Do PHP Updates Affect Your WordPress Website?

24 Apr

An exciting development took place at the O’Reilly Fluent Conference in San Francisco this past week. The O’Reilly Fluent Conference features popular front-end web development platforms including Javascript, HTML5, CSS3, Angular, PHP, and more. PHP creator Rasmus Lerdorf was present at this week’s conference and made waves with an announcement of a new PHP version.

The new PHP version 7 was announced by Lerdorf with a first release tabbed for June with a full release in late 2015, estimated to be in October. PHP is a growing language with an increasing fan and user base. PHP is also the foundation from which the popular blogging and website CMS WordPress is built.

With a big jump in PHP version, many may wonder how updates to the version of PHP will affect their WordPress website or blog. We’ll breakdown some things to keep an eye on once the new version of PHP is rolled out later this year.

WordPress Backend

Wordpress as a whole is built on PHP, however, WordPress on its own is not usually affected by new versions. In fact, because PHP and WordPress are both open-source updates to each usually coincide with one another. When a new PHP version is updated, WordPress updates to a new version to support the change. Of course, a WordPress update may not be all you need..


You need to make sure your host is running a current PHP version before upgrading your WordPress version. If your host is still running PHP5, it’s best to hold off on upgrading your WordPress version until your host notifies you of updates to PHP on its servers.


Many developers of WordPress plugin developers keep their plugin updated along with new versions of PHP and WordPress. However, if you have some older plugins that may have ceased development or are no longer updated, they could be a burden on your WordPress site or even cause it to go down completely. While this is rare, you should go through your plugins to make sure each is compatible with your current WordPress version or are currently being updated and developed.


Like plugins, WordPress themes are often kept updated with latest versions of WordPress, PHP, CSS, and other front-end languages. It’s a good idea to either update your theme, if possible, or make sure it is current as of the latest WordPress versions. Any theme that is 2-3 years old, or more, and hasn’t been updated in a while may be at risk with new versions of WordPress and/or PHP. Of course, if you want to make sure your theme is always compatible and up to date, you could develop your own.

What To Expect?

New PHP versions shouldn’t be rolled out for several months, especially until the”official” release in Q4 2015. When the first release comes out this summer it may be a good idea to test the new PHP version with your WordPress installation, themes, plugins, etc. If you’re not sure how to do this you can contact your hosting provider for more details, or refer to the WordPress Codex when the new PHP version 7 is available.