Your WordPress is up-to-date, but how about the PHP database?

For those of us that work in WordPress, we are familiar with the notifications and prompts to update plugins, themes, our WordPress engine, and those working in Genesis platform, that too. BUT, what we don’t always do is consider how long our site has been hosted on the existing server. Anything more than two years, there’s a chance your version of PHP is outdated, which means your database is falling behind, too.  As of this post update (3/1/19), PHP 7.3 just came out. You should be running at minimum 7.1 on your site, ideally 7.3.  Getting behind can make your site vulnerable and increases conflicts with newer versions of themes and plugins. It may cause your site to crash or depreciate over time.

This is a good time to check your backups, too. Where are you backing up and how often? If your database is too far behind, you may not be able to restore any backups. You also may not be able to easily transition to a more sophisticated hosting environment – the two databases may not communicate clearly to each other causing a ton of things to break in the transition.

Your to do list:

  1. Visit your site admin and check that all items are current.
  2. Do not click “update” unless you have a back up that you can restore to.
  3. iI prompted to do big updates, such as WordPress engine or Genesis platform/core, TRULY make sure you have a back up.
  4. Contact your hosting company or webmaster to ask them to verify what version of PHP you are running.
  5. If you are behind more than 6.8, find out what it will take and the risks to update to current stable version (7.3 as of this post).
  6. If your hosting company cannot do this, you may have to switch to a different server or a different provider.
  7. After you are updated, test all forms and types of posts to make sure they still work, especially contact forms.
  8. Verify your backups are scheduled to run and NOT store on the same server as your website – because if your site gets hacked, chances are – so will your backup.