How to fix the “Your PHP installation appears to be missing the MySQL extension which is required by WordPress” error
Published on July 20, 2023 by Simon Wright
In your journey as a WordPress website owner or developer, you might encounter the dreaded missing MySQL error message: “Your PHP installation appears to be missing the MySQL extension which is required by WordPress.”
Although seeing such a technical-looking alert may seem intimidating or even alarming, there’s no need to worry because today, we’ll guide you through the causes and solutions to this issue.
What is the Missing MySQL Extension Error Message?
Basically, the missing MySQL extension error indicates a hiccup exists in the communication between WordPress and its MySQL database, where all the data for your website is stored. A problem within your PHP (a widely used scripting language for web development) installation is often the primary cause of the disruption.
The root cause of this issue often stems from the absence of a crucial component in your PHP setup: the MySQL extension. This extension allows PHP to connect with the MySQL database, enabling seamless interaction between WordPress and the database.
When the MySQL extension is missing, not correctly configured, or corrupted, the communication channel between WordPress and the MySQL database becomes compromised. As a result, WordPress encounters difficulties in executing database queries, retrieving or storing information, and performing other essential functions that rely on access to the MySQL database.
What Triggers the Missing MySQL Extension Error?
To sensibly look at the solutions, it’s crucial to consider the potential causes behind this error – doing so will help fix the problem and prevent future recurrences. Here are the most common reasons for the error:
1. Deprecated MySQL Extension in Modern PHP Versions
If you’re running an older WordPress version on a server with a modern PHP version (7.0 or above), you’ll likely encounter the missing MySQL extension error at some point. This is because, with PHP 7.0 and onwards, the MySQL extension was deprecated and replaced with more advanced MySQLi extensions and PDO_MySQL. As a result, WordPress may fail to find the MySQL extension it needs.
2. Missing or Misconfigured MySQL Extension in Older PHP Versions
Alternatively, if your PHP is version 5.6 or lower, a missing or misconfigured MySQL extension might be what’s causing the error. This could prevent WordPress from establishing a connection with the required extension.
The version of PHP running on your server will determine how this issue gets resolved. If you use version 7.0 or above, you will need to switch to the MySQLi extension or PDO_MySQL to fix the problem. However, if you are on an older PHP version, verify its configuration settings to ensure the MySQL extension is correctly installed and configured.
Additionally, you may need to manually install the missing MySQL extension if it is not already on your server.
How is the Missing MySQL Extension Error Fixed?
Now that you understand the causative factors of the missing MySQL extension error, it’s time to explore the solutions. Follow these steps to breathe life back into your WordPress site:
1. Verify the PHP Version You’re Using
The first step is to identify the PHP version your WordPress server operates on, as this will determine the subsequent actions you must take.
You can find the version of PHP running on your WordPress server by using File Transfer Protocol (FTP) to establish a connection. Next, go to your website’s root directory. From there, create a new file named phpinfo.php – this should be in the same directory that houses your wp-config.php file. Edit the new file and insert the following code snippet:
Now, navigate to yoursite.com/phpinfo.php, remembering to use your actual domain name in place of yoursite.com. This will display information about your server’s PHP configuration. Look out for the PHP Version field, and take note of the ensuing figures.
2. Update WordPress Core Software
If your server utilizes PHP 7.0 or later, the error could be due to outdated WordPress software.
Updating WordPress to the latest version will not only fix the missing MySQL extension error but also introduce new features, security patches, and performance enhancements.
WordPress features an automatic update facility that gives you single-click updates – a notification will appear in the admin dashboard whenever a newer version is available: simply click the “Please update now” link or go to the “Updates” section to install it. Follow the on-screen instructions, and WordPress will handle the update automatically.
If the automatic update doesn’t work for any reason, you can perform a manual update as follows:
a) Back up your website:
Before manually updating the core WordPress software, it is advisable to back up your site first in case of any more catastrophic issues occurring.
b) Download the latest version of WordPress:
Go to the downloads section of the official WordPress website to obtain a free copy of the latest version of the software.
c) Extract the ZIP file
Double-click the downloaded zip file to extract the WordPress files and folders. Once extracted, if present in the extracted files and folders, delete the following before proceeding further:
Failure to do so could result in overwriting your site’s configuration and other essential data.
c) Upload the files to your site
Connect to your website using FTP or a file manager provided by your hosting provider. Next, replace all files and folders in the root directory of your WordPress installation with the newly extracted ones (except for those listed in b) above.) When that is complete, your WordPress installation will be the latest version.
Regularly updating WordPress is important for security, bug fixes, and accessing new features. Moreover, you should also regularly update your theme and plugins to avoid conflicts and other issues.
3. Check the Status of the MySQL Extension
Next, check whether the MySQL extension is installed and correctly configured: refer to the phpinfo.php file you created earlier to do this. Look for a section named either mysql or mysqli. If the MySQL extension is present, you should see a version number next to Client API library version. The MySQL extension is probably absent if you can’t find this entry. In such cases, reach out to your hosting provider and request them to install it for you.
3. Ensure Proper Configuration of the PHP Extension
When encountering the error message and your server is running PHP 5.6 or a lower version with the MySQL extension already installed, the cause of the error might be an improper configuration of the extension. This misconfiguration can occur when a php.ini file intended for Windows servers is mistakenly uploaded to a Linux server or vice versa, resulting in incorrect file paths and settings.
To address this issue, you must verify and correct the configuration of the PHP extension. Here are the steps you can follow:
a) Locate the php.ini file:
In the output from the phpinfo.php you created earlier, search for “Loaded Configuration File,” which will display the path to your php.ini file.
b) Back up your php.ini file:
Before changing the php.ini file, create a backup of it. Doing so will allow you to revert to the original configuration if needed.
c) Modify the php.ini file:
Using a text editor, open the php.ini file, look for any references to the MySQL extension configuration, and ensure that the settings correspond to your server environment.
d) Adjust file paths and settings:
Pay special attention to file paths specified in the php.ini file. For example, if you uploaded a php.ini file from a different server type, such as Windows to Linux or vice versa, then the paths might be incorrect. Therefore, ensure the file paths in the php.ini file align with your server’s file system, and if not, edit them accordingly.
e) Save the changes and restart the web server:
Once you have made any necessary corrections to the php.ini file, save the changes and restart your web server to put them into effect.
f) Test the WordPress and MySQL connection:
After the web server restarts, perform tests to ensure that the communication between WordPress and the MySQL database functions correctly. Check whether the error message has gone and if WordPress can access and interact with the database as intended.
If deleting the php.ini file resolves the issue, it indicates that the file was misconfigured, and its removal allowed PHP to revert to default settings. In this case, you should recreate the php.ini file or use a default one specific to your server environment.
Remember to refer to WordPress and PHP technical documentation or consult with experienced professionals if you encounter any challenges while modifying the php.ini file or resolving the configuration issue.
The error message “Your PHP installation appears to be missing the MySQL extension which is required by WordPress” might initially seem daunting. However, understanding the issue and taking the steps outlined in this article can quickly resolve it.
By ensuring you’re using the latest versions of PHP and WordPress, you can prevent this error and enjoy enhanced site performance, reliability, and security. Furthermore, keeping your WordPress theme and plugins up-to-date is also essential: this will help ensure your site is secure, running optimally, and avoid conflicts.
Finally, check your server configuration regularly to ensure it meets WordPress’ minimum requirements. And remember, if you are unsure of what you are doing at any stage of the process, prevent making matters worse by seeking guidance from the WordPress support team, a professional web developer, or your hosting provider. In that respect, WP Bolt provides top-class 24/7 support for all its VPS (virtual private server) hosting packages. Click here for more details.
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