What is PHP on My WordPress Site and Why Would I Be Billed For It?

PHP is programming that is customarily included as a free feature on a shared hosting account. If you have a WordPress website you should be aware it and how it may effect the cost of your site.

What is PHP?

PHP is a programming language that is used for WordPress websites, WordPress plugins, and for functions like contact forms on some websites that don’t use WordPress. PHP is installed by your hosting company on your server and the PHP code on your website uses this programming to create pages, blog posts, run contact forms, and more!

Why a PHP upgrade?

PHP is upgraded periodically by its developers, just like Windows and other programs are upgraded. The version available on most hosting accounts at this time is 7.2. When WordPress updates and plugin updates are made somtimes the updates include code that relies on a newer version of PHP, so it’s important to have an up to-date version of PHP software on the server.

How is PHP updated on the server?

The easiest and therefore the preferred way to update PHP on the server is to login to your hosting account and select to use a newer version of PHP.

However…

Some hosting companies are now “monetizing” PHP. Here are two examples.

The first PHP tale involved a client’s website that slowed down to a snail’s pace. A check of the hosting account revealed that it was operating with a very old version of PHP. However, we could not easily update the PHP. The hosting company required the website be moved to a new server that had the newer version of PHP installed. This move was expensive and time consuming because the new server was more expensive and there was a charge to move the site.

The next upgrade issue was a real slick maneuver that just doesn’t feel right to the client (or me). A client received a letter from their hosting company. It said the client would be assessed an additional $8.71 per year for their failure to upgrade to a newer version of PHP. So the client called and the PHP was updated however the additional billing was still in place. It eventually took my intervention to get the charges removed. Frankly, I’ve never seen any other hosting company that initiates an upgrade at the client’s expense if not requested by the client.

Design to Spec doesn’t sell hosting. Because we’re not aligned with any one company we know how many of the hosting providers work and can make sound recommendations on their plans and customer service. Ask us.