WordPress and Toolset Increase PHP Requirement to PHP 7+

July 17, 2023

WordPress 6.3 will drop support for PHP 5.6 and raise the minimum supported version to PHP 7.0. To deliver even greater performance and stability, we’re doing the same for the next Toolset release.

More About the PHP Requirement Update

Set for August 8th, 2023, WordPress 6.3 adds new features and discontinues PHP 5.6 support, bringing up the requirement to PHP 7+.

In line with WordPress 6.3, the next release of Toolset’s suite of plugins will drop PHP 5.6 support. You can expect the new version of Toolset with the updated PHP requirements around the same time as WordPress 6.3.

Here’s why the move from PHP 5.6 to PHP 7 matters:

  • Superior performance – PHP 7 and later versions supercharge your website with faster loading times and improved efficiency.
  • Better website security – Upgrading to PHP 7+ helps guard against potential vulnerabilities.
  • Optimized memory management – Newer versions of PHP provide optimized memory usage. This translates to your website running more smoothly, even when handling complex tasks.

How This PHP Update Affects You

Already running on PHP 7 or newer? You’re good to go and don’t need to do anything!

For websites still operating on PHP 5.6, we strongly recommend you update to PHP 7 or a newer version as soon as possible. 

Not Sure What PHP Version You’re Running or How to Upgrade?

You can check what PHP version you’re running using the Site Health feature in WordPress. From your WordPress admin area, navigate to Tools → Site Health, and click on the Info tab. Under the Server section, you will find your current PHP version. 

Checking your PHP version using the WordPress Site Health tool

If you need to upgrade your PHP version, how you do it depends on who you host with. We recommend you reach out to them, as most web hosts are more than happy to upgrade your WordPress PHP version for you.

Some hosting providers offer a straightforward method to upgrade your PHP version directly from your hosting control panel.

Here’s an example of how you can do this using cPanel’s MultiPHP Manager page:

Changing the PHP version using cPanel

What Happens If You Can’t Upgrade

We understand that you may not be able to update your PHP version immediately.

 If that’s the case for your site, you can continue using WordPress 6.2.2 and Toolset 1.6.7. Both versions are highly stable and fully compatible with PHP 5.6.

We Want to Hear From You

Moving from PHP 5.6 to PHP 7+ in both WordPress 6.3 and the upcoming version of Toolset aims to boost your website’s performance, security, and efficiency.

We’d love to hear your thoughts. Which PHP version is your site running on? Feel free to share in the comments section below!


Comments 3 Responses

  1. In an ideal world, all the websites I manage would operate on the most recent stable version of PHP. However, due to compatibility issues with some plugins, themes, or even WordPress core at times (it is getting better), upgrading to PHP 8+ is often not feasible. Moreover, the WordPress Coding Standards (WPCS) project, which is primarily maintained by a very small team, is currently not fully compatible with PHP 8, further complicating the situation.

    It’s puzzling why WordPress, which has demonstrated its willingness to break backward compatibility for security reasons (recall the disruption caused by the ShortCodes update in version 4.2.3?), seems hesitant to address the pressing issue of outdated PHP versions. All PHP versions below 8.0, and soon 8.0 itself, have reached their “End of Life” (EOL). So, why not take a bold step, break some backward compatibility, and enforce the use of modern PHP versions? Why not invest more resources into the WPCS project to ensure PHP 8+ compatibility, thereby facilitating developers worldwide?

    This conundrum is shared by many of my clients as well.
    Current statistics indicate that around 50% of all tracked WordPress sites run on PHP 7.4, just under 30% on PHP 8 or above, and the remainder on versions lower than 7.4.
    The fact that most sites are running on some version of PHP 7.x suggests that users are indeed willing to keep their PHP versions updated, likely due to encouragement from their hosting providers – but not “willing enough” :rofl:

    If WordPress were to take a more decisive stance on PHP version requirements, I believe we would see a shift in these statistics. While it’s true that “if it works, it’s great,” we must also consider whether it’s the right approach for the long term.

    Admittedly, the relatively rapid development of PHP can create additional work in keeping code up-to-date. However, one must question whether this is truly more labor-intensive than maintaining compatibility across nearly a decade’s worth of PHP versions. It’s a complex issue that warrants thoughtful consideration and decisive action.

    ( These ARE my thoughts. but – they are enhanced with GPT rephrasing 😛 )

    • Hi Beda,

      Thanks for insights! WordPress, with its wide user base, is striving to balance the need for modern, secure, and performant code with the need for backwards compatibility and user-friendliness. It’s an issue where a multitude of factors at play, like you already mentioned – compatibility with plugins and themes, user capability, and of course, the resources required from developers worldwide. As you said, it’s a complex issue that definitely warrants some thought, but it’s great to see WordPress users like you contributing to this important discussion.