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Some of you may have either noticed an “update” notification or received an email from your website hosting provider about a PHP version update and/or a WordPress version update. I’m here to give you the quick scoop on both and what they mean for you.
What are you talking about? PHP…WordPress? New versions?
If you own a website, chances are you’ve encountered PHP and WordPress before.
PHP is an open source scripting language used on websites, and WordPress is an open source content management system. Most of our clients’ websites use both, and they’re what we recommend using. Both are continually making updates to improve functionality and security, and typically these updates are smaller and don’t have much if any impact on the way your website looks or functions. Both, however, recently released large version updates—again for security and functionality reasons. The PHP 7.2 upgrade isn’t optional—hosting companies are forcing the upgrades over the next couple months. The WordPress 5 upgrade is optional but highly recommended as older versions are no longer going to be updated or supported from a security standpoint.
BUT it’s not as simple as just clicking the “upgrade now!” button you may see if you log in to the admin side of your website or hosting. Read: DO NOT click the upgrade button!
Why Upgrade? Hosting companies are requiring it and are automatically going to be upgrading over the next two months (the timing depends on the hosting company). The thing is, parts of your site may “break” with the new PHP version, so you really want to test the upgrade on a staging environment first, fix anything that breaks and then upgrade. If you’re not a client or aren’t hosting with us, let’s talk about getting your site upgraded to PHP 7.2.
Why the Upgrade? Why Now? The new version of WordPress contains a major change to its editor function, code-named Gutenberg. If you’ve ever been in the backend of a WordPress website, you know that if you had wanted to make big changes to the style, structure, or type of content on a page you’d have to involve web development team. With Gutenberg, it’s easier for website owners to customize a wide range of content in posts and pages with a block-based system. It’s ideal for less experienced website managers because it gives a lot of flexibility in creating a more customized layout.
WordPress 5 was first released in early December and after some rigorous testing, we now feel it is stable to recommend to help improve your website’s overall security, scalability and compatibility.
Even though the new update makes it easier to customize the content on each page, we still strongly recommend you work with a website development company like us to create and manage your website. There are a lot of moving parts that make a website what it is, and one wrong plugin or an older version of a widget can break your whole website.
Can I Avoid These Updates?
While your current site is fully functional today and will continue to be without updating to the newest version of WordPress, we highly recommend this update sooner than later to avoid any outdated or vulnerable code (the main reason WordPress sites can be hacked). We are in the process of updating our own website (bluecorona.com) right now, and feel it’s the right time for you to make sure you are not running an outdated framework that could be vulnerable in 2019.
Why Can’t I Just Click “Upgrade?”
Because if you just hit the “upgade” button certain design and/or functionality elements of your website may not be compatible and break—this applies to both the PHP and the WordPress upgrades. These are major upgrades and certain parts of your website may not be compatible. Instead, we want to test the upgrade on a staging server, fix anything that breaks on the staging server, and retest it there before actually pushing the upgrade live. That’s where Blue Corona can help.
Need Help Managing Your WordPress Website?
Our website managers LIVE for this stuff.
Since 2007, Blue Corona has specialized in creating and improving sales-driving websites. Our work has ranged from highly customized websites with all the bells and whistles down to simpler WordPress websites for small businesses. The best part? Our team will handle it all to give you a turnkey website:
- Hosting and coding
- Graphic design
- Advanced analytics tracking
- Optimization for SEO
- Existing content import
- New content creation
- Lead form creation and tracking
- Website compatibility across all browsers and devices
- Integration with social media pages
- XML sitemap creation and submission
- And more!
Learn more here, or give me a call at 888-380-7039!
About The Author: As the Director of Account Development, I oversee our above-and-beyond initiatives for our existing clients to help them make the most out of their growth potential. Outside of work, I love traveling and hiking, I'm working on my golf game, and love spending time with my husband, daughter, and friends.
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