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Error messages when updating the PHP version of your website

Take note: As of january 2019, PHP versions 5.6 and 7.0 will no longer receive updates, which make them unsafe to use. For that reason, we will no longer support PHP 5.6 and 7.0 starting October 8th 2018.

 

As a result, starting October 8th 2018, web hosting packages which are still using PHP versions 5.6 and 7.0 have been automatically updated to PHP 7.2.

If you make it a habit of regularly updating your website, the upgrade to a new PHP version should not cause any difficulties. However, it can happen that your website is not displayed correctly after changing the PHP version. You might see an 'Internal Server Error' or a white page when this happens. This means that a part of your website is outdated and uses a feature that is no longer usable with PHP 7.1 or 7.2.

In this article we show you how to get your WordPress and Joomla! website working like it should after updating to PHP 7.1 and 7.2. If you use a Magento website or a custom website you built yourself, we recommend consulting the online documentation for troubleshooting.


Update your website

When your website is unavailable when using PHP 7.1 or higher, we recommend updating your website and any installed plugins (WordPress). You should first try to log on to the Dashboard of your website. If the Dashboard is still available, you will be able to make the updates in here.

WordPress

If your WordPress Dashboard is unavailable as well, we recommend following the steps in the article 'Manually updating WordPress'. See if the WordPress Dashboard is available after the manual update. If that is the case, you can update your plugins via the Dashboard.

When updating your plugins doesn't solve the problem, check if your plugins are still supported by its makers. If the plugins are no longer supported, the may be deprecated and no longer usable with PHP 7.1 or higher.

In that case, search for alternative plugins which are still updated on a regular basis.

Is the WordPress Dashboard still unavailable after the manual update? One of your plugins may be causing more trouble than you bargained for. In that case, visit 'Check your Error Log' to view and fix any error messages present on your website. Visit 'Manually check your plugins' to see how to update your plugins using an alternative method.

Joomla!

Is your Dashboard unavailable? One of your extensions may be causing trouble. In that case, visit 'Check your Error Log'.


Check your Error Log

If updating your website and its plugins and extensions did not help, we recommend checking the Error Log in your control panel.

From here, head to the tab 'Domains & Hosting' at the top of the control panel. Next, select your domain name on the left hand side (don't tick the box). Next to 'Your website', click on the cog wheel, followed by 'Error Log'.

click on error log

You will now see an overview with errors present on your website. Take note that not all errors demand immediate attention. In this case you are looking for errors containing 'stderr'.

99% of the time, the 'stderr' error lets you know that your website or a part of it is incompatible with PHP 7.1 or higher.

error message with stderr

In the image shown above you can see that a part of the WordPress plugin WooCommerce is deprecated. This means that the specific part is outdated and requires an update. In this case you will not have to dig in the code of your website. An update of the plugin WooCommerce will suffice.

When there is no update present for the plugin or extension causing the problems, it may be required to edit the code of your website.

Take note that we do not offer direct support on configuring your website or its code. In this situation we recommend troubleshooting these error messages yourself or let a website builder do it for you. 

If no website builder is available, we may be able to give you advice. In that case, contact our support using the 'Contact' button in your control panel and send the error message you're having trouble with.


Manually check your plugins

In most cases, following the above-mentioned steps will be sufficient to get your WordPress or Joomla! website to work again. In some cases you may still see that your WordPress website isn't working, even though the Error Log doesn't show anything (useful). You will usually see a blank page if that's the case.

This means that one or more plugins are causing trouble. To troubleshoot this, we recommend logging on to your WordPress Dashboard and disabling all of your plugins. Next, enable the plugins one by one and check your website after each action.

If your WordPress Dashboard is not available, open 'SFTP filemanagement' in your control panel. From here, navigate to the 'www' folder, followed by the 'wp-content' folder and lastly the 'plugins' folder. Here you will find a list of your installed plugins.

Rename the folder of the plugin that is causing trouble, adding an underscore in front of the name of the plugin. Once you've done this, the plugin is disabled and you should be able to log on to your WordPress Dashboard once more.

Next, update the plugin via the Dashboard to see if this makes your website available again. If that is not the case, delete the plugin and search for an alternative plugin to use.

This can also apply to the theme that you're using. In that case, try disabling your theme and repeat the steps above.


Custom PHP website

It's possible you've built your own PHP website, in stead of using WordPress or Joomla!. In that case we cannot offer direct support on troubleshooting this website, but there are several PHP tutorials to help you getting your website running on PHP 7.1 and higher.

  • If your website was running on PHP 5.6 and you wish to go to PHP 7.1 or higher, you can use this article.
  • If your website was running on PHP 7.0 and you wish to go to PHP 7.1 or higher, you can use this article.

MCrypt

MCrypt is a module within PHP and was used by default up until PHP 7.0. As of PHP 7.1 this is no longer the case and some CMS's like Magento are not yet prepared for this. This means that these CMS's are not fully compatible with PHP 7.1 and higher. If you see that MCrypt isn't working properly on your CMS, we recommend using OpenSSL. OpenSSL offers the same functionality and is compatible with PHP 7.1 and higher.

Please note that we do not offer direct support on this. If you wish to configure OpenSSL or MCrypt, we recommend consulting the online documentation on these features.



This article showed how to enable your website to use PHP versions 7.1 and higher.

If you have any questions regarding this article, do not hesitate to contact our support team. You can reach them by using the 'Contact us' bottom at the bottom of this page.

If you wish to discuss this article with other users, feel free to leave a message below.

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