Over 50% of WP Sites Will Become Less Secure by the End of the Year
WordPress websites are written in a computer language called PHP. It is estimated that more than 57% of these sites use PHP version 5.6 or version 7.0, and security updates for these versions will end at the end of this year. This means that these websites afterward will become less secure.
Having a WordPress site with either of these PHP versions could leave your site exposed to vulnerabilities. Not only could this create security nightmares, but it also could lead to a loss of both search ranking and traffic.
When Exactly Is Support Ending and Why
Support for PHP 7.0 will end on December 3, 2018, and support for PHP 5.6 will end on December 31, 2018.
It is not uncommon for popular software to get regularly updated with new features and performance enhancements. Each version has what is called an End of Life. When a version reaches its End of Life, it is no longer updated, with the expectation that users will have moved on to the latest version of the software.
Why You Should Update Your Version of PHP
If a security vulnerability in these two versions of PHP is discovered after the end of the year, no patches will be released, regardless of how critical the vulnerability may be. Also, it is possible that plugins and themes could in the future stop working with these PHP versions. WordPress itself could stop working with them.
Therefore, it is imperative for those who own WordPress sites to update their versions of PHP if they are currently using either of these two versions.
How To Find Out What Version of PHP You Are Running
There are two easy ways to discover what version of PHP your WordPress site is running. You can go to your hosting control panel and click the link for PHP information, or you can install a small WordPress plugin called phpinfo(), which runs the PHP function of the same name.
How To Upgrade Your PHP Version
Before upgrading your PHP software, first backup your site. The plugin UpDraftPlus is an excellent choice for this task.
Then, make sure all your plugins have been updated to the newest version and are compatible with the latest version of PHP, which is 7.2. You can check compatibility by visiting the plugin's website. If you have a plugin that is not compatible with PHP 7.2, you should replace it with a similar plugin that is compatible.
Finally, you can update your PHP software through your hosting control panel. If you have any problems, you can ask for support from your hosting provider.
How Security Vulnerabilities and SEO Are Related
If your website is hacked, this can dramatically affect your search engine rankings. This is why, to maintain good SEO, you must have secure software.
The Kortes Group is an SEO company that has been helping companies get found on the Internet since 2011. Contact them today to find out how they can help yours get found, too.