PHP is a programming language that is used to script websites that are dynamic and interactive. When you see fancy slide shows or animations, it is most likely done with PHP. Most website CMS are built on PHP as well, such as WordPress and Joomla.
Because of the popularity of PHP use, it is vital that PHP is kept secure. The language is under constant development and follows a three year major version cycle, with several minor version updates in between. Major updates focus more on feature updates and additions, while minor ones are more for security patches.
Because of development cycle, running older PHP versions on your website can be a security concern for your website. Most vulnerabilities that are exploited by hackers are due to out-of-date PHP versions. One of the simplest ways to secure your website is to keep your website PHP version up to date.
- Why should I update my PHP version
- How do I update my PHP version
- Oh no, my site is now broken
Why should I update my PHP version
As mentioned above, there is a good chance that your website is built using some PHP functionality. Most popular CMS (including WordPress) are built on PHP. Because most sites are built using PHP, any security issue in the coding that a hacker can exploit can be very lucrative. WordPress alone make up a huge percentage of websites.
As new issues arise, they are patched in newer versions. If you are using older versions of PHP for your site, it could contain several known security holes that could be used to hack your website. Hacks can range from simple annoyances to complete destruction of your existing site. Keeping your PHP up to date is a must to keep your site safe.
As PHP is developed and updated, there is a chance that your current website may not be compatible with modern PHP version. If you are using a CMS such as WordPress, there is little worry that this would happen with the main software, as it is also under constant development. However, if you use themes and plugins for your site that are not managed or maintained, it is possible that they will not be compatible with modern PHP versions. Before you update your PHP, it is always a good idea to create a back up of your site, just in case.
How do I update my PHP version
You can update (or downgrade) your PHP version from your cPanel. If you do not know how to access your cPanel directly, you can find out here.
Once you are logged into your cPanel, scroll down to the software section and find the MultiPHP Manager.
Once the MultiPHP manager loads, you will see a list of all of your domains and subdomains managed by your cPanel account. To the right of each domain, you will see the current PHP version your site is set to use.
Default PHP version
There is a default PHP version that is set on the server side. If you do not change your PHP version in this app, this is the version that it will use.
Changing your PHP version
To change your PHP version, you must do the following steps:
- First need to check the box to the left of the domain name. You can select as many as you wish to update.
- Once you have all of the domains you need to update checked, click on the PHP Version dropdown on the right hand side of the screen.
- From this drop down, choose the PHP version that you would like to use.
- Finally, click on the Apply button to complete the update.
You may see the word Inherited next to one or more of your domains. This simply means that the version was set by the primary domain and has not been changed manually. If you update the primary domain version, any inherited domain will be updated as well.
Oh no, my site is now broken
If your site will no longer load once you update your PHP version, it is possible that your site requires PHP functions that are no longer included with newer versions. This is more likely to happen when updating to a new major version (for example, when upgrading from PHP 5.6 to PHP 7.4). Resetting your PHP version to the previous one should restore your site.
If you find yourself in this situation, where upgrading the PHP breaks your site, there are a few things that you can try to upgrade your software.
Update in steps
Most upgrade issues are caused when updating major versions of PHP. If you are currently on PHP 5.4 and are trying to upgrade to PHP 8.1, that is a lot of changes. A better method is to upgrade to the last minor version first, and then upgrade to the next major version.
Step 1 - PHP 5.4 > PHP 5.6 Step 2 - PHP 5.6 > PHP 7.0 (Note: there is no PHP 6) Step 3 - PHP 7.0 > PHP 7.4 Step 4 - PHP 7.4 > PHP 8.0 Step 5 - PHP 8.0 . PHP 8.1
To keep your website secure and functional, you should always update it along with your PHP. Try to use the latest PHP version, unless your site stops working. If that happens, you may need to contact the vendor of your site software, or your web developer, to make sure that your site is compatible with newer PHP. Otherwise, you risk using an outdated and vulnerable PHP version that may be removed from our servers.
Sometimes, plugins or themes can cause loading issues when you update PHP versions. You can disable them if you encounter any problems. Check your software documentation for information on how to do that.
Still Having Issues?
If you are still having issues, you can contact our Customer Support in the following methods:
You can connect to our Live Chat Support Team from your MacHighway Client Area. If you are not sure how to do this, you can find a guide here.
Our Live Chat team is available Monday to Friday from 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM Eastern Time.
You can submit a support ticket to our Support Team from your client area.
Our ticket Support Team is available 24/7/365.
You can contact our Phone Support Team using the following number:
- US/Canada 1-888-974-0334
- International 1-727-800-3606
Our Phone Support team is available Monday to Friday from 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM Eastern Time.