If your WordPress blog is hosted on SiteGround, you can now easily upgrade the PHP version of your site to the latest PHP version (7.4 or higher) without breaking your site.
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Why upgrade WordPress to PHP version 7.4
Quite some time back, WordPress changed its minimum requirements from PHP 5.6 to PHP version 7.4 or greater for it to be stable and run more efficiently. It has been found that benchmarks of WordPress sites using PHP 7.4 or greater are showing a speed improvement of two to three times compared to older versions of PHP.
How to upgrade WordPress PHP version to 7.4 easily
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 within your WordPress Dashboard. This plugin makes it simple for you to check and migrate your site to PHP version 7.4 in a few clicks.
Though PHP version 7 .4 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 the PHP version your website is currently using. If it is below PHP version 7.4, an option to run an automated check will be displayed to you, using which you can scan all your active themes and plugins and verify if they are compatible with PHP 7.4.
Step 3 – If all the components of your site, be it the themes and plugins running on your site are compatible with PHP 7.4, an option to upgrade to PHP 7.4 will be displayed.
Step 4 – Suppose a theme or plugin on your site is not compatible with PHP 7.4 or later, it will be listed on the screen for you to decide whether to replace them with some other compatible plugin or just disable them completely.
Step 5 – Once you have updated or removed the incompatible plugins and themes on your site, check for compatibility again and if your site is fully compatible, click on the upgrade button.
Step 6 – In case you encounter some errors after upgrading your WordPress site to PHP 7.4, you will be able to manually switch back to an older version of PHP. Moreover, this plugin allows you to upgrade to the latest version of PHP when new versions are made available on SiteGround hosting.
How to change WordPress PHP version from cPanel
You can also change the PHP version for your site from cPanel using the PHP Version Manager tool. Just click on the PHP Version Manager icon, choose the version of PHP you want your site to upgrade to, and click proceed. Now, all your themes and plugins will be running on the version of PHP you chose earlier.
The SG Optimizer plugin will periodically check if your site is running on the latest recommended version of PHP. Right now, it is PHP 7.4 or newer but later it can be changed to PHP 7.5, 8.0, etc. depending on WordPress’s latest requirements.
Thus I hope you found this article very useful in changing the PHP version of WordPress from 5.6 or below to version 7.4 or above on the SiteGround web hosting platform.