PHP 5.6 Server Update | HostGator Support
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PHP 5.6 Server Update

OH SNAP! This article has been deprecated because PHP 5.6 is no longer accurate.

No worries! We got you covered. Please check out the following articles about PHP and how you can update PHP in your hosting plan with HostGator!

In order to better serve our customers, HostGator is making an important upgrade to the default configuration on all of our shared servers.

The default version of PHP employed by our shared servers will be updated to PHP 5.6. This change will ensure a more secure and stable hosting environment going forward.

To help make this transition as smooth as possible, please log into your cPanel and test all of your sites using PHP 5.6 by following these steps:

  1. Login to your cPanel at
  2. Click on the "PHP Configuration" icon, which can be found under the "Advanced" group of icons in cPanel.
  3. From the drop-down of Available PHP handlers, please select "PHP 5.6" without changing the target directory from the current setting. It should be displaying / (Current Folder). Click on "Update"
  4. You should see a confirmation message that reads: The ".php" file extension will be processed by PHP 5.6 for this account. Clicking on the "Back to" button you should now notice that the dropdown should be listing PHP 5.6 as the active Handler
  5. At this point you will want to test your sites by opening in a browser and see if they load with any errors. If you do not notice any issues this means your sites are compatible with PHP 5.6 and you do not need to perform any further actions - simply leave the Handler set as it is, without any other changes.
  6. If on the other hand, you DO notice issues during your test with your sites while the PHP 5.6 Handler is enabled, simply reset it to use "PHP 5.2". This will set your account to specifically use that version of PHP once the PHP upgrade process is performed. These settings will be maintained once completed.
For additional instructions, please see the following guide:
PHP Configuration Plugin
1) Why are you making this change?

The default version of PHP that our servers are currently utilizing; PHP 5.2 ; has been deprecated for some time. As such, we would like to see your sites enjoying the security and performance benefits of the newer versions of PHP which we already have available on your server.

2) How can I make sure my sites will work?

While we are taking every step possible to try and automatically assign the right version to all of your scripts, we do want to ask you to please login into your cPanel and test all of your sites as described above. Again, our system will remember and respect the results of your manual test!

3) Will my site experience any down time?

The switch between PHP versions is simply a configuration change in your .htaccess file(s.) PHP 5.6 is already installed on our servers, and there is no maintenance which must be performed on the server itself that would cause any service outages. Applications that are not compatible with PHP 5.6 will fail to load properly once the change is performed. Again, while we will make every effort to automatically check compatibility for each account and set the appropriate version of PHP for you, please do perform the compatibility test from your end as well (using the steps listed above) before this change is made.

4) Who can help me update my site/script to use a newer version of PHP?

While we can assist you with changing the version of PHP your script utilizes, we will not be able to recode your site to be compatible with newer versions of PHP. You should contact the script's author/developer to inquire as to whether or not they currently have or plan to re-design their code to utilize later versions of PHP.

5) What software and versions are you testing for compatibility?

Our scan will test for compatibility with the following programs:

  • WordPress (versions 3.0 and above)
  • Joomla (2.5 and above)
  • Drupal (7 and above)

Any accounts that contain scripts for the above programs which fail our check will be set to use PHP 5.2.

6) What if I already have a customized configuration for PHP for one of these programs?

The conversion process also will not modify accounts that already have a handler directive in their .htaccess in their home directory.

7) What if I am using a program other than those three listed?

Any other scripts, for any other programs, will automatically be set to use PHP 5.2.

We expect no issues with this update. However, we cannot guarantee compatibility with third-party addons for these programs (themes, plugins etc.) and again we urge you to test your sites using the method above before this update is made.

8) What if I am on a VPS or Dedicated server?

Your options will be determined by the operating system installed on your server:

  • CentOS 6 and Newer:
    If you are on a VPS or Dedicated server using CentOS 6 or higher, you can contact support and we can install PHP 5.6 as your default version.
  • CentOS 5 and Earlier:
    If you are using CentOS 5 or earlier, your server can only use up to PHP 5.5 as your default version. PHP 5.6 may be installed side-by-side with your current version of PHP, which will need to be activated with htaccess code. Optionally, you may order a new server, which will be provisioned with a more up to date version of CentOS, then migrate your content to the new server.
    Note: In August 2017 cPanel will no longer allow any server with CentOS 5 to receive patches of any kind or install a new version of cPanel. Migrating to a server with an updated OS from CentOS 5 is highly recommended.

As always, if you have any questions or need assistance with this, please contact us.