Upgrading WordPress to PHP7

Post written by Hudson Atwell
On Thursday, April 13th, 2017

PHP7 has been out for over a year now and everyone is saying it’s incredibly fast, showing in some circumstances a 64% improvement in application server speed.

I’ve decided that I’ve waited long enough and am going to migrate my WPEngine engine account to PHP7.

The first thing I am going to do is check my website’s PHP7 capabilities using this capability checking plugin provided by WPEngine.

PHP7 Compatibility Test

Install the compatibility check plugin!

Run the compatibility check!

It takes a while to run…

Fix Conflicts!

I had hoped for a perfect test result but it seems a few plugins require my attention. I know what you are thinking, “you’re a developer so addressing these things are possible to you, but very hard for me and I am not sure how to get past it”, and I want to go ahead and assure you that if you need help the people at codeable.io are more than willing to help you. But it wasn’t that hard. It turned out that most of my conflicts came from custom or unused code.

All clean!

Just for kicks and giggles let’s run a Pingdom website speed test before I do it to see what kind of scores we get.

Speed Test Before PHP 7

We have a 1.5 to 3 second cached page load time.   Our un-cached load times are about 3.5 to 4.5 seconds. I believe un-cached times will provide a truer performance rating. These are already good loading speeds. I will be impressed if PHP7 shaves any time. I’m also not sure how much I can trust Pingdom as an accurate measurement for PHP7 vs. PHP5 performance.

Now that I’ve passed the compatibility tests  I’ll head over to WPEngine chat and ask the nice representative to enable PHP 7.

PHP7 is installed!

It took about 2 hours to complete from the time I contacted WPEngine support. Now it’s on! And now that PHP7 is active I’ve cleared the cache and checked my Pingdom report and as expected the site speeds are about the same so I’m not going to post the updated screenshot. I’m sure the benefits are there in ways I can’t even imagine.

And that concludes my upgrade, for better or worse, I’m done. Hope this helps you do the same for your WordPress sites.

About the Author:
Cheers! Hudson Atwell is a co-founder and the current CEO of Inbound Now. You can follow him on his Twitter at @atwellpub or request him for work on Codeable.io. Thanks for reading!

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