Yoast SEO 4.5 Update your PHP version

This is a rather special release, as it’s a project that’s close to my heart. It’s not a full-featured release, however, it is just necessary as a regular release. In Yoast SEO 4.5, we are urging site owners whose sites run on servers with an outdated version of PHP to update to a more recent version. To move the web forward, we need to take a stand against old, slow and unsafe software. Updating to PHP 7 will give your site an enormous speed boost. In this post, you’ll find out why we’re showing this notice in WordPress and what you can do to upgrade PHP.

Please read this post to get the complete picture of this move »

Why this move?

WordPress is built on PHP. This programming language takes care of the heavy lifting for the CMS. WordPress was always built with backward compatibility in mind, but we’ve reached a point where that’s just not feasible anymore. WordPress needs a minimum of PHP5.2 to function, but that version will not get updates, fixes or patches. This makes it inherently insecure. If you are on an old version, Yoast SEO 4.5 will show you a message in the backend. Please update to at least 5.6, but rather PHP 7 to take advantage of all the awesomeness of this new version. Not just for you as a user, but for developers as well.

The why is three-pronged: security, speed, and future-proofing. PHP 5.2 hasn’t been updated for years and has serious issues. PHP 7 is lightning fast, up to 400% faster than 5.2. You might even regard this as a green move; you can use 50% fewer servers to get the same results from PHP 7. Last but not least, developers can finally use all the modern technologies to bring WordPress to the next level.

We understand this move might be annoying for some, but it is necessary to speed up the development of the web and to bring it some must needed security. That being said, updating your PHP version is rather easy.

How can I update my PHP version?

How to update your PHP version depends on your host. Most hosts have an article on their site explaining how to update PHP yourself. Here’s the one from SiteGround, or WP Engine. Go to your hosts’ website to find out more on how to go about this. If you can’t find the information you need, please contact your web host. We have made an example email that you can edit and send to your hosting company.

Don’t forget to backup your site before doing any major changes!

And how do I choose a different hosting company?

It might be entirely possible that your host is not willing to work with you. Maybe you just don’t feel valued at your current host or it could be that their future plans don’t fit yours. If so, think about moving web hosts. A web host provides the engine your site runs on and that better be a damn good engine. To help you with your quest for a well-regarded and forward-thinking web host, we’ve compiled a list of hosting services that got the Yoast stamp of approval.

Read more: Whipping your hosting into shape »

Coming up next!

33 Responses to Yoast SEO 4.5: update your PHP version

  1. Brandon
    Brandon  • 7 years ago

    I have your PHP message on my main WordPress dashboard, and I cannot figure out how to remove it. There is no ‘x’ button to close it out, no “dismiss” link to make it go away … no nothing. Your PHP message is simply stuck there on my WP dashboard, pushing all of my useful information below the fold.

    How the hell do I make it go away?

    • Brandon
      Brandon  • 7 years ago

      Never mind. I just read Willemien’s previous response that says “You can only disable the notice by updating your PHP.” I’ve just deleted the Yoast SEO plugin and will find an alternative solution that does not force undeletable messages on me.

      You should seriously reconsider how you handle your messaging, going forward. I’ve tolerated your excessive messaging and incessant upgrade pitches in the past. This one was the straw that broke the camel’s back. No plugin is worth that.

      • Joost de Valk

        Hi Brandon,

        while I’m sorry you feel that way, you’re also fighting a losing battle here. We’re going to push this hard enough that WordPress will be able to update its minimum requirements. The software you’re using is incredibly old. You can decide to upgrade it to a more recent version (and get many a benefit, as discussed in the post above), or stick with the old version, but that probably will also mean being stuck with old versions of WordPres soon.

  2. John Wade
    John Wade  • 7 years ago

    I upgraded as per recommendation (to php 7.12) and my site was shut down. A Fatal Error message was generated (shown at end of post). Conflict appears to be with a plugin – Optimize Database (By Joost de Valk). I had to contact site host to go back to an older version. Click on the plugin link leads back here. Unsupported? Remove?

    . Fatal error: Uncaught Error: Call to undefined function eregi() in /home/wadeco5/public_html/askthedogguy.com/wp-content/plugins/optimize-db/optimize-db.php:76 Stack trace: #0 /home/wadeco5/public_html/askthedogguy.com/wp-settings.php(304): include_once() #1 /home/wadeco5/public_html/askthedogguy.com/wp-config.php(92): require_once(‘/home/wadeco5/p…’) #2 /home/wadeco5/public_html/askthedogguy.com/wp-load.php(37): require_once(‘/home/wadeco5/p…’) #3 /home/wadeco5/public_html/askthedogguy.com/wp-login.php(12): require(‘/home/wadeco5/p…’) #4 {main} thrown in /home/wadeco5/public_html/askthedogguy.com/wp-content/plugins/optimize-db/optimize-db.php on line 76

  3. Marquita Herald
    Marquita Herald  • 7 years ago

    I have to take a moment to thank you for this great update! I didn’t even realize my site was running on a seriously outdated PHP. I got your notice when I activated the latest update and then I ran a health check and was stunned to find out just out how dated it was. I contacted my hosting company – Blue Host – and they were awesome. They not only quickly confirmed the problem I took the example you provided and asked if they could update it for me – literally in seconds it was updated to PHP 7 and almost immediately I noticed my site loading faster. Thank you!!!

    • Joost
      Joost  • 7 years ago

      You’re welcome, Marquita. Great to hear Blue Host helped you out promptly!

  4. Yaroslav
    Yaroslav  • 7 years ago

    Is it possible to hide this message from WordPress dashboard?

  5. Bob
    Bob  • 7 years ago

    I would love to take advantage of the speed of PHP 7 soon. However, one of the roadblocks to upgrading to PHP 7 is not knowing whether or not PHP 7 will result in a broken site. Plugins may or may not have been tested (and fixed) for compatibility with PHP 7.

    To promote wider adoption of PHP 7, what do you think of the idea of adding a “Tested with PHP Version 7” required Yes/No field to plugin entries in the WordPress Plugin directory: https://wordpress.org/plugins-wp/ ?

    (or perhaps, instead, a required field “Tested with PHP Versions:” checkbox field, giving options: PHP 7.1, PHP 7.0, PHP 5.6, PHP 5.5, PHP 5.4)

    And enable the WordPress Plugin directory to filter the list of displayed plugins by PHP version – so one could select plugins that are PHP 7 compatible.

    Would that facilitate wider adoption of PHP 7 within the WordPress community (and, thereby, speed-up the websites that use PHP 7 technology)?

    Other ideas to promote PHP 7 adoption?

  6. Ronald Davis
    Ronald Davis  • 7 years ago

    Man I have loved having your articles with your great information to assist me with information regarding how to help me rank my web sites and get other information related

  7. Multimeta
    Multimeta  • 7 years ago

    For giving the information about of PHP update.

  8. Gagan Kamboj
    Gagan Kamboj  • 7 years ago

    what if i did not update it ?? will it cause any problem??

  9. Ken
    Ken  • 7 years ago

    Your list of hosting services does not contain Westhost, which you have warmly recommended several times in earlier posts. Does this mean they no longer have your stamp of approval?

    • Joost de Valk

      No, it mostly means we haven’t spoken to them in quite a while and they’re not on this list yet because of that. We’ve got a new process whereby we review hosts and run through a couple of different installs with them to see if all goes well, we’ve yet to do that with them.

    KARIE-ANN COOPER  • 7 years ago

    Love your plugin but this new update crashes my site theme (storefront). I had to restore my website. Hoping it’s just glitch. I’ve just updated to php 7 as per your instructions and everything else seems to work fine. I’ve left the update for now in the hope I can do it very soon.

    • Joost de Valk

      Hi Karie-Ann,

      sorry to hear that, do you have any error logs? If so, please open an issue on Github and we’ll have a look.

  11. Chris Gingrich
    Chris Gingrich  • 7 years ago

    Thanks for this Yoast!

    Installing 7.1.3 this week! Woot-woot!

  12. André Lobo
    André Lobo  • 7 years ago

    Hi, is there any way to check what is the php version and mysql version that wordpress is running in?

  13. Vishal
    Vishal  • 7 years ago

    Your latest updates kicking others seo tools day by day thanks for article huge fan

  14. pooja Chauhan
    pooja Chauhan  • 7 years ago

    Thats an amazing plugin. Thanks for introducing me to this.

    ANIL YADAV  • 7 years ago

    Thanks for sharing great article.

  16. Tobi
    Tobi  • 7 years ago

    I’m a huge fan of Yoast and I love that you’re going after this critical issue head-on like this; and in light of that I’m SHOCKED that of GoDaddy is one of your recommended hosts! After their long history of practices that prioritize profit over security and reliability, and their deceptive and predatory approach to doing business, how can you align yourself with them? How much did they pay you to do so? That single recommendation delegitimizes everything else you’ve said and recommended.

    • Joost de Valk

      Hey Tobi,

      I know that GoDaddy has not always been the best of hosts. Their former CEO going out and shooting elephants didn’t help things either. In recent years though, they’ve improved tons. So much that we really like working with them.

      They’re one of the largest hosts, if not the largest host, out there. I think PHP7 is available to all shared hosting customers, while PHP7 is not available on their managed hosting platform yet. PHP 5.6 is, and they’ve assured us they’re working on PHP7.

      In all: we really think they are a good host at their price point.

    • Chris Swanson
      Chris Swanson  • 7 years ago

      Hey, Tobi, I had somewhat the same reaction. I’ve not had the best WP experience with GoDaddy Shared Hosting. It seems a bit better than it used to be, but still nothing I’d recommend. Maybe their WP VPS hosting is better? I’m wondering if GoDaddy is leveraging their MediaTemplate resources since the acquisition.

  17. Jeff Andrews
    Jeff Andrews  • 7 years ago

    Any advice on which PHP version we should update to if we’re running on Microsoft IIS? Will PHP 7 run in IIS?

    • Joost de Valk

      PHP7 will run on IIS (and on Azure). I don’t know too much about it other than that Microsoft has been very visible and active in the community lately.

  18. Chris Swanson
    Chris Swanson  • 7 years ago

    I noticed your list of recommended hosting providers. Wasn’t Synthesis (websythesis.com) on that list before? What would Pagely offer that Synthesis doesn’t?

    • Chris Swanson
      Chris Swanson  • 7 years ago

      Ah, OK, Joost. Good to know. Maybe that should have been written in the article, eh? I chose Synthesis years ago (and am still with them) thanks to your recommending them. It was a very strong recommendation then. Still curious as to why they didn’t make this first quick list if they were so good before. Anyway, I know you probably have to be politically careful on these blog posts. But, if there’s something you know that I don’t, please share.

    • Joost de Valk

      A host that’s not on here is not immediately bad, just means that we haven’t gone through the process of adding them. We’ve got a new process whereby we review hosts and run through a couple of different installs with them to see if all goes well, we’ve yet to do that with them.

    • Yok
      Yok  • 7 years ago

      Lending voice to Chris’s question:

      Hey Yoast (and team):

      Thanks for the update but more for using influence to provide momentum to the movement to upgrade.

      I noticed you previously wrote a post in 2013 sharing why you switched to Synthesis, but in your list of hosts receiving the Yoast seal of approval, Synthesis is not mentioned.

      Since many of your clients and readers may host with Synthesis, could you share your thoughts in that regard?

  19. Aira Bongco @ BoostBlogger.com
    Aira Bongco @ BoostBlogger.com  • 7 years ago

    Woah! I didn’t know that I have to do this. Will the process depend on the type of hosting that you have? I am using Namecheap’s hosting.