If your WordPress powered site is hosted with SiteGround, here is a good news for you – You can now easily upgrade the version of PHP your site is using to the latest version of PHP (7.0 or higher) without breaking your site.
Why upgrade to PHP version 7.0
Quite sometime back, WordPress changed its minimum requirements to PHP version 7 or later for it to run efficiently. It has been found that benchmarks of WordPress using PHP 7 are showing two to three times speed improvement compared to the older versions of PHP.
How to upgrade to PHP version 7 or Higher
NOTE: Update all your themes and plugins to the latest version before starting this process.
Step 1 – Go right ahead and install (or update) the SG Optimizer plugin from your WordPress Dashboard. This plugin makes it simple for your site to migrate to PHP version 7 in a few clicks.
Though PHP version 7 has been available to all SiteGround customers for a long time, now is the best time for WordPress users to upgrade as you can take full advantage of the considerable performance boost it provides.
Step 2 – Now, navigate to the PHP Config section and have a look at which version of PHP your site is currently using. If it is below PHP version 7, an option to start an automated check will be displayed to you, using which you scan all your active themes and plugins and verify if they are compatible with PHP 7.0.
Step 3 – If all the components (themes and plugins) you are using is compatible with PHP 7.0, an option to upgrade to PHP 7.0 will be displayed.
Step 4 – Suppose some of the components on you site are not supported by PHP 7, they will be listed on the screen for you to decide whether to replace them with compatible plugins or just disable them.
Step 5 – Once you have updated or removed the incompatible plugins and themes on your site, you can check the compatibility again.
Step 6 – Even after upgrading to PHP 7.0, you will be able to manually switch back to older PHP versions or upgrade to the latest PHP version 7.1.
You can also change the PHP version for your site from cPanel using the PHP Version Manager tool.
The SG Optimizer plugin will periodically check if your site is running on the latest recommended version of PHP. Right now, it is PHP 7.0 but later it will be altered to PHP 7.1, 7.2, etc.depending on WordPress’s latest requirements.
Thus I hope you found this article very useful in upgrading the version of PHP from version 5.6 or below to version 7.o or above on SiteGround hosting.