Reasons to know PHP version in WordPress
Satisfying your curiosity and getting to know the CMS (Content Management System) is cause enough. However, there are 2 important reasons for learning the version of PHP on your WordPress website:
Using the newest version of PHP has a drastically positive effect on your website speed, security, number of features, compatibility with WordPress themes, plugins, and scripts. Although WordPress can still run on older versions (5.X), you’re missing out on much if you don’t update to at least 7.X, and as of mid-2021, 8.X version of PHP.
When a disaster strikes or you run into conflicts between different parts of your website (say, an updated version of WordPress plugins, themes, or the CMS itself) knowing the version of PHP can help you narrow down the culprit. Additionally, if you request help from your hosting Customer Support, they’ll surely inquire about the iteration of PHP you’re using.
1. Know PHP version from WordPress Site Health
The fastest and simplest way of looking up the PHP version is to use the WordPress built-in section named Site Health. Here’s how that works:
- Access your WordPress Admin Dashboard.
- In the sidebar on the left-hand side, click on Tools.
- When it expands to the right, select Site Health.
- Switch to the Info tab.
- Scroll down and click on the section named Server so it expands.
- Find the row titled PHP version, and read the version number on the right.
2. Check your hosting control panel
If you’ve upgraded PHP to a newer version in the past or checked our guide linked above, you’re aware of this possibility. Here are 2 common examples of this method:
Head on over to your hosting’s website log in to the cPanel with your user account. Now, do this:
- Scroll down and find the Software section.
- Click on the Select PHP Version option.
- Tip. On some versions of cPanel, this is titled “Change” or “Choose” rather than “Select” or PHP Version Manager or MultiPHP Manager.
- You’ll now see a “Current PHP version” entry in the Extensions tab at the top, with the version number to the right.
- Note. Yours might be elsewhere. Our cPanel uses a common extension named “PHP Selector”.
It’s not unusual that a web hosting provider doesn’t use cPanel, but a proprietary or a heavily modified version e.g., BlueHost, Hostinger, and Kinsta. To give you an idea of how the procedure may look for you, knowing PHP version in WordPress hosted on Siteground works like this:
- After logging in, click on Websites in the top menu.
- Switch to the Websites tab if you aren’t there, then find yours under “My Website”.
- Click on Site Tools below its domain name.
- Click on Devs in the left sidebar, then select PHP Manager.
- Switch from Ultrafast PHP to Standard PHP under “PHP Setup”.
- You can now see the number below Current Version in the “PHP Version” tab.
3. Upload a PHP file to WordPress via FTP
This is a method we already covered in step 1 of learning to fix the “Your PHP installation appears to be missing the MySQL extension which is required by WordPress” error. As you can see, we glossed over method 1 mentioned in this guide to focus on the error itself – something we now fixed. With that said, this procedure requires a tad more work and editing your WordPress website files. That’s why we only recommend doing this if you get locked out of the WordPress Admin section, lose your cPanel account, or already have an account and access to WordPress FTP set up and ready to go.
4. Learn PHP version using a WordPress plugin
The three methods above vary in difficulty and work required. However, they have one thing in common – they don’t require help from external tools. But if you’re willing to sacrifice a sliver of your web server resources for user-friendliness and daily convenience, another option exists. As you might have guessed, it includes installing a WordPress plugin with this functionality. We have no affiliation with the following examples nor can we vouch they’ll stay updated. If you acknowledge that, here are 3 plugins that fulfill this same purpose in different ways:
1. Display PHP version
This plugin shows the presently active PHP version within the “At a Glance” widget. That’s the segment in the top left corner of the Dashboard menu in the Admin Section. The number will appear after this message: “WordPress <version number> running <theme name> theme.”
2. Version Info
Running multiple websites at a time or encountering problems frequently? Perhaps you keep forgetting to check the widget mentioned above? Version Info will create a narrow footer, visible across nearly all parts of the WordPress Admin Section, and show the PHP version in the bottom right corner.
3. PHP Compatibility Checker
Whether you plan to update PHP shortly or not, it’s not a bad idea to use PHP Compatibility Checker to ensure there are no conflicts between other active themes and plugins. As a bonus, you can inspect the presently installed PHP version within WordPress.