You have a WordPress website and recently updated your hosting server language from PHP 7.4 to PHP 8.0 because your hosting company notified you to do so. Or in some cases, your hosting company may have automatically updated your web hosting server language to PHP 8.0.
However, the result of this update may have presented you with a serious problem…your website is no longer works correctly.
In web design and development, we refer to this scenario as an update that “breaks” your website.
Why did updating to PHP 8.0 break your website?
The short answer is incompatibility. That is, your WordPress theme and/or plugins may not be compatible with the latest version of PHP, which is a scripting language. That is because there may be some “functions” that have been “deprecated” in the newer version of PHP. What that means is that certain functions (code) is no longer supported (i.e. is now incompatible with) the latest version of PHP. As such, your website may no longer work correctly.
Does this Mean that My Web Designer Did a Bad Job Coding My Website?
Generally, we would say no. When a competent web developer codes a website, he or she would generally use code that is supported by the current version of PHP.
As time goes on, older versions of PHP are replaced by new versions of PHP. And as noted earlier, the newer versions of PHP may no longer support older functions (code) written for an older version of PHP which was the standard at that time. Thus, that would not be a mistake or incompetence on the part of the web developer. Rather it is a normal occurrence as technology advances.
Thus, as newer versions of PHP become available, web developers many need to update their older code so that it is compatible with the latest version of PHP. Such would be the case with PHP 8.0 as well. Website owners must realize that updating website code to be compatible with a newer version of PHP can be a very labor intensive endeavor for which some web developers may charge for their time.
What about WordPress Plugins?
Plugins are generally a great benefit derived from using the WordPress platform because they can extend the functionality of a WordPress website in a wide range of ways. That said, because WordPress plugins are developed by different developers from around the world, there can be a lack of consistency in how the code behind those plugins are written. Therefore, it is not uncommon for a plugin to conflict with the latest version of PHP. Not all developers will respond as quickly to fix any bugs or PHP incompatibility issues. And that can be problematic for a website owner.
What Can I do if my WordPress Plugin is not compatible with PHP 8.0 (or the latest version)?
First, you can check to see if you have the latest version of the plugin in question. If so, you can reach out to the plugin developer support to ask if and when an update to address the incompatibility issue with PHP 8.0 is expected to be released.
Or you can disable the incompatible plugin and find an alternative plugin that works correctly with PHP 8.0.
How can you determine whether your WordPress plugins are compatible with PHP 8?
First, check the plugin “details”. If you cannot find any helpful information there, then you can visit the plugin developer’s website and look there or contact their support team.