How important is PHP7 to wordpress?

I had the Bluehost website transfer team move our sites over from godaddy. They are up, but still on PHP 5.6. They say the site won't work on 7.0, but they can't say why.

What's the status of Php 5.6? Is it going the way of the dinosaur? Is this going to be a problem down the road? Thanks.
mel200Asked:
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Scott Fell, EE MVEDeveloper & EE ModeratorCommented:
They support it https://my.bluehost.com/hosting/help/447 

Our servers support PHP 5.4, PHP 5.6, and PHP 7.0.

Consider using PHP 7, PHP 7 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.

Before making the switch, you need to be aware of backwards compatibility issues with scripts: Older PHP coding may not be compatible with newer versions of PHP.

You may want to check if there is something on your site such as a plug in that will not support php 7
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mel200Author Commented:
The website transfer team was no help. They said, "Unfortunately the reasons for this not functioning are not always clear. I tried as much as I could to make the site compatible to run on our servers on version 7.0 but was unsuccessful. The sites are able to function on 5.4-5.6 but not higher than that.

This could be caused by any plugin or plugins. It could be a theme or a theme that has not been updated. It could be specific files themselves that are not allowing the site itself to not function properly on that version. It could be the way your site has been built, but unfortunately there are no errors that are specifically pertaining to this issue."
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Scott Fell, EE MVEDeveloper & EE ModeratorCommented:
Can you list the plugins you are using and what version?

Including if you are using a builder app like WP bakery.
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David FavorLinux/LXD/WordPress/Hosting SavantCommented:
1) I had the Bluehost website transfer team move our sites over from godaddy.

You're a serious Thrillseeker to use BlueHost after EIG acquired them. You can read about how EIG... how can I say this diplomatically... How EIG... manages brands they acquire...

2) They are up, but still on PHP 5.6. They say the site won't work on 7.0, but they can't say why.

Anyone who told me this, I'd fire on the spot.

PHP-5.6 reaches EOL (End of Life) in a year, after that there will be no security patches + your site will then become hackable, at some point after EOL reached.

3) I host 100s of high traffic, high speed, WordPress sites.

I'm moving them all to PHP-7.2 right now.

Minor problems show up as Fatal errors in the WordPress debug log or better, use...

https://github.com/wimg/PHPCompatibility to quickly determine problems migrating from one PHP version to another, which will be produced as a report with file names + line numbers to be fixed, including (many times) the actual fix.

The phpcs tool finds + reports problems.

The phpcbf tool auto-fixes many problems.

Some problems must be fixed by hand.

4) Status of PHP-5.6 - No development for last 6-12 months (I'd have to check to be sure). Only security fixes for 2018. EOL Jan 2019.

All your WordPress development should be done on PHP-7.2 at this point.

At least all code I'm delivering to clients uses a PHP-7.2 dev environment + passes all phpcs testing.
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David FavorLinux/LXD/WordPress/Hosting SavantCommented:
Also, one last rant. Anyone who tells you, "Your code won't work PHP versions above 5.6, but I can't tell you why."

Seriously, I'd fire these people instantly.

If I said this to any of my clients, they'd fire me instantly.

Never guess about incompatibilities. Always use phpcs + know the exact answer to this question.
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mel200Author Commented:
I am loving the rants! I always went with Bluehost and had good success, this explains why they are not as good as they were. Plugins are attached. We're using Divi theme(stand by for another rant, but the client insisted), and we're on the most current version of everything.
plugins.txt
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David FavorLinux/LXD/WordPress/Hosting SavantCommented:
Yes. BlueHost + HostGator both use to have stellar support. In fact, better support than expensive services like RackSpace.

Then...

EIG bought both companies + support circled the drain.

The only way to truly test compatibility is to use phpcs, as mentioned above.

I install this by default for all my clients. It's a must have tool. WordPress + many other PHP systems now integrate phpcs in their nightly build system, so minor incompatibilities are caught instantly + fixed.

My suggestion, if your budget supports, move to true managed hosting.

You know you have the right company when you ask for a phpcs report + they can easily produce one for you.
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Scott Fell, EE MVEDeveloper & EE ModeratorCommented:
On your list, go through each one and look it up on the WP codex site. For instance, you have 2 MailChimp plug ins and one is https://wordpress.org/plugins/goalwp/ which was last updated 3 years ago. It is possible that is the culprit.  I have noticed in the past where MailChimp seems to replace plug ins instead of upgrading.

It's hard to diagnose without having the site.

For what it worth, about 7 years ago I switched my hosting to https://www.liquidweb.com/ and have been very happy because of their support. They have always gone above and beyond.  They have a WP managed division now https://www.liquidweb.com/products/managed-wordpress/ but I have been happy with the updates plesk has evolved with managing WP and use them for my dedicated server.
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mel200Author Commented:
Thanks! I think I'll have them switch over to php 7.0, then rename the plugin folders one by one until I find the issue. I wish I could go somewhere else, but we spent quite a bit on this cross-over, and I think the CEO would self-destruct if I suggested another change. :)

I did have them switch over a few days ago, and we got this error saying that files couldn't be found, but the files were there on the server. I guess that will be the first thing we go for.

Thanks to everyone, you've all been a great help!
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mel200Author Commented:
I'm going to leave this open for a bit, but will close by tomorrow. Thanks again.
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mel200Author Commented:
Thanks for your help. I am still wrestling with Bluehost. I have the site on PHP 7.0, and am getting file not found errors, which they insist is because the php change is still propagating, which should take an hour. It's been two hours... and around we go. I may be coming back for another question here.
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