PHP has had a rather weird history of version updates and the timing surrounding them. You can see a timetable of version release dates and their subsequent active and security support here with the graph below

In addition to the rather confusing naming convention of going from 5.6 to 7.0, you'll probably notice that PHP 5.6 had a much longer "life" than other versions. The move from PHP 5.6 to PHP 7 introduced many breaking changes to existing code and a lot of updates were needed to software and plugins written in PHP to support the new codebase. Because of this PHP extended their support for quite a long time and while new versions of have been released all the way up to 7.2, PHP 5.6 has still received security updates. That will change at the end of the year when PHP 5.6 is EOL (End of Life) and will no longer be updated.

As a web host it's important for us to provide both modern tech infrastructure, but also compatibility with a wide range of software and services. While much of the web is now working with PHP 7 it's still not a guarantee for older sites that may rely on plugins that no longer get updates from the developer. One excellent development in recent years that we implemented in cPanel is the ability to switch PHP versions, you no longer had to use the version supplied on the server, rather you could keep an older version of PHP. However cPanel has for many years defaulted to PHP 5.6 and while we have moved the default version on some servers it's time that we provided a consistent experience.

On December 15th we will be switching all Reclaim Hosting servers to PHP 7.0 as the default version. It is advised that if you are currently running on PHP 5.6 that you test your sites in advance to ensure compatibility. For WordPress there is a great plugin provided by the folks at WP Engine https://wordpress.org/plugins/php-compatibility-checker/. We have a guide on how to switch between PHP versions at https://community.reclaimhosting.com/t/changing-your-php-version/1619. If you wish to maintain version 5.6 after December 15th, make sure to switch your version from inherit (which basically means inherit the server default) to ea-php56 and that will keep your site on 5.6. We intend to continue providing PHP 5.6 as an option for at least 1 more year to aid in this transition, but it is recommended that when at all possible, sites should be updated to be compatible with a minimum of PHP 7.0.

Speaking of PHP selectors, in the past Reclaim Hosting made use of a plugin to accomplish this task appropriately named in the control panel as "Select PHP Version". However cPanel natively supports this functionality now with their MultiPHP Manager as well as custom php.ini configurations using the MultiPHP INI Editor. Thus we will be deprecating and removing the Select PHP plugin to avoid confusion on where to go for such edits.

If you have previously made use of the Select PHP version you will want to switch it back to Inherit and then make any necessary adjustments in the MultiPHP Manager and MultiPHP INI Editor. Otherwise your account will be reverted to the server defaults including PHP 7.0 on December 15th.

We strongly believe this is the right move from both a security and performance standpoint and wanted to communicate that with enough notice as well as schedule this for a time that hopefully provides the least amount of disruption for our community. If you have any questions regarding this, please don't hesitate to open a support ticket with us and we'll gladly assist.