WordPress 4 codenamed ‘Benny’, after big band leader Benny Goodman, is now available – but why should you care?
There are lot’s of good articles currently out discussing WP4, so I’m not going to cover its virtues, rather I’d like to discuss the value and benefits of upgrading your WordPress installation in general.
Having worked in the software industry since 1982, nothing is more wildly anticipated than new releases of software we rely on daily.
Going back through the decades, I can offer some really interesting examples:- MS-DOS 4.0, AT&T UNIX SystemVR4.2, Windows 3.11, Windows 95, SCO Open Server 5. What made these releases standout is that they offered significant departure from the past development branch, bringing not only a new set of possibilities to developers but a better experience for the end-user.
Why upgrade anything, ever?
Behind the scenes, software updates bring bug fixes, security improvements, better APIs, code enhancements, performance improvements and a multitude of other benefits. The old adage “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it” really doesn’t apply to software.
This is because software is ‘every evolving’ to keep pace with user requests, close security loop-holes, take advantage of improved hardware designs and deliver bug fixes.
But my websites not software!
Well, that couldn’t be further from the truth. A WordPress or similar implementation has many complex software components, even a simple index.html page relies on many software (and hardware) components, here are a few:
- Apache or IIS webserver
- Hosting provider platform (OS, etc)
- Internet service providers home modem/router – firmware
- PC operating system
- Web browser
- Browser plugins
- WordPress core files
- cPanel management tools
- SQL server
- WordPress plugins
Together, these components form a complex environment that serves web pages to users anywhere in the world.
Security, the best reason to upgrade
As I’ve outlined above, there are many reasons to keep software up to date but perhaps the most import reason is security! Sure, it’s nice to get some new features but if your platform is vulnerable to hackers, it will be useless. As soon as the hacker community gets wind of a vulnerability, they will find ways to exploit it. This can mean anything from loosing your website to having your website used as a launchpad for other attacks.
Get a professional to manage your updates
Updating software is a relatively simple process that can bring your site site down in a minute if not properly managed. This is because incompatibilities may exist between the software components. In the best case it may mean a plugin stops working, in the worst case your whole site will be broken.
The way to prevent this is to have a proper backup and restore strategy that will allow you to restore your website if something goes wrong during the update process.
The more up-to-date all the components of your website are, the less likely it is that you will encounter issues during an update – less likely but not impossible. Therefore keeping everything updated is not only smart but ensures a smoother update path.
If you would like to learn more about our website management and support services, please contact us 954-806-2188 [email protected]