server-side and open-source scripting language and the soul of WordPress. Recently, there is a lot of buzz in the market around PHP 7.

WordPress itself, recommends upgrading your site to PHP 7. Whereas, most of the users are running their websites based on PHP version 5.6. Then, what should they do? Should continue with PHP 5.6 or upgrade WordPress to PHP 7? Before finding an answer to this, let’s have a look why you need to upgrade from PHP 5.6 to 7. It will help you to move forward with a firm decision.

Why Upgrade from PHP 5 to PHP 7?

  • An update is necessary for security reasons. The version you are using can have security holes.

  • PHP 7 has higher load capacity. It will cater more customers using the same hardware.

  • PHP 7 is good for business as providing great performance, resilience and optimal utilization.

  • The minimum requirements for WordPress have been raised. So, you will encounter compatibility issues with plugins and scripts.

  • Last but not least, one should adopt a stable version. All its new features advocate upgrading.

Issues With the Upgrade

Wherever one thinks to switch to a new version, first thing comes into consideration is compatibility. PHP 7 is not backward compatible. So it might be possible that some of your plugins, themes or scripts will not work properly. Even, it may fully or partially break your website. As every new version comes with many improvements, security patches and the new structure of the code, it may also be possible that your plugin or theme code is completely old version dependent.

Then, an upgrade will prove this code to be obsolete. So, it is better to review and modify this code to work well with the new version. If you go for checking compatibility manually, it can be tiresome. PHP compatibility checker is a useful plugin that will help you to test it easily. This plugin will ask you PHP version to check theme and plugin code. It will generate a report of compatibility issues that need to fix.

It will also suggest the new version of plugins if available that will support PHP 7. However, this is a reliable plugin, it is suggested to run comprehensive tests before you migrate to a new PHP version. For that, you need to create a local copy of your website.

Checking Website Manually Before Upgrading

  • Backup Live Website: Before making any changes to your live website, you need to take its backup. There are many plugins to create a backup of your site. Out of which, some of the popular plugins are as follows:

  • Download XAMPP: Next step is to set a local copy of your website using XAMPP. Download the PHP 7 compatible version of XAMPP.

  • Restore Your Website: Once you successfully installed WordPress, restore the backup of your website using any of the plugin mentioned above.

  • Test Local Copy of Your Website: Now, look your website thoroughly for errors. The errors and warnings generated will depend on your set up.

Upgrading the Website to PHP 7

Once you complete the testing and filtering the local website, you will replace the same errors on your live website. It means you will make improvements in the live website to remove the same errors you encountered locally. You can ask the host company to provide a version upgrade option in the cPanel.

Final Thoughts

PHP 7 will give a performance boost to your website in terms of speed, security, low memory usage and much more. It is smart to upgrade your website to PHP 7 for WordPress. Soon, it may be the minimum requirement for WordPress. But in case you have compatibility issues, you can wait until the authors of plugins, themes provide the updated versions. But undoubtedly, PHP 7 is improving with every release and promises to benefit you a lot.

Upgrading major PHP version at the backend calls for a fresh design at the front as well. If you are already thinking to redesign your website, get in touch with a professional website redesign service provider and get your website redesigned in no time.