WordPress: Update PHP version successfully – IONOS Help

Technically, you only need a few mouse clicks to switch your domain – and therefore the WordPress website – to a new PHP version. However, it may be that the WordPress version used, individual plugins or the theme are not yet fully compatible with the new PHP version. In order to avoid the resulting malfunctions, it is therefore advisable to prepare the website for the change of PHP version and then change the PHP version. We recommend the following procedure when switching to a new PHP version:

  • create backup

    Before you switch the PHP version, you should create a backup of your WordPress website. In this way, you are prepared for all eventualities and can restore the website to its original state at any time.

  • Update WordPress installation

    The older your WordPress version is, the more likely it is that the PHP program code used is no longer compatible with the new PHP version. Please check for updates for your WordPress version, plugins and the theme Are available. Unless you need to use an older WordPress version for some reason, you should always keep your WordPress and all components up to date. Because these updates also regularly close security gaps.

  • Check the compatibility of the theme and the plugins

    If you use third-party plugins, such as a photo album, you can check in advance whether it is compatible with the future PHP version.

    One way to do this is to open the official WordPress plugins page, search for the plugins used there, and then look in the detailed information for notes about the supported PHP versions.

    However, this is easier to do with the free PHP Compatibility Checker plugin, which can be installed via the WordPress plugin management. The installed plugins and themes can then be tested for their compatibility with different PHP versions. To test PHP 7.4 compatibility, click Start Scan, select PHP 7.4 and click Scan site to start the scan. You will then receive an overview with the details of the scan.

  • Change PHP version

    After you have made all the preparations, you can switch your domain to the desired PHP version. Activating the new PHP version only takes a few minutes. How to change the PHP version for your domain

  • Check website for errors

    As soon as the new PHP version is active, you should immediately put the website through its paces:
    – Is the website accessible?
    – Are all subpages accessible?
    – Do all sliders, galleries, forms etc. work?
    – Does the backend (administration area) work?