Spiral Hosting Blog

A Little PHP 7.4 Upgrade (December 2021)

Published by on December 3rd, 2021

Spiral Hosting are committed to providing the latest software on our web servers for optimum performance and security. Part of this job is our technicians maintaining multiple different PHP versions that we offer. Every PHP version has its own lifespan: a beta version, a stable launch, lots of minor updates and security patches, and finally decommissioning.

From time to time we set a new native PHP across our servers. The native PHP is the default version, which will be used if you / your web developer has not already selected a specific version. In your cPanel hosting control panel you can choose these PHP versions: 7.0, 7.1, 7.2, 7.3, 7.4 and 8.0

Today we are announcing a date & time when the native PHP will switch to 7.4 and we’re also announcing PHP 8.1 early beta for developers who are keen to get their teeth into the latest release!
If you are a website owner, please inform your IT person / web developer of this information.

Important upgrade dates

– Shared/Reseller Hosting – FRIDAY 17 DECEMBER 2021 @ 6 am (06:00)
– Enterprise Hosting – THURSDAY 16 DECEMBER 2021 @ 6 pm (18:00)
– Cloud/VPS Servers – We will review your server & email you.

Please note we offer 8 global hosting locations. The upgrade will take place at the scheduled time in the timezone of the hosting location. For example enterprise hosting servers will be upgraded in Chicago at 6pm CST, in Dublin at 6pm GMT, in Singapore at 6pm SGT. The hosting location is chosen when placing an order. If you don’t know your hosting location, please check the last invoice you received for your hosting plan. You can also check with our support team on live chat.

Hold on, what’s PHP again?
PHP is a server-side scripting language designed for web development but also used as a general-purpose programming language. PHP is used by the vast majority of web sites hosted by Spiral Hosting.

If your website uses old software (more than a year or two since the last update), it may not be compatible with PHP 7.4. You should always use the latest up-to-date website software for performance and security.

What’s a little upgrade?
In 2019 we had the “Big PHP Upgrade” when we switched from PHP 5.6 to PHP 7. This was because there were major differences between the two PHP versions and it was an elephant-sized task for some web developers. (the PHP logo is an elephant 🐘)
This time we’re calling it “The Little Upgrade” because the changes are unlikely to have any impact on the vast majority of websites. It’s more of a baby-elephant-sized upgrade!
Nevertheless, please do check with your IT person / web developer! Every website is different and website software, themes & plugins may require their own unique changes to continue to function.

Please follow our 5 steps!
(1) Advise your IT person / web developer of the PHP upgrade. Make sure the person responsible for maintaining your website is aware of the upgrade date & time (listed above).

The native/default PHP version will change from PHP 7.3 to 7.4 at the scheduled time.
Your website software should ideally be compatible with PHP 7.4 but remember you can choose other PHP versions in your cPanel control panel. If you have not chosen a specific version, your hosting account will use the native/default version.

(2) If a specific PHP version is required, find time before the upgrade to login to your cPanel control panel, select the specific PHP version, then test your website and make sure it’s working normally.
To select a specific PHP version, please follow our guide here:
https://secure.spiralhosting.com/knowledgebase/158/Manage-PHP-settings-for-your-cPanel-hosting-account.html

(3) After the scheduled upgrade date & time, you should take time to thoroughly check your website(s) and make sure everything is working normally (especially any contact forms and checkout/order pages).

If you encounter a problem, please follow our troubleshooting steps here:
https://secure.spiralhosting.com/knowledgebase/187/Troubleshooting-a-broken-website-after-switching-PHP-version.html

(4) Extra technicians will be on shift throughout the upgrade period to assist with any issues. Our phone lines will be closed to allow our team to prioritise fixing any issues reported by support ticket and live chat as fast as possible.

This is part of our on-going update schedule where we maintain multiple different PHP versions throughout their lifespan. More information on PHP version lifespan can be found here: https://secure.spiralhosting.com/knowledgebase/186/PHP-Version-Lifespan-including-Launch-Date-and-End-of-Life.html

(5) Please note PHP 5.6 reached end-of-life in August 2021 and we no longer support it. PHP 7.0 end-of-life is in December 2021 but it will be 30 January 2022 when it’s actually decommissioned from our servers. If your website is using PHP 7.1 please plan an upgrade because it’s the next version that will reach end-of-life in December 2022.

As always, any questions, get in touch!

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