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how & why you should update website software

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We explain everything you need to know about updating website software, focusing on WordPress and Drupal. If you have any questions or would like us to check whether your site is in need of updates, please get in touch and we’ll be happy to help.

what is updating software?

Website software – such as WordPress, Drupal and associated plugins and modules – needs regular updates to fix bugs, increase security, enhance and add features, and generally improve performance.

why should you update website software?

If you don’t update your site software, you’re facing the following risks:

  1. Compromised security – older software versions have vulnerabilities which can be exploited by hackers. For example, 83% of WordPress sites that are hacked don’t have updated software.
  2. Poor performance – new software is designed to overcome previous issues and improve key areas of site performance such as page speed and browser compatibility. Without updates, users may have a frustrating experience and exit your site before engaging.
  3. Missing out on new features – using old website software will mean you have access to fewer and less effective features with which to demonstrate your work and engage with customers.

how do you update website software?

If you have a WordPress site, updates are fairly simple. The system has in-built notifications, highlighting updates to both the main platform and plugins when you login to your dashboard.

To update website software, simply go to the ‘notifications’ area and click to install. Alternatively, if you don’t login to WordPress regularly, you can either turn on automatic updates (in ‘update options’ on your dashboard) or sign up for email updates with the WordPress Updates Notifier plugin.

For Drupal, things are a bit more complicated. Firstly, Drupal makes the distinction between minor updates (eg. from version 7.1 to version 7.2) and major upgrades (eg. from version 7 to version 8). It recommends that you always install the latest update for your version, but consider more carefully if and when to upgrade to the next major version, as not all modules and themes are compatible with upgraded versions.

To begin the Drupal update process, start by finding out which Drupal version you’re currently using. This will be stated in the back-end of your site, in Administer (or Administration) > Reports > Status report (or, for very old versions of Drupal, in Administer > Logs > Status report). Then, you’ll need to decide which version you would like to update to and use the specific advice for how to do so on Drupal.org. Currently, only versions 7 and 8 are fully supported by Drupal.

However you update your site, make sure to check for and install new updates regularly to keep your site working at its best.

Would you prefer not to worry about website software updates? We offer on-demand website maintenance to help keep your site up-to-date and maximise its performance. Get in touch for more information or to discuss your requirements.