The Importance of Software Updates

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Keep bugs at bay by updating software regularly
Keep bugs at bay by updating software

If you ever wondered whether you should bother with your website (or other) software application updates, the answer is “Yes – you should!” 

It’s important for a wide-range of reasons, mostly to ensure your application is safe and secure – and is benefiting from the latest included features and functionality.  Software tends to evolve and grow to embrace new features and because developers are human, invariably bugs and security holes can be missed during initial software development release cycles.

Developers also continually evaluate new threats from future bugs, vulnerabilities and exploits that are being discovered on a daily basis.  All of these changes are usually wrapped up and released in a new mini-version e.g. “Version 2.62 of our widget app is now available”!

Whilst keeping your software installation up to date is vital, it can however be beneficial to wait a week or two after a new update has been announced.  A common issue with software is the premature release of an update that’s not fully stable – often due to all the excitement around “getting it out there”.  By waiting a week or two, you can evaluate feedback from other users who are often eager to test it. Their discovery of any fresh issues can mean that the update is re-released with additional bug fixes or patches that missed the original launch. Without knowing it, your fellow users saved you from lost productivity!

WordPress Updates

Because WordPress is an open source project, it means that there are literally thousands of users evaluating the software’s performance on a daily basis. If and when a bug is identified, it is usually quickly fixed and added to the core product, ready to be rolled out in the next update release. The development team are also continually evaluating how to improve the feature set of the product and usually provide combined bug fix and feature enhancement updates around 2 – 4 times per year.

Yes, it’s “another thing to do” on your list, just like cleaning out your inbox, optimising your computer and the like – but it should not be ignored.  Fortunately, Purple Dog offers an efficient update service to take care of everything for you – it’s called Club Purple.  We backup your files and databases, perform the updates and then check to make sure everything is running as expected. Find out more about Club Purple here.

This is an in-expensive and quick service and is particularly suited to maintaining your WordPress website. We charge a flat fee for a standard update cycle for our existing WordPress clients – or you can choose an affordable annual plan – just get in touch to find out more.  You should experience no site down-time – although we do recommend putting the website into ‘maintenance mode’ for a short period during updates – this means your visitor will see a message saying something like “sorry, we’re temporarily offline for planned maintenance and will be back online shortly”).  If required, we can perform these updates outside of business hours for a small additional fee.

Some website owners prefer to manage updates themselves via the Content Management System and that is also fine. We do however, strongly recommend that you fully research the process of performing backups before you update (in case something goes wrong). If you feel uncomfortable with performing any of the update process described yourself, we recommend that you leave the job to Purple Dog as we are very experienced.

View our knowledgebase article here

Just get in touch to find out more.

 

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