What you need to know about upcoming software changes

php

(A long but important message)

As a website owner, you need to be aware of some changes that will be taking place on hosting platforms soon. These changes apply to the hosting we provide to our clients, but will also apply to hosting platforms everywhere.

The version of PHP 7.4 will soon become depreciated and no longer supported. For quite some time, 7.4 has been the oldest version of PHP that was supported with security and other types of updates.

What is PHP? PHP is the scripting language that hosting servers use to interact with the code websites are built with. PHP is present in website file systems and provides the framework for virtually all the functions found in websites.

The current version of PHP out there is 8.3. As we said above, version 7.4 will soon fall into an unsupported status. That means it will no longer receive updates and security patches. The minimum version that will continue to be supported is 8.0.3.

So what does this mean for website owners?

First, for most websites, updating to a newer PHP version will not cause any problems for your website provided the following is true for your website:

  • Your website has been properly maintenanced. This includes ensuring your WordPress core, themes and plugins have been kept up to date. Developers often update their themes and plugins for several reasons; one of them being compatibility with newer versions of PHP.
  • Your website utilizes well-built, well-supported themes and plugins that are updated regularly.
  • Your version of WordPress is running the latest version.

Occasionally, despite due diligence given to proper care and website maintenance, you can still run into problems. This can happen if a theme or plugin developer hasn’t updated their software to run on newer PHP versions. In these cases, you can either reach out to the individual developer or find an alternate plugin solution needed to achieve your design or functionality.

If you have not performed regular website maintenance…

If your website has gone a long period of time without proper maintenance, you potentially can face problems with your website. These problems can include:

  • Parts of your website will no longer function properly, or function at all.
  • Your website no longer displays and is experiencing a critical error.
  • Some plugins and themes will no longer update

We want to emphasize that hosting platforms will be updating to a newer version of PHP because they have to. Since there is no choice but to stay current with a PHP version that is supported, it is the website owner’s responsibility to ensure their site is prepared for these changes.

The best way to do this is ensure your website is properly maintained.

The good news is, if you are enrolled in one of our Service & Support plans, you can be rest-assured your website is prepared for the upcoming updates. If you have elected to maintain your own website, as long as you have kept it up to date, you also can be reasonably confident your website will not face any issues when the updates occur.

Our hosting is currently undergoing updating

We provide hosting for our clients through SiteGround. We have been informed that the updating process will begin in the next week and beyond across all of their servers. If you are hosted with us, we will know when your website’s server will be updated and we will let you know ahead of time. If you are enrolled in one of our Service & Support plans, you can rest easy as we will monitor the health of your website throughout the changes.

For website owners that are hosted somewhere else, we cannot say when the PHP updates will begin. We provide Service & Support to client websites that are not hosted with us. However, if you have opted to maintain your own website, please use this information to make sure your website is ready for the updates. It is better to be prepared than experience website downtime due to conflicts with the newer PHP version.

If you would like to talk to us about enrolling in one of our Service & Support plans, thereby not needing to handle this yourself, reach out to us!

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