How to upgrade PHP version and increase server limits

On a very few hosts, like GoDaddy, Hostgator or 1&1 basic plan, you can experience issues as Demo Content import failure, empty page content, skin not being saved, incomplete page rendering, etc. All these problems are caused by the fact that the base host plan of these hosts doesn’t meet the minimum Server Requirements to work with a modern WordPress theme. For example, the Memory Limit of these hosts is too low, approximately 40MB. In the official WordPress documentation, it is suggested to use at least 256MB, even though 128MB is sufficient to run our themes smoothly.

How to increase the limits

Most of the problems are caused by the WP Memory Limit. The WP Memory Limit is the maximum amount of memory (RAM) that your site can use at one time. When you reach your Memory Limit, you’ll encounter a fatal error. Several things consume memory, such as WordPress itself, the theme you’re using, and the plugins installed on your site. Basically, the more content and features you add to your site, the bigger your memory limit has to be.

You can increase/set any PHP parameter with GoDaddy create a new file named php.ini (if you already have php.ini edit the file) and add this line to that file. Wait a few minutes to take effect:

max_execution_time = 120
memory_limit = 128M
post_max_size = 64M
upload_max_filesize = 64M
max_input_time = 60
max_input_vars = 3000

Note that this takes action if your hosting plan permits to increase values, please note that sometimes the host limit you and even if you update these values the modification does not take action. They are very strict with their memory limit and one of the few hosts that have such a low limit which causes this problem. In case please contact GoDaddy to increase the PHP memory limit.

If you are using a different hosting provider, please search in google of how to increase server limit in your specific provider, and an official documentation article should appear.

Changing your PHP version

Consider using PHP 7, PHP 7.2 offers a significant improvement to speed and memory usage over past versions of PHP, it also comes with better error handling and many bug fixes. PHP 5.3, 5.4 and 5.5 have reached the end of their life cycle and shouldn’t be used at all. PHP 5.6 will reach end of active support by the end of this year as well. While those versions should not be used, we do support them and they will work with our themes. However, since they have reached the end of their life, issues that may arise can only be fixed to a certain extent.

Here are the documentation links that will guide you how to change PHP version in some popular hosting providers from their Control Panel (cPanel):

Verify Your Current PHP Limits

You can verify your PHP configuration limits on your themes by just going to your WordPress dashboard > Your Theme Name > Demo Import.

Alternative method: You can also check your PHP configuration limits them by installing the FastDev plugin and then going to WordPress dashboard > Fastdev > and choose PHP tab to compare your server info (see example). The first column (Local) refers to your installation value, and the second column (Master) refers to the limits of your host. The latter values are often lower if you have selected a cheaper hosting package.

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