How Do I Update PHP In Bluehost?

Authored By: James LePage
Published On: July 10, 2020

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In this article, we're going to be discussing how to update PHP in Bluehost.

Many Bluehost users don't know how to update their PHP, making this a very popular question that we see on Facebook and Reddit all the time. We've created this article to walk you through, step-by-step (and with screenshots), the process of updating PHP on this web host.

Luckily, it's a fairly simple and easy thing to do and should only take you a couple of minutes.

Why Update PHP?

First, we wanted to quickly discuss why updating PHP is a great idea on Bluehost. PHP is being continually improved and with every version release, it becomes quicker and more secure. Because PHP is the underlying engine of WordPress, it's important to have the most up-to-date version.

The Definitive PHP 5.6, 7.0, 7.1, 7.2, 7.3, and 7.4 Benchmarks (2020)

Here's a graph that shows you the difference between PHP version 5.6 and PHP version 7.4. the higher the bar, the better. as you can see, with each version release of PHP, the speed (requests per second) increases rapidly.

Additionally, many plugins and modern versions of WordPress won't work with older versions of PHP. That's why it's important to keep PHP updated in Bluehost.

Unfortunately, we've come to realize that Bluehost doesn't automatically update your PHP. That means that you're going to have to manually go in and switch your version every time a new one is released. However, that's very easy to do, and we're going to show you that in the next section of this guide:

Update PHP in Bluehost

Log into your Bluehost to dashboard and click on the advanced tab.

update PHP in Bluehost step 1

This will load the Bluehost version of the cPanel dashboard. Here, you can access all types of advanced settings. In the search bar, look up “MultiPHP Manager”. This is the tool that we're going to use to manage and update PHP for our Bluehost websites.

multi php manager to update PHP in Bluehost

This tool is purpose designed to help you manage the PHP versions on both a server wide level, as well as in individual websites. It's very simple and easy to use, and is a core feature of cPanel (cPanel is the industry standard website hosting dashboard that Bluehost comes with. Most shared hosting providers use this).

Once you've loaded MultiPHP manager in Bluehost, it's time to change the PHP version.

There are multiple routes you can take to updating PHP in Bluehost. You can do it for all websites in your Bluehost installation, or you can do it by domain. Let's show you how to do each of them.

Should you update the System Default PHP?

update PHP in Bluehost interface

This is the general screen that Bluehost displays for the multi PHP manager. As you can see the system default PHP version for us is currently 7.2. When this article was published, the most up-to-date version of PHP was 7.4.

By default, all domains associated with your Bluehost account will inherit the system PHP version. Typically, this is automatically set to be a version of PHP that isn't the most recent. They do this to ensure that nothing breaks on your websites.

You can manually change the system default version of PHP, but we would recommend against doing this. that's because you could break some websites , and it requires you going into the server backend and adding specific files. This isn't doable through the cPanel dashboard.

Instead, you should use the method outlined below.

Update PHP for a domain on Bluehost

Updating PHP for a specific domain on Bluehost is easy. First, identify the domain that you want to update PHP for. you'll be able to see the current version that is running. In this example, all domains are currently running 7.3.

Once you've found the domain that you want to update PHP for on Bluehost, selected by clicking the checkbox on the left of the table.

You can check off as many domains as you want, and even bulk update every domain listed in Bluehost in one go.

Once the domain is checked off, select the PHP version that you want to update to using the dropdown in the upper right hand corner of the screen.

(Unfortunately, in this example Bluehost doesn't offer the most recent release of PHP, which is 7.4. This is one of the many reasons we don't like Bluehost as a webhost: https://isotropic.co/better-bluehost-alternatives-2020/)

Once you've selected your PHP version that you want to update your Bluehost website to, simply click the blue apply button.

It will take a few seconds and up date the version of PHP for the specific domain and then give you a confirmation notice:

If you see the success confirmation, congratulations you have updated Bluehost on your website.

Conclusion

If you notice, the most up-to-date version of PHP is 7.4, yet Bluehost doesn't have the option to update to this. This is one of the reasons we don't like them as a webhost (other reasons include extremely slow hosting and terrible pricing plans for customers). We recommend taking a look at Cloudways.

https://isotropic.co/bluehost-vs-cloudways-in-2020/

This article should have showed you how to update PHP on Bluehost. Ensuring that PHP is the most recent version Will result in a faster loading WordPress website, better compatibility with new plugins, and increased security. If you have any questions about how to do this, feel free to reach out in the comments section.

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James LePage is the founder of Isotropic Design, a digital agency that builds WordPress websites. I read, write and design constantly!

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