How to Update the PHP Version of a Server Hosting OpenCart

OpenCart is a PHP-based platform for building an E-Commerce store. The core of your site is built using this programming language and updating it should not be the last of your priorities.

In most cases, the PHP version is only manageable by your hosting provider, but there are web hosts with cPanel access that allow you to modify your own PHP configuration.

If you are running an OpenCart store, the minimum PHP system requirements for the platform are:

  • PHP 5.3+ for OpenCart 2.x
  • PHP 5.2+ for OpenCart 1.5.x

Important Note:

Popular SDKs like those of Facebook, Twitter, etc require PHP 5.4+, so social media integrations will need this to work with your store.

In reality, those versions are far from new but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Updating your version might be a good idea due to a few reasons.

Why You Might Need to Update Your PHP Version

Currently, the latest stable version of PHP is 7.1.1 (19 Jan 2017). Here are the most common reasons why you might gain from upgrading:

  • If you want to migrate from an older OpenCart version to a new one
  • In case OpenCart upgrades the minimum requirements
  • Newer extensions might conflict with older PHP versions
  • Possible security flaws get fixed in newer PHP versions

However, before you decide to make the upgrade, there are a few things you should know. There are situations where upgrading your PHP version might cause more problems than it solves.

What to Consider Before Updating Your PHP Version

If your current OpenCart store already has multiple extensions, modifications, themes and custom functionality, there might be complications if you update the PHP version without making sure that everything will still work.

If you don’t look into this and update to a version that is not compatible with your site’s modifications, this can partially or completely break your store.

To find out if your OpenCart store will continue working smoothly with your new PHP version, it’s always a good idea to backup your data and test the new version on a test server.

This way, you will not risk doing any damage to your real live store.

If everything is fine with the test server, you can go ahead with the real store.

In general, there should not be any problems with your OpenCart store and a new PHP version. So far, we have not encountered any issues caused by updating PHP versions.

How to Update Your PHP Version

Once you have decided that your OpenCart store is good to go with a newer PHP version, your option is to do it via cPanel. In case you don’t have this option, you need to contact your hosting provider to do the update for you.

Using cPanel to do the update takes just a few clicks. Login to your cPanel account and find the PHP Manager.

You will see the section with the PHP settings you can modify. Updating the version takes literally two clicks. Choose the desired version and click Change.

Conclusion

And that’s all. You will see a success message confirming the change is done and your work here is done. If, by any chance, a module or some modification appears to be making problems, you can contact the developers and ask them to improve the compatibility with the newer PHP versions.

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