bhruska's picture

I've got four servers/sites running the wordpress appliance: 

TurnKey GNU/Linux 14.2 / Debian 8.11 Jessie

I was just preparing to rebuild them with the 15.3 version, with the idea that I'd get the latest PHP release, but I see it is not PHP 7.3, which wordpress is reporting as the "minimum" version.

I see some comments that there's a new "core" in the works, so perhaps I should wait to rebuild these systems.

Is there a timeframe on that upgrade?  






Jeremy Davis's picture

You heard correctly. Although it's running way behind schedule... I had hoped to have it released way before now...

Anyway, the v16.0 RC (release candidate) of Core should be available REALLY soon (sorry I can't decode that into specific number of days - but ASAP). Once that is available, then hopefully we'll get some user's testing it and reporting how it goes. With some confirmation that all is well, we hope to start providing other appliances from the library. We will be looking to produce them in batches.

LAMP will almost certainly be in the first batch, and quite possibly WordPress too.

And v16.x will include PHP 7.3. Although it's probably worth noting, that whilst v15.x includes PHP 7.0 (which is no longer maintained by PHP themselves), we install PHP from Debian and they will be providing backported security patches for PHP 7.0 for some time yet (at least until mid 2022 - if not longer).

So if you feel in need to urgently update, then moving to v15.x should still provide benefit over earlier releases. But if you can afford to wait a little, then v16.0 should be a superior option.

I hope that helps...

bhruska's picture


I'm told by my web people we are no longer able to update Wordpress plugins for a number of our sites because it does not have PHP 7.3.  We had a site completely crash when an update was accidently made.

Any update on your timeframe here?

I'm getting lots of static on this.




Jeremy Davis's picture

Apologies that things aren't moving as fast as any of us would like. I'd like to give you a little insight into what still lays in front of us here at TurnKey and some more thoughts on PHP, WordPress and plugin compatibility. I'll also note your options as I see them in the final section below. I wanted to provide the full depth of my understanding, as much for others who may be in your situation as for you. Please feel free to skip straight to that last section if you're in a rush...

Where we're at

Things haven't gone as fast as I would have liked. We're still probably at least a week or 2 out from a v16.0 WordPress appliance (possibly a little more if things don't go as smoothly as I anticipate). Things are definitely moving in the right direction though. Just yesterday I published a blog post announcing the release of Core v16.0rc1.

FYI, our next steps will be to ensure that all the other build targets (besides ISO) are building and working ok. Hopefully, things don't require too many significant changes and it all goes smoothly and quickly. During the time I'm working on that, hopefully lots of TurnKey users battle test Core (and TKLDev, and even assist with getting other appliances ready for publishing) to ensure that the basis of our new release is all good.

Once I have all the additional builds working, and have resolved any issues that may have cropped up from testing of the RC, then we'll move to publishing appliances. The plan will be to publish them in batches of around 10 (or more) at a time, as they're ready. As you might expect, Core and TKLDev will be in that first batch. I also intend to include LAMP and a number of our most popular LAMP based appliances, including WordPress in that first batch.

Round up of your current situation

So from what I understand, you are currently using a TurnKey v14.x appliance. That only provides PHP v5.6.40. Considering 5.6 has been EOL (end of life) upstream (i.e. the PHP developers) for over a year now, plus significant performance gains were introduced with PHP 7.0, I completely understand many WordPress plugin developers dropping support for that. Although it's perhaps worth noting that despite WordPress recommending PHP 7.3, the WordPress "requirements" page explicitly notes that the minimum requirement is PHP 5.6.20 (or higher). So if there is incompatibility with PHP 5.6, it's the plugins that you are using, not WordPress itself.

We haven't explicitly noted it in our previous discussions, but TurnKey v15.x provides PHP 7.0.33. Out of interest, I just did a quick random survey of a few popular WordPress plugins, and all the ones I checked support PHP 5.6+ (so implicitly also support 7.0). Although it was hardly scientific and as I noted above, I can understand plugin devs dropping support for older PHP. I'm sure that some smaller, less popular and less well resourced plugin providers have made the commercial decision to drop support for older EOL PHP versions (PHP upstream only support PHP v7.2+ currently). As something of an aside (and perhaps irrelevant to you), Debian 9/Stretch (the basis of TurnKey v15.x) will continue to provide backported security patches for PHP 7.0 (automatically installed by TurnKey's auto sec updates) until at least June 2022 and most likely well beyond.

So as I noted in my initial post in this thread, whilst v16.0 will be optimal, v15.x would still be of benefit. And depending on the specific plugins that you are using, might even be enough to meet your immediate needs (obviously this will depend on the individual plugins you are using). I guess if you are using plugins developed inhouse though, then that may be a different matter?!

Some more thoughts on compatibility

Personally, I'd be asking your web people for a comprehensive list of what minimum version of PHP each plugin actually needs. If I were you, I'd also be asking for confirmed max WordPress version compatibility of each plugin too. FWIW I noticed in my above (random and unscientific) check of popular WordPress plugins, that a couple weren't actually confirmed as working with the latest version of WordPress (they may still work ok, or perhaps not). So there's a (possibly slim, if your web people are onto it) chance that may also be a factor in your woes?

Bottom line is that it may well be the case that one or 2 (or perhaps more?) might actually require PHP 7.3. But it's quite possible that may only be a recommendation and 7.0 may be enough to meet minimum requirements (in which case moving to v15.x for now may be sufficient).

If you definitely need PHP 7.3 - Now!

If you definitely need PHP 7.3 right now and can't wait, then you could upgrade to v15.x and install PHP 7.3 - as per Jose's forum tutorial. The guy that provides the 3rd party PHP repo (Ondřej Surý) is one of the Debian (and Ubuntu) PHP package maintainers, so he knows his stuff and is trustworthy. The downside though, is that you'll no longer get automated security updates for PHP. Also, he doesn't guarantee support for a particular PHP version beyond upstream EOL (as Debian does) - although it sounds like that's unlikely to be a concern for you.

Another option would be to upgrade to v15.x and then do a Debian "in place" upgrade from the Debian 9/Stretch base to a Debian 10/Buster base (what v16.x will be based on). I can't 100% guarantee that will work smoothly and everything will be ok (although TBH, I would expect that it would). You could even do that from your current install, although you can't skip a release (i.e. you'd need to go 8/Jessie to 9/Stretch, then to 10/Buster).

Note that if you do take the "in place" upgrade path, you will have something of a hybrid. All the packages will be updated, but some tweaks made by us will be overwritten by changes as you upgrade. Other additional tweaks that we provide (at build time) you won't get. So whilst it will be close to v16.x, a system upgraded like that won't be exactly the same as a v16.x server.

Sorry that it was a bit long... Regardless, I hope that it helps.

bhruska's picture

I appreciate you laying out various other options.  By the time I would successfully upgrade all five of my machines with the "interim" fix, you'll probably be done with your work.  I certainly don't want to go through the upgrade hassles more than once, if I can avoid it. 

I'd also like to be on your standard VM, because of all that you guys do so well!  Upgrades, patches, etc.

So I think I'll just im-patiently wait....  I would think Wordpress is one of your more popular VMs, so my issues can't be mine alone.  Good luck, and keep us informed.

Thanks for all you do,



Mr Money Archer's picture

Thanks for the update. 


I guess i might go for the wait too.

bhruska's picture

Any update on this project?




Jeremy Davis's picture

Yeah it's so close I can almost taste it... Just a last few little pieces I need to get in place and I'll start publishing stable appliances. I hate to make promises when I don't control all the variables, but I'm really hoping to be start releasing this week...

FWIW I'm just finalising the webserver security config...

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