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How to Update PHP to the Latest Version on Your WordPress

By Yann, published on 30/04/2019 Blog > Academia > Information Technology > Updating PHP for WordPress

“I am not the only person who uses his computer mainly for the purpose of diddling with his computer.” – Dave Barry

With over 18 million users in the world, WordPress is the world’s most popular CMS (content management system) for those wanting to make a website without losing their minds. However, some people decide to learn more about web programming and improving the functionality of their website.

Configuring a web page, hosting a storefront, writing a script, installing a plugin, choosing a domain name, etc. creating a web site has never been easier.

But which version of PHP should you use with WordPress?

In this article, we’ll look at how you can use PHP when you build a website, use WordPress (or any other site builder or CMS), upload photos, etc.

What’s the Relationship between PHP and WordPress?

Before you start creating your dynamic website, you need to know what PHP is, how it ties in with WordPress, and how it’ll affect the functionality of your WordPress website.

How do you use PHP in WordPress? PHP can be used to modify websites. (Source: Pexels)

What is PHP?

PHP is a programming language created in the 1990s that allows you to create dynamic websites. Unlike static web pages, dynamic web pages can change depending on who’s looking at them or when they’re being accessed.

PHP is used by many businesses and individuals. PHP is quite simple to use and accessible. You don’t need to have a degree in web development to code a page in PHP.

Furthermore, PHP allows you to manage databases and welcome visitors to the same page at the same time. One of the biggest advantages of it is that its open source. This means that anyone can use or modify it freely.

What about WordPress?

WordPress is also open source. Just like PHP, developers can transform this CMS and it evolves each year.

A CMS is a content management system that allows you to create websites without knowing programming.

You can create a site without knowing how to code in PHP, Java, HTML, etc. This is a system that has made web design accessible to a large number of people. You can use it to create a website, blog, portfolio, etc.

WordPress uses PHP coupled with a MySQL database. You can use it online or download the programme onto your computer. While a lot of sites aren’t made by using a CMS, WordPress sites make up almost a third of websites.

How Do They Work Together?

As we explained before, you don’t need to know PHP to create a WordPress site. However, if you want to modify or develop certain functions, you’ll need to know it.

To modify your site with PHP, you can directly modify it or use a plugin (there are plugins like “Insert PHP” or “Allow PHP in Posts and Pages”). In this case, you just need to install the plugin and add your lines of code. You need to add headers so that they’ll correctly integrate. Don’t forget to change the design (font, colour, etc) so that it fits in.

You should write your code into a notepad and then add them so you don’t get lost.

Find out more about adding images with PHP.

Which Version does WordPress Use?

WordPress was created in the early 2000s. At the time, PHP was still in its infancy. The earliest WordPress users started with version 4 of PHP. PHP is now in its seventh version.

What is a CMS? WordPress finds reading code easier than you probably do. (Source: kuszapro)

Version 7 arrived at the end of 2016. Over the years, it continued to change. Versions 7.2, 7.3, etc. WordPress improves its functionality with the latest version of PHP. WordPress currently uses version 7.

Can you use other versions?

On WordPress, they say:

To run WordPress we recommend your host supports:

  • PHP version 7.3 or greater.
  • MySQL version 5.6 or greater OR MariaDB version 10.0 or greater.
  • HTTPS support

You can use other versions, but the site does mention:

“[T]hese versions have reached official End Of Life and as such may expose your site to security vulnerabilities.”

WordPress also have other recommendations for users:

“We recommend Apache or Nginx as the most robust and featureful server for running WordPress, but any server that supports PHP and MySQL will do. That said, we can’t test every possible environment and each of the hosts on our hosting page supports the above and more with no problems.”

How Do You Change the Version on Your WordPress Site?

The best idea is to use PHP version 7. The latest version is 7.3.0. Using the latest version is good for your site’s security and ensures that it functions correctly.

Which is the latest version of WordPress? WordPress is regularly updated. (Source: pixelcreatures)

Version 7 of PHP came after version 5 as version 6 was skipped by the developers. Even though you can use older versions to create and modify WordPress websites, you run the risk of missing out on newer features.

So how can you replace an older version with a newer one?

Just like adding PHP code, updating requires a plugin. There’s one called “SG Optimizer”. It allows you to update to the latest version of PHP and improve your experience on WordPress.

If you’ve already downloaded SG Optimizer, you just have to update it before you use it. If you haven’t, you can do so through WordPress.

You then need to check that the theme of your website and the other plugins you’re using are compatible with the latest version of PHP. You can do this by doing a scan with SG Optimizer. This scan will tell you whether or not you can update to the latest version. If you can, you just need to click a button to do it. If not, it’ll show you which plugins aren’t compatible. You’ll need to update them individually and do the scan again to update your version of PHP.

The SG Optimizer allows you to go back to previous versions if you need to. This might happen if you have problems with a certain plugin. You can choose the version that works for you.

However, keep in mind that the latest version is more secure and faster than the previous versions.

Learn how to upload PHP files.

How Often Is It Updated?

PHP is constantly evolving. Since the 90s, many passionate developers have worked towards getting the best out of it. This is because the language is open source so, in theory, anything is possible.

How do you update the PHP on a WordPress site? It’s very easy updating to the latest version of PHP. (Source: Boskampi)

Web developers are always working on it. Just because you’ve currently got the latest version, that doesn’t mean that you always will. There are fixes and improvements throughout the year. Updates could happen every three months.

You should regularly update your site with the SG Optimizer. It’s not essential, though.

This might be useful if you find a few errors or bugs on your site. In this case, an update could fix them. Otherwise, a yearly update could be enough without going mad with updates. Good luck!

If you’re interested in learning more about web hosting, e-commerce, templates, SEO (search engine optimization), Joomla, or how to build your website and get it up and running, consider getting in touch with a tutor on Superprof who can help you with website building and making your own website.

There are three types of tutorials available: face-to-face tutorials, online tutorials, and group tutorials. Each type has its advantages and disadvantages.

Face-to-face tutorials are the most cost-effective since your tutor tailors their lessons to you and can focus on you for the entire lesson. Of course, this tailored service comes at a cost. Essentially, you’re paying not just for the time the tutor spends with you, but also all the time they spend planning and preparing your tutorials.

Online tutorials are often cheaper than face-to-face tutorials since the tutor doesn’t have as many expenses to deal with. As a result, they can charge less per hour to make their offering more competitive. While these types of tutorials aren’t ideal for things like sculpture, they can be very effective for technical subjects like IT and programming.

Group tutorials are usually the cheapest for each student because they’re all sharing the cost of the lesson. Of course, the major drawback of this type of tutorial is that you don’t get as much one-on-one time with your tutor as you would in the other types but could be good if you and a group of friends are all interested in learning PHP.

Finally, most of the tutors on Superprof offer the first hour of private tutoring for free. You can try out different tutors and talk to them about your goals and expectations, see if you get along with them, and ensure that their teaching approaches are right for you.

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