How to Change the PHP Version of a Website

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Many of our users ask how to change the php version of a website, we want to tell them it’s very easy with HostPanel. If your work has anything to do with computers, you’re probably familiar with the constant reminders about the importance of using the latest version of every single piece of software you interact with. Chances are, sometimes you’re more familiar with the problems it can cause sometimes.

Unfortunately, often, compatibility issues, higher hardware requirements, and bugs go hand in hand with the process of applying software updates. Yet, despite this, experts continue advice to users of the latest versions of every single piece of software. PHP, the programming language that powers nearly 80% of the world’s websites, is no exception. But the owners of the website are following the advice?

The latest major release of PHP is PHP 7.4, but according to usage statistics from W3Techs, around 43% of all PHP websites still use PHP 5. Of the rest, one-third of websites use PHP 7.2, which is rapidly approaching end-of-life in November 2020.

Changing the PHP version in HostPanel

Since PHP is so popular and different websites require different versions of the programming language, we need to make sure that changing PHP versions is quick and easy. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Log in to HostPanel’s user interface and open PHP Manager. The default login URL for HostPanel’s user interface is PHP Manager is available under the Tools section on the HostPanel homepage.

    HostPanel PHP Manager Tools
    Click on HostPanel PHP Manager Tools to change the PHP version
  2. Click the Change button next to the website you want to change. You will see a list of all domains and subdomains hosted on your account. You can change the PHP version of all of them individually.

    Select Website
    Select a Website to change the PHP version
  3. Choose the latest PHP version you want to use and save the changes. A popup appears with all available PHP versions. Choose the one you want to use and click Change.

    How to Change the PHP Version of a Website
    Change the PHP Version of a Website

Why is it important to use PHP’s latest version?

We allow our clients to run their websites on older PHP versions, but that doesn’t mean we encourage it. There are several reasons why you should upgrade to the latest version of PHP if possible.

As always, the most important benefit that the new version brings is added security. PHP vulnerabilities are discovered day by day and you need to make sure you are protected from them. Many do not.

Several websites run on PHP 5.6, for example, which stopped receiving security updates in January 2019. All security holes discovered since then remain unplugged for websites running on it.

Yes, Of course, there are several benefits to using the latest PHP version. New features and performance upgrades are constantly added, and although there are occasional issues and bugs when the community supporting the project is as large as PHP, problems are resolved very quickly.

The only real problem that can arise is related to compatibility. Older CMS plugins and themes may not work properly under newer PHP versions. If so, chances are, these themes and plugins themselves are security issues, so you might want to consider ditching them for something more modern.

In the worst-case scenario, you will need to reconfigure the entire website to work with the new PHP version, which can be a significant task. Even in such cases, however, the safety benefits outweigh any disadvantages by a mile.

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