8 Out of 10 WordPress Websites, Will Soon Be Running on Outdated Server Software.
Even if they keep their themes and plugins updated, by the end of this year, they’ll still be running on an unsupported platform.
This means, while everything may run smoothly (albeit slow), they’ll be vulnerable to external malicious attacks, with nothing to protect them.
Why is it so?
The WordPress API is developed on a programming language called “PHP”, which is one of the most popular languages on the web, powering about 70% of all websites on the Internet. That’s about 8 out of every 10 websites.
Just like how WordPress gets better with version updates adding new improved features, PHP does too, and the older versions slowly get dropped off from the support lifecycle.
If you look at the statistics from WordPress (see below), more than half of WordPress sites are currently running on outdated (or soon to be outdated) PHP versions.
Well, why can’t my host push it to my installation directly?
They can, but it’s not a good thing. The main reason is that they don’t want to break your site.
Most website owners do not update their software because –
- Everything is running smoothly
- Their plugins and themes are outdated or not supported by the original developer anymore
- Someone tried updating their site before, and it broke the site
- They simply did not know that they need to update
- They thought their web hosts were already on top of this (because it’s to be done on the server)
… and a number of other reasons. Most good Web hosts do provide the latest versions of PHP on their servers. But with 35% of all the websites on the Internet running on WordPress, enabling it directly on their client’s accounts can increase the number of support tickets they have to deal with.
Which is why they put the onus on the end-users.
So, how do I check if I’m on an outdated PHP version?
This is the easy part. Use this free plugin – “Display PHP Version” – available in the WordPress plugin repository. To do this, follow these easy steps:
- Login to your WordPress website
- Type in “Display PHP Version” in the search box under the “Plugins – Add New” tab.
- Install and Activate the plugin.
- Now, click on the Dashboard link, and you should see your current PHP version listed there.
If you see PHP 7.1 or any version above, then you’re all good. If you see PHP 7.0 (which goes out of WordPress support purview by the end of this year) or any version below, you should upgrade.
I want to upgrade, how do I do that?
If you’re on an outdated PHP version, and you’re quite sure that nothing will break on your site (or you can afford to break it), then updating PHP is easy through your cPanel.
If you can work your way around your cPanel, look for a link similar to “PHP Selector”. Here you can see the default setting of PHP and usually a dropdown to select the version you want to point it to.
Alternatively, you can contact your host to get this done for you. But you need to make sure that your themes and plugins are capable of handling the upgrade.
I need help…
If you need a WordPress professional to check your site and upgrade it for you, send us a quick e-mail to [email protected]. We can do a quick analysis by doing test migrations to check the status of your setup and can help you do the migration without any issue.“Shameless Plug”