How to Check PHP Version of Hosting from WordPress Dashboard

Most bloggers using a WordPress platform for their site do not know what PHP version they are using for their WordPress website. Frankly, they do not even know what PHP is. What relation does it have with their WordPress website? Why is it important to check and update it? In short, they are utterly oblivious to the whole concept of PHP.

That’s not a problem at all. One doesn’t need to be an expert on PHP to know how to check its version of hosting and update it accordingly. However, a basic understanding of PHP, such as its meaning, significance, and function, would better understand your WordPress site or blog.

What is PHP?

Websites run on code, and there are numerous coding languages. In earlier times, HTML used to be the primary language for creating websites and web pages. But in contemporary times, JavaScript and CSS have come to occupy that place.

However, their role is limited to only the loading and execution of programs.  Once they have done their job, a completely distinct programming language runs the nuances of the server. It is especially relevant when you are using a WordPress platform for your blog. The name of this programming language is PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor or only PHP. And it takes care of all the things you see in the back and front end of your WordPress website.

It is a free and non-proprietary scripting and programming language that is very popular and widely used. It is particularly notable for its depth, power, and ease. Its depth enables it to operate massive social networking sites like Facebook. It is so powerful that it is placed at the center of WordPress, the most prominent online blogging system. And its simplicity compels beginners to choose it as their first server-side programming language.

Before moving to understand the relationship between WordPress and PHP, you need to remember that PHP is a server-side scripting language. It implies that the machine in which it operates is responsible for processing it. Therefore, whatever be the issue with your site operations, it is your responsibility to deal with them.

Relations between PHP and WordPress

To put it in simple words, PHP is the language in which WordPress speaks. All of its features like themes, displays, plugins, etc. use this language. There is a reciprocal relationship between PHP and WordPress. One is incomplete without the other. Therefore, you need to make sure that your WordPress and PHP do not have any compatibility issues.  For that, you need to update your PHP hosting version along with your WordPress.

Generally, what happens is that one gives more attention to the version of their WordPress. They update it instinctively from time to time, either using cPanel settings or from the WordPress dashboard.  However, the PHP hosting version remains the same. It happens mainly because of three reasons:

  1. Ignorance to the role of PHP: Most of the bloggers do not know the function of PHP. You need to understand that the PHP acts as a mediator between your site and your site’s visitors. It collects the right information from your database and envelops it in CSS and HTML—following which it sends that information to your visitors’ browser in the form of a complete site.
  2. Stability issues: The newer PHP versions often consider the older functions obsolete and therefore circumvent their application. Consequently, it creates disturbances in some older plugins and themes.
  3. Updating issues: Unlike WordPress, PHP cannot update itself automatically. It will help if you do it manually through cPanel. Therefore, most of the time, it remains unchanged while WordPress gets updated.
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To make your WordPress website fast and secure, you must ensure that you are using the latest PHP. Therefore, you should immediately check the PHP version of your WordPress website.

How to find out your WordPress website’s PHP version?

To look into your PHP version, you need a plain plug & play plugin. It would give you the required information about your current PHP version. To download the plugin, you need to go to your WordPress dashboard and find the option “Version Info.” Install and activate the plugin.

 Once the activation process is complete, navigate to your WordPress dashboard. There you would find a widget that reads “At a Glance.” This widget exhibits the WordPress version you are using, and your PHP version appears right below it because of the plugin. You can also use this plugin to check your other web hosting.

If you don’t have the latest PHP version, your next step should be to update it immediately, especially when you contemplate a change of hosting. You should make sure that your PHP version is compatible with the new web hosting. The latest PHP version is PHP 7, and if you don’t have it, you must get it immediately. It would double your website’s loading speed and help your website to gain more visitors.

However, before updating your PHP version, you need to ascertain the compatibility between PHP 7 and your themes and plugins. Otherwise, there is a high chance of site breakdown. If you regularly update your themes and plugins, you don’t need to worry about compatibility issues. But you must ensure that you have a backup when you are planning to update your PHP version. It would allow you to get back to your original version in case of a site breakdown.