WordPress recently announced that they will release version 5.2 of their popular website Content Management System at the end of April. This updated version will require a PHP version of 5.6.20 or higher. With the release of WordPress version 5.1, websites began displaying a notice in the backend if the website was running an older version of PHP. PHP is the programming language used to build WordPress. Estimates are that 128 million WordPress websites are using a PHP version less that 5.6. Read on to discover how you can prepare your website for the WordPress 5.2 upgrade.
Which PHP version are you running
Most WordPress website owners never see their website backend. In our experience, friends, family, or website developers who have since moved on installed their WordPress website. They do not know which version of WordPress and PHP they are running. Also, web hosting companies are slow to upgrade the PHP version offered in their hosting packages. The more versions of PHP they make available increases the number of systems that they must support.
Upgrade PHP to version 7.3
If your web hosting service does not upgrade the version of PHP for your website, you will never see the WordPress 5.2 upgrade notice. Your website will not receive the security updates included in newer WordPress versions. You will not be able to use the newest features of WordPress. Also, your website will not have the better security and increased speed offered by newer PHP versions. Your website will be more open to attacks.
The WordPress 5.2 upgrade requires some preparation. Do not upgrade your PHP version blindly. WordPress recommends upgrading to PHP version 7.3 because version 7+ will become the minimum supported PHP version by the end of 2019. Some web hosts have instructions available so that website owners can upgrade their PHP version.
Test on a local server
We recommend creating a testing version of your website (we use a local web server). This way, you can test your website to ensure that everything (WordPress, themes, plugins, and custom code) works properly on the updated PHP version. With the testing completed, you can safely upgrade the PHP version on your live server and migrate the testing website to your live server.
Enjoy the WordPress 5.2 upgrade
Upgrading your PHP version is necessary if you want to enjoy the benefits of the WordPress 5.2 upgrade. Google will reward a faster website by ranking your website higher, visitors will stay on your website longer (they will leave a slow website), and you will be protected from hackers by the increased security built into newer versions of PHP. Prepare your website today for the upcoming WordPress 5.2 upgrade.
Need help getting ready for the WordPress 5.2 upgrade?