Support » Fixing WordPress » PHP 5.4 Update Breaks My Website

  • Recently BlueHost updated its PHP from 5.2 to 5.4 and all of a sudden 6 of my 10 WordPress based websites went down (white screen). The tech support told me that he will temporarily downgrade the PHP on my account back to 5.2, which fixed the problem.

    But unfortunately they said in a few weeks everyone has to be running on 5.4.

    My question is “What needs to be done on my end to ensure the WordPress websites continue running once we are upgraded to PHP 5.4 (or 5.5)?”

    Any help will greatly be appreciated!

Viewing 14 replies - 1 through 14 (of 14 total)
  • Moderator t-p


    Actually the system requirements for 3.7 is PHP version 5.2.4 or higher.

    So its unlikely php 5.4 is causing the issue. There may be something else going on with your server.



    Forum Moderator

    Are the plugins and themes you are using fairly current?

    I noticed the theme that is having this issues is called Modernize, purchased last year. All websites that use Modernize have been HEAVILY customized, so I am hoping for an easier fix, than trying to update six websites and possibly losing all customization.

    Any ideas if updating a certain PHP file, etc. may do the trick?

    I contacted the Modernize author, and he said he doesn’t understand why the theme wouldn’t work on 5.4 or higher. 🙁

    And yes, all sites have been updated with most up to date plugins and most up to date WordPress build.



    Forum Moderator

    So all of the sites with problems are using the same theme? Have you tried switching those sites to a default theme to test if it’s the theme?

    I’m actually waiting till about 1:00 am so the clients don’t notice! 🙂

    If it is the theme, would there be a single file or two that is responsible for this, versus swapping out the whole theme and losing all the customization?

    Moderator t-p


    If it is the theme, would there be a single file or two that is responsible

    It’s hard to tell off the bat.
    If it turns out to be your current theme, you can try replacing one file at a time untill you find the one that is reponsible.

    losing all the customization?

    You may want to consider creating a child theme, that way you will never loose your customization.

    I’ve moved a few sites to PHP 5.4 on BlueHost, and the only issue I ran into was plugins using PHP call-time pass-by-reference, which was deprecated in PHP 5.3 and removed in PHP 5.4.

    The easiest way to track this down is testing your site in PHP 5.4 locally or a test machine and setting WP_DEBUG to true. PHP 5.4 will not effect WordPress itself in anyway, but any plugins/themes using call time pass by reference will cause a fatal error.

    Great thanks! Being a super novice, how and where do I go to find this setting?

    I would strongly suggest checking your server error logs before making any updates. I use JustHost for my WordPress sites and was greeted recently by the “white screen of death”.

    By looking at the server error log I was quickly able to identify the Plugin that was breaking my site, and disable it.

    Hi, I’m new to this support forum and not sure if it’s okay to add onto a thread in progress. My hosting company, Dreamhost, also just upgraded to php 5.4 and suddenly I can’t get to the wordpress admin screen. I get :

    Warning: Cannot modify header information – headers already sent by (output started at /home/centraltest/ in /home/centraltest/ on line 1173

    My website also has some links that produce the same error, and my calendar (using Ajax plugin) is no longer showing my entries. I am a novice at any coding outside of the wordpress admin panel. I was going to disable the calendar plugin, but don’t know how to get into the admin screen without going through wp-admin, or wp-login.php. Any advice would truly be appreciated.

    Moderator t-p



    Hi, I’m new to this support forum and not sure if it’s okay to add onto a thread in progress

    to get full attention to your specific issue, my suggestion would be to start your own thread. Despite any similarity in symptoms, your issue is likely to be completely different because of possible differences in physical servers, accounts, hosts, plugins, theme, configurations, etc. Thus one problem, on one setup is not indicative of the functionality and reliability of an application as a whole. To get the best attention to your specific issue as you deserve, please review how and where to post in this forum:

    Thanks, Tara, for your guidance. Will definitely post to new thread.

    Moderator t-p


    @cimperial, you are welcome 🙂

Viewing 14 replies - 1 through 14 (of 14 total)
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