Moving to PHP 7.4 and Discontinuing Some Old Versions

A large part of our service involves keeping server-side and client-side software up to date, secure and fast. One of the key elements of our server stack that requires expert maintenance is the PHP programming language, which is a prerequisite for the functioning of the majority of the websites. PHP is an extremely popular and well-supported language and, as any software, its development involves the continuous release of new versions. New versions introduce new features and important performance and security enhancements. As a managed hosting service provider we keep track of how each PHP version evolves, especially how fast it is adopted by the leading application developers, and we make proactive efforts to make sure our customers get all the benefits of the newer versions as soon as possible. Here is our latest PHP maintenance update.

Moving to PHP 7.4 as the server default

As of June 2021, we will be switching the default version on our servers to PHP 7.4. This means that all new sites will be using 7.4, unless manually switched to a different one. PHP 7.4 has been around for more than 2 years now and has already become widely compatible with different CMS’s, themes and plugins, where PHP 7.3 (our current default) is already out of active support and will get out of security support too by the end of this year. Keeping your PHP version up to date has undeniable performance and security advantages and that is why we are now helping you switch to PHP 7.4.

All websites using our Managed PHP service will also be upgraded to 7.4 in the period June 10-21, 2021. PHP 7.3 will still be available on our servers and can be set up manually for any site by our clients from Site Tools > Dev > PHP Manager.

Discontinuing support for 7.2, 7.1, 7.0, 5.6 and lower at the end of the year

At the same time, the security support for all PHP versions below 7.3 has been officially over for quite some time, and given the exploits that leak out once in a while, we believe the risk of using them is growing higher. Additionally, the performance of websites using old PHP versions is considerably lower compared to sites using newer versions. That is why we are starting a process of discontinuation of PHP 7.2, 7.1, 7.0, 5.6 and lower on our servers. After June 21, 2021 we will be gradually updating the sites using old PHP versions to PHP 7.4. PHP versions below 7.3 will no longer be supported on our servers after December 31, 2021.

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What to do if you are using an old PHP version?

This PHP update will affect many websites on our platform. That is why we have started communicating the update one month ago and we strongly encourage you to evaluate the impact of upgrading to 7.4 on your site as soon as possible by using this tool:

your-domain.com/.well-known/sg-php-try-v74

To see if a site will work properly after the upgrade, please type the above URL using your own site domain in the browser and browse through the site, its subdomains (if any) and its admin area. If anything does not look or behave as expected, we highly recommend that you further investigate your site compatibility with PHP 7.4 and fix any issues before the update. If you have broken plugins or a theme, consider updating or replacing them. If that’s too hard, or the problem is elsewhere, contact your developers for assistance.

Note: By opening your website through the link above you will browse it using PHP 7.4. This change affects ONLY your current browser session. All other visitors will continue to access your site with its current PHP version. To stop the compatibility check browsing mode in your own browser, please close the browser and access your site again via its standard URL.

Magento special case: Sites using Magento 2.3.6 or lower are not compatible with PHP 7.4 That is why, if you have such a website, we strongly recommend you update it to 2.3.7 as soon as possible, so that it is compatible with PHP 7.4 and ready for the PHP upgrade.

We are aware that sites currently using PHP version 7.2 or lower may need longer time to fix possible incompatibilities with PHP 7.4. That is why, the owners of such sites were provided with a link for possible opt-out in the email about the update, sent over the past few days. By opting out through this link, clients confirm that they do not want us to update their site PHP version for them, but are aware that this version will nonetheless stop functioning after December 31, 2021.

For clients using PHP 7.3, we strongly recommend that they do not postpone their PHP update, but in case this is really needed they may simply switch to manual PHP version management, until their site is ready for PHP 7.4.

Looking forward to seeing more secure and much faster sites after the update!

author avatar
Daniel Kanchev

Enterprise Cloud Solutions Architect

My challenging job is closely related to all kinds of Free and Open-Source Software products (some of my favorites are WordPress, Joomla!, Magento, Varnish and Apache mod_security). As a Web security and performance freak I am always hyper focused on solving all kinds of issues and improving our services.

Comments ( 4 )

author avatar

Carl Kessler

Jun 08, 2021

How can I get the form to opt out of the upgrade from PHP 5.6?

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author avatar

Hristo Pandjarov Siteground Team

Jun 09, 2021

Please, contact our technical support team for additional assistance on that matter.

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author avatar

Heather

Jun 13, 2021

How do I know when my site will be updated? I only just realized it was set to manual so reset to managed?

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author avatar

Hristo Pandjarov Siteground Team

Jun 14, 2021

Either set it to managed or manualy up the version. If you decide to go manual, note that you will remain on that version until you change it again or we deprecate it (which will usually means years) so I would recommend opting in for the managed version.

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