Antonia Zivcic  

How to Update PHP in WordPress

Updating PHP in WordPress is an essential task for website owners and developers to ensure optimal performance, security, and compatibility with the latest features. PHP is the scripting language that powers WordPress, and keeping it up to date is crucial for maintaining a robust and secure website. In this article, we will provide a step-by-step guide on how to update PHP in WordPress, ensuring a smooth transition and avoiding potential compatibility issues.

Check the PHP Version

Step 1: Check the PHP Version

Before updating PHP, it’s essential to know the current version running on your WordPress site. You can find this information in the WordPress dashboard by navigating to “Dashboard” > “Updates.” Look for the PHP version information on the Updates page or consult your hosting provider if it’s not displayed. There migh be a case you have Ext:PHP on your website. 

Step 2: Verify Compatibility

After determining your current PHP version, it’s crucial to ensure that your WordPress theme and plugins are compatible with the PHP version you plan to update to. Visit the websites of your theme and plugin developers to check their compatibility lists or contact their support teams for further information. It’s recommended to update all themes and plugins to their latest versions before proceeding with the PHP update.

Step 3: Backup Your Website

Before making any significant changes, it’s essential to create a complete backup of your WordPress website. This backup will serve as a safety net in case anything goes wrong during the PHP update process. You can use backup plugins or consult your hosting provider’s documentation for backup instructions.

Step 4: Test Locally

To avoid any unexpected issues on your live website, it’s advisable to set up a local development environment to test the PHP update. This will allow you to replicate your site and ensure that everything functions correctly before applying the update to the live version. Numerous local development tools are available, such as XAMPP, WampServer, or Local by Flywheel.

Update PHP Version

Step 5: Update PHP Version

Once you’ve performed the necessary checks, backups, and tests, it’s time to update the PHP version. Here are a few methods to update PHP:

  1. Contact Your Hosting Provider: Many hosting providers offer an option to change the PHP version through their control panel or customer support. Reach out to them for guidance on how to update PHP in your specific hosting environment.
  2. cPanel: If your hosting provider uses cPanel, you can log in and locate the “PHP Selector” or “Select PHP Version” option. From there, you can choose the desired PHP version and apply the changes.
  3. .htaccess File: Another option is to modify your website’s .htaccess file. Add the following line at the beginning of the file:

AddHandler application/x-httpd-phpx.x

Replace “x.x” with the desired PHP version number. Save the file and check if the PHP version has been successfully updated.

Step 6: Test and Troubleshoot

After updating PHP, it’s crucial to thoroughly test your website’s functionality and ensure that everything is working correctly. Browse through different pages, perform transactions, and test any critical features to identify and resolve any compatibility or functionality issues. Monitor your website closely for a few days to ensure there are no lingering issues.


Updating PHP in WordPress is a vital task to maintain a secure, efficient, and up-to-date website. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can smoothly update PHP while minimizing the risk of compatibility issues and ensuring the uninterrupted operation of your WordPress site. Remember to back up your website, verify compatibility, and thoroughly test everything to ensure a successful PHP update. Stay proactive in keeping your website’s PHP version current to benefit from the latest improvements and security enhancements available.