Why Auto-Upgrade?

I recommend that all my clients use the auto-upgrade option because it is the safest and cheapest option for running a website successfully online.  Keeping your website software up to date is essential and having auto-upgrades turned on ensures you are always running the most up to date software.  It also saves you money because you do not have to pay me to do these upgrades manually.

What is Auto-Upgrade?

Auto-upgrade means to automatically upgrade your website software. Instead of requiring manual intervention to upgrade the website software, the software itself will check to see if an upgrade has been released, and if so it will update itself. By default the software is set to check every 24 hours to see if an update has been released, but in select case we can change the interval to be weekly, or even monthly if that is preferred.

What software needs updating?

There are many layers of software that make up a website. Each of these pieces of software will have upgrades at different times depending on when that particular software gets an update.

Core Website Software

The core website software is the base software that is installed on every single website and runs the front and back end of the website. The website can not run without this core software.

Add-on Software

Add-on software (called plugins). This is additional software that is installed on individual websites based on need. For example, most websites do not need an ecommerce store, so the ecommerce software is not installed on the website. However, for those that require an ecommerce store, then this add-on software would be installed. Other examples of add-on software could be event calendar software, newsletter software or recipe software.

Theme Software

The theme software sets out the look, layout & feel of the website. This includes the colour scheme and how the website looks on desktop vs tablet or mobile.

Why does the software need upgrading?

There are several reasons that the website software needs to be upgraded.

Security

The biggest security risk for any website is to run outdated software. As security vulnerabilities are found in the software, the software team creates patches for it's software, and if these patches are not applied regularly then hackers can get into the site.

Technology

It is best to keep website software up to date to make sure that your website is always compatible with the latest browsers and smartphones. If you do not update your software it will eventually become incompatible with future releases of browsers such as Google Chrome, Safari, or Microsoft Edge to name a few.

My site wouldn’t get hacked, would it?

Unfortunetly, hacks are more common then you would realize.  Many clients think their website would not get hacked because they are a small company and therefore not a target for hackers.  The truth is that hackers don’t usually target a specific company, rather, they create bot programs that scour the internet for known software vulnerabilities.  Once they find a vulnerable website (big or small), the bot program attacks that website.  This is why it is so important to keep your website software up to date, to close the security vulnerabilities as they appear so they can not be exploited by hackers.

Con’s of Auto-upgrades

It occasionally (rarely) happens that an update can break a site. Worst case the entire site is down (though this has never happened to me). Usually if an upgrade breaks something it is cosmetic like the formatting on a page, or one piece of the website might be broken like the event calendar, or maybe the newsletter. Usually nothing is broken, but when something does break, it is usually something that can be fixed with a couple hours of work. And… these couple hours of fixes would have needed to be done anyway at the next manual upgrade. If something is going to go wrong then it will happen whether the upgrade was performed manually or automatically. The difference is just that in a manual upgrade you are testing each upgrade and so you can fix a problem right away. With an auto-upgrade you might not know the site is broken right away.

Why Auto-Upgrade?

The pro’s of auto-upgrading far outweigh the con’s because a hack can take a long long time to fix and can be very expensive depending on the severity of the hack. It is cheaper in the long run to let the software auto-upgrade, and only call me when you need me.  This way it only costs money if I need to manually perform a fix if something went wrong with the upgrade.