When a hosting provider updates PHP, certain problems can arise that impact an end-user’s website and its functionality. PHP is the programming language used to create websites using WordPress, and as new updates are released, using newer versions eventually becomes a requirement. PHP updates are necessary, but they can occasionally can create major headaches for webmasters. Knowing the correct actions to take before and after these updates can prevent some common problems.
Watch for PHP Update Notifications
Most providers will send a notification before implementing PHP updates. Upon receiving this notice, it is important to create a back up of the site, to update every element of the site as soon as possible, and then to save an updated backup. This helps to guard against problems that arise due to programming language updates. Having a saved copy of the site means that if something goes wrong with the update, the website itself is safe from those changes.
Backing up WordPress Sites to Shield Against Problems Related to Updates
WordPress users are always advised to back up their sites on a regular basis. This is especially important when a hosting service provides a notice about PHP updates. Having a correct configuration saved as a back up can prevent the worst case scenario of having to rebuild a site from scratch. Saving a site before updates can prevent problems from ruining the entire site. Saving it again after updates have been implemented and are working smoothly ensures those changes are saved as well.
About Using the Most Recent Updates
Most web hosting companies will not upgrade to the most cutting edge updates as soon as they are released. The reason for this is simple: the newest versions can cause older PHP applications to stop functioning properly or to stop working at all. Because hosting services typically wait until updating is necessary, there is usually no conflict between most elements of a WordPress site and the new update by the time the host upgrades. However, not all hosting companies handle updates in the same manner, and there are occasional site hiccups during upgrades. Hosting companies that don’t manage updates correctly can lead to WordPress PHP being nonfunctional. If that is the case, the only option is to look for a new hosting service. In that case, the site backup will prove to be an invaluable resources for preserving the site itself.
Update all Elements of a WordPress Site Before Updating PHP
Use the most updated versions of everything related to a WordPress site before the PHP programming language is updated. This will prevent some elements of the site from failing because they are incompatible with the new language. Update WordPress itself, any plugins the site uses and the theme itself. Some people choose to backup their sites manually, but others rely on applications that provide automatic backups. Either option is fine as long as everything is saved correctly. Even after taking all these steps, certain elements of a site may stop working after a PHP update. If a certain site element was not updated by the creator to make it compatible with the new programming, that particular element will no longer function.
Problems that Arise After Hosting Service Updates
If a site has been operating with few problems, but is suddenly bombarded with glitches after a hosting update, the problems are likely related. Contacting the hosting company will often guide a user through the steps required to solve the problem. Because WordPress sites are so popular, each hosting service is usually hosting thousands of WordPress sites. This often means that the specific problem has already been reported by another user, and a solution has been created to address the issue. In the best case scenario, contacting the server will allow all problems to be address from the host’s end with no additional actions required by the webmaster.
Problems that Relate Specifically to Plugins
If the problem is not with the hosting company, but instead relates to a particular plugin, identifying the problem requires some extra steps. Solving it may require contact the author of the plugin itself. To determine if the error is in relation to one of the plugins being used, simply deactivate all of them and temporarily revert to using a default theme. If the site appears to be working correctly after doing that, the problem is likely with one of the plugins. Double check to be sure that the custom theme was updated to avoid taking unnecessary steps. If the problem is with a plugin that is not compatible with the new update, look to the creator of that particular plugin. If the individual is no longer supporting that plugin, he or she still may be able to devise a solution. If not, it will need to be replaced with a different plugin to get the same function.
Deciding to Switch Hosting Services
As a last resort, it may be necessary to change hosting services to get a website running properly again. This requires finding a recommended WordPress hosting provider, purchasing space on their servers and canceling the old service to avoid paying for two services at once. While this solution may be inconvenient, it is sometimes the only option if a hosting service is not providing good service or support. The inconvenience will likely eliminate such problems from occurring again in the future.
Using updated WordPress PHP provides a functional site that implements newer programming language and often improves the site itself. In the rare event that hosting problems arise during updates that are permanently affecting a site, taking these steps will either help solve the problem with that host, or lead to finding a host that handles updates more professionally. During updates, hosts do sometimes experience problems that are short-term and easily resolved. After updates, any problems that arise could result from either hosting errors, or outdated themes, plugins, and WordPress versions. Troubleshoot these problems systematically, keeping good records to help assess what strategies have already been implemented.