On September 25th, 2019, the University Blog Service will be unavailable between 9:00AM to 10:00AM while stewards perform maintenance tasks. What this change encompasses is upgrading the main server software underlying each and every site on the service, PHP.
PHP is one of the oldest and most established programming languages for web development. WordPress is developed in PHP which dynamically generates everyone’s website on the service.
Why Are We Upgrading to PHP 7?
There are a number of reasons for this change. There has been many improvements over the current version of PHP (5.6) that have been implemented specifically for WordPress. We’ve reached a point where we can benefit from these improvements and stability that has gone into development of both the programming language and WordPress. WordPress has become more aggressive in the recommended versions of PHP that hosts should be running as well. Finally, the current version of PHP (5.6) will no longer be supported by our operating system vendor, Red Hat Linux.
What Should I Expect After This Change?
There is a wide range of potential issues you may encounter. You may notice different behavior or text on your page that sound like warnings or errors. Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org for support if you should have any questions or concerns.
With that said, please review your website prior to September 25th at 9:00AM to be more familiarized with it and after 10:00AM. This will help track down any bugs that were introduced.
For the last month, we’ve made the final build of this change available in the Quality Assurance environment ( off-campus access available via VPN only ). We’ve had a handful of bug reports during that time period and none have been related to the underlying update. At this point, we have a high level of confidence that this transition will occur without issue.