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What You Need to Know About Website Updates

If you login to your administrator's panel you may notice that your website has messages for you about available updates. While, in some cases, updating may only produce a few bug corrections and minor improvements, in many cases it includes security patches. Whenever a new exploit is found (and new exploits are found everyday) a security measure has to be written to patch over the vulnerability. As long as there are hackers in the world there will be updates. And, beyond that, as long as technology continues to improve and change there will always be updates.

So what does that mean for you? It means that we have to work with you to develop an update strategy that best fits your needs and your budget.

We feel that it is our responsibility to make you aware that updates are going to be a constant need in order to maintain a website that is free from corruption.

We also feel that it is your choice to decide how often you want to have your website updated.

What Are the Website Update Choices?

Incremental Updates –

Updates done on a regular schedule that incorporate a smaller number of changes, patches, and corrections soon after the update has been released.

We recommend monthly or quarterly updates to maintain a healthy website.

Incidental Updates –

Updates done infrequently (less than every 6 months), not usually on any type of regular schedule.

We do not recommend this approach

By the time several months go by the extension developer may have released several updated versions. If you are several versions behind on updates then updating becomes a bit more tricky because the extension developer also has to keep up with platform updates and external resource updates. Updating to a new version may not be compatible with the core version you are currently on or the other extension’s versions so extra precautions and steps must be taken to ensure a smooth transition.

Website Updates Cost Factors:

  • The size of the site, a large site takes quite a while to backup and restore
  • The number of extensions installed that need to be updated
  • The price of the extensions
  • On sites where we have written custom code, functions, or behaviors, created custom integrations, or hacked the core of anything more time is needed for testing and correcting than usual.
  • Length of time since the last update was made

An important thing to note is that many clients feel like they are saving money by having fewer updates. The truth is that because of the extra work involved with infrequent website updates it costs about the same to have regularly scheduled updates as it does to have one big update done once a year.

The Real Price of Not Updating

If a website is not receiving regular updates it is vulnerable to hacking. An unmaintained website is a hackers paradise. The price for restoring a hacked site (when and if it can be restored) starts at about $500 and can go well beyond that in multiples if the hacker has had adequate time to work his hacks and share your site with his friends.