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PHP Upgrade

PHP Upgrade from 5.6 to 7.2

Actions to take before the change:

You can test whether your website will work with PHP 7.2 now, by logging into cPanel and clicking ‘Select PHP Version’. From here you can choose 7.2 from the drop down and press ‘Set as current’.

Now visit your website and test it thoroughly - if everything works then the update should cause no issues. Be sure to check features such as contact forms and if you have an ecommerce site, you should run through the entire buying process to make sure it works.

How to troubleshoot:

If there are issues, you will need to update the software on your website. If your website is HTML based, the change won't have any effect on your website. If you have a custom coded website, then you may have to consult your web developer for further assistance.

Updating major software like WordPress, Joomla etc will make it compatible with PHP 7.2, any plugins and themes will likely need updating too – however some older plugins or themes may not be maintained anymore, so may not work and hence may need to be removed/disabled.

What we’d recommend doing is trying to update everything and see what happens, if doing so breaks the website, then you can try disabling plugins/themes one by one to see if this resolves the issue.

If things still aren’t looking good you can use ‘JetBackup’ in cPanel to do a full account restore, which will restore your website from the daily backup that runs every morning. If you have to do this, then you will need follow the instructions below once your account has been restored (it usually takes 5-15 minutes to restore, depending on how big your account is - for large accounts it can take longer).

 

Note that the below option is not recommend and leaves your website open to potential security exploits:

If for whatever reason you cannot get your website to work with PHP 7.2 or you need more time to get things updated, then you can revert to PHP 5.6 by logging into cPanel and clicking ‘Select PHP Version’. From here you can choose 5.6 from the drop down and press ‘Set as current’. Whilst it may be tempting to do this and forget about it, it really does put your site at risk, so we really urge anyone in this position to seek assistance from a web developer to help get their website compatible with PHP 7.2.

Unfortunately, help with these kinds of issues is beyond our scope of support, as our expertise is in the web server management rather than web development/design. If you need help restoring your account or switching PHP versions, just let us know, but for more involved help, please speak to your web developer.

 

Why the upgrade is necessary:

Full support for PHP 5.6 ended in January 2017 and only limited security support remains in place, which ends later this year. This means that 5.6 is lacking many improvements and features added in PHP 7.0 to 7.2.

Additionally, many ‘backwards incompatible’ changes have been made in PHP 7.0 to 7.2 in the interest of improving web security, by removing old/insecure coding methods.

This is a good thing, as many older scripts contain poor coding which leaves websites open to security exploitation, it does however mean older scripts may stop working with PHP 7.2 though.

In case you are wondering why we've waited so long before making PHP 7 the default version, the reason is simple - it takes time for a new version of PHP to become 'stable', and it also takes a while for software and its plugins/themes etc to be updated, so we've allowed a year for both PHP and third party software to become stable and matured.
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