How do I upgrade to a newer version of PHP?

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What is PHP?

How do I upgrade to a newer version of PHP?

PHP, which stands for “PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor” is a widely-used Open Source general-purpose scripting language that is especially suited for web development and can be embedded into HTML. Its syntax draws upon C, Java, and Perl, and is easy to learn. The main goal of the language is to allow web developers to write dynamically generated web pages quickly, but you can do much more with PHP.

Why do you need to update PHP?

All PHP versions have a lifecycle of about three years, after which they are no longer supported. After the initial release, a PHP version is actively supported for approximately two years. After that time, there will be 1-2 years of security support, meaning that there are only releases for critical security issues. During this phase, the next PHP version is already available.

  • Security – The most obvious reason to update is security. Newer versions are better at countering hackers, for example, because deprecated (outdated) code is no longer supported.
  • Improved Website Speed – Newer PHP versions are faster. On average, sites using PHP 7.3 run 9% faster than sites using PHP 7.2.
  • Other features and improvements – As with all updates, a newer version includes new features and improvements on how to do things, for example, error handling.

How can you prepare your website?

  1. Make sure that you have updated your website to the latest version. If you are running a CMS such as WordPress please make sure you check their latest System Requirements
  2. Remove old plugins, themes or old installations that you don’t use.
  3. Change the PHP version from the control panel, at a time of your convenience, and check if everything is working.
  4. Fix any errors that occur. You can either do it yourself or find a developer who can help you.

What should you check when upgrading PHP?

Make sure your scripts work

PHP is constantly being developed, and in newer versions functions can become deprecated. Check your scripts and make sure they work as you intend them to after upgrading. Please consult with the Plugin or Script Developer for compliance issues or alternatives

Do you get error messages?

Do you get PHP messages starting with “Notice” and “Warning”, but your site works fine despite these messages? You can solve the problem by disabling PHP error messages in the Control Panel. The error messages mean that your script will still work in this version, but that it will stop working in newer PHP versions. So it’s a way of warning you that you will need to update your script eventually.

Missing content or seeing blank pages?

If your site is missing content, or it only shows a blank page, please enable PHP error messages. Within 20 minutes an error describing the problem should be displayed on your site. Please contact our support if you have any questions.

Update your CMS system to the latest version

If you have WordPress, Joomla or another CMS system installed on your web space, please make sure to update them to the latest version.

How can you upgrade to a newer version of PHP?

You can easily switch to a different version of PHP from the Southern Sons Control Panel. The PHP versions that are available for you to choose from, depend on which versions are currently being supported by Keep in mind that it takes 20 minutes for the change to take effect. If you have a site with a lot of visitors it can take even longer.

Step 1 – Login to cPanel

You can login to your cPanel by accessing it directly through our Clientarea.

Step 2 – Search for PHP Reference

Simply type in “PHP” into the Searchbar and select “Select PHP Version”

Step 3 – Select PHP Version in dropdown menu

Simply select the latest PHP Version in the dropdown menu. At this stage we recommend using PHP Version 7.2 as this is tested and confirmed running stable.
We are currently undergoing some test to use PHP Version 7.3 but will release a separate statement on a later stage

Step 4 – Confirm PHP Version

Confirm selected PHP Version by clicking “Set as current”. Please note it takes up to 20 Minutes for the changes to be confirmed on the Server.


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