Have you ever needed to update a WordPress plugin, and receive a message that you are unable to because your PHP version is not high enough? 

This happened to me recently when I needed to update LifterLMS, but this isn’t a LifterLMS issue. You could run into this with any plugin depending on that plugins requirements for PHP.

What is PHP?

PHP is a scripting language. WordPress, and many other web platforms, are built using PHP. If you look into your theme or plugin directories, you’ll see  files with a .php extension. These are PHP files.

Plugins and themes created in PHP are written to be dependent on specific versions of the scripting language. There are two scenarios where you might find issues between your plugin or theme and the version of PHP.

Plugin/Theme Requires a Higher Level of PHP

The easiest of the two situations is when your web host is not up-to-date with the version of PHP that is required for the plugin or theme. In this case, it is usually as simple as logging into the web host and updating the version of PHP.

Plugin/Theme Has Not Been Updated and Can’t Run on Latest Version

In some cases, if you’re using an outdated plugin or theme, functionality may break when you update PHP. In these cases, your options are to either stop using the broken product or have a developer fix the error and bring the plugin or theme up-to-date.

PHP is Updated at the Web Hosting Level

In order to update your version of PHP, you’ll need to access your control panel for your web host. If you’re not sure where this is located in your control panel, contact your host.

How to Update PHP if SiteGround is Your Web Host

Login to your SiteGround account.

Go to cPanel.

Scroll down to the section that says, 1H Software.

Screengrab of SiteGround Hosting cPanel 1H Software Section

Select PHP Version Manager.

This will open a listing of all directories in your configuration.

At the top you should see your top level directory which will show as  servername/public_html. 

Select where it says public_html and you’ll be taken to a screen showing your current level of PHP and allowing you to select the PHP version you want to update to and then press Save to complete the update.

Screengrab of the PHP Version Manager

IMPORTANT – test your site to make sure everything is working. If you have a lot of plugins on the site, there is always a chance that something will break and you’ll need to roll back to an older version.

To Roll Back, repeat the steps above and select a lower version of PHP.

NOTE: You’ll receive a message that you are not autoupdating and it will show the managed version. If you select Managed Version, you will be updated to that version number and automatically updated to the next managed version when the host updates.

In this case, we need a version higher than the managed version, so we are selecting the version required by our software and saving. You may also opt to try the latest version of PHP on your site.

Complete Transcript of the Video How to Upgrade PHP in Your SiteGround Web Hosting Account

00:00                            Hey everybody. It’s Kim Shivler. Welcome. Are you finding yourself needing to update your LifterLMS plugin because you keep everything up to date, but you’re getting this message, your update or this update doesn’t work with your version of PHP. The latest version of LifterLMS 3.32.0 Requires PHP 7.2 or higher. This is actually managed on your web host, not through WordPress. Here’s the good news. If you’re using SiteGround, it’s an easy change in your Cpanel. If you’re not check with your host, they may have the same simple setup within Cpanel or you may need to get support from them. If you have SiteGround, just come on over to your Cpanel. Scroll down to where it says one H software. Notice here, PHP version manager.

01:04                            Click on this. Now, if you click on this, it’s going to whatever directory you’re going to click on. It will set the PHP for that directory and the sub-directories. I’m going to go ahead and give it to all of the directories in my installation. I’m currently at 7.1 and I have a message letting me know that I am currently manually selecting and updating my PHP versions. They do have a managed setting where they will automatically keep it updated for me. For now, I’m not going to do that. What are the issues with updating PHP? Well, if you have a very robust site and a lot of different plugins, you have to make sure that all the plugins will work with the latest version. Sometimes things are deprecated or removed from our version and plugins have to catch up with that change. I happen to know right now that my site is okay to go ahead and update and it’s actually going to let me update all the way to PHP seven dot three dot five so I’m going to click on that. That’s the latest version. I’m going to click on save and it is now updated. If I go back now when I come back to my update plugins, notice I don’t get that message so I can go along with my updates and have everything ready to roll. I hope that helps you understand a little bit about PHP, what you’re going to need to do to get it updated. And of course, if you’re on SiteGround hosting, it’s just as easy as I’ve shown you. I’m Kim Shivler. I’ll see you next time. Bye.