Website Updates Available! Should We Ignore Them Or Click The Update Button?

Many sites these days use WordPress, Joomla or Drupal. In fact this very site uses WordPress. They are what’s called in the biz a Content Management System or CMS. They are beneficial for many websites and very popular to use. Each CMS has it’s pros & cons. WordPress will work for many sites, including possibly yours, but Joomla or Drupal might be more appropriate. It all depends on what your website needs to be able to do. I’m not going to go into that as it can get rather complicated.

Frequently we compare CMS websites to smartphones & tablets when we’re trying to figure out what is best for a client. Why? Well the CMS is like the operating system (OS) on a phone. Most smartphones are either iOS (Apple) or Android. Same goes with websites. Similar to smartphones & tablets they also have what you could consider an OS. In this example the OS would be what was mentioned before: Wordpress, Joomla or Drupal.

Something else that CMS websites have are also similar to smartphones & tablets. That is apps. On a smartphone or tablet it can be anything from Facebook, Waze, solitaire or what have you. Websites using a CMS as mentioned above also have something similar to smartphone & tablet apps. They are called something different for each CMS, but they could be considered similar to an app. They can also be all kinds of things. Some examples could be a calendar of events, Facebook feed, weather, etc. There are a TON of them, again, depending on which CMS your site is built on.

When there are “OS” or “app” updates, should you update them? Both the website CMS OS & the “apps” have updates from time to time available. The “apps” are updated more frequently than the CMS itself. When you know an update is available you or the company that takes care of your site MUST know if they should update it or not. Some are safety/security updates to keep your website secure. Others make the CMS or “app” run better or have more features.

Why is it important to know if you should update the CMS OS or “apps?” I’m glad you asked. If you have custom code, interactions between “apps,” or a connection to a third party solution for something like the ability to purchase online, updating could create problems; BIG problems. It could even take your site down, make your website unable to process payments or a myriad of other things. All that to write, if you’re tempted to simply update everything you should use caution and make sure the update(s) isn’t going to break anything. Which leads us to the next point.

ALWAYS do a backup before you proceed! Through the years we’ve had a few CMS OS or “apps” updates that we thought were innocuous take down an entire site. Here’s the kicker. One of those innocuous updates to be totally honest took down our own site. Yulp Bull & Company was down. Thankfully we had a backup and had the site backup before anyone noticed.

So should you update? As mentioned earlier, possibly, maybe, it all depends. Be safe by creating a backup or your site, do some research to make sure the update isn’t going to break anything and proceed with caution. OR as almost all of our clients do, leave it to the professionals, us, and you keep doing what you do best in whatever industry you’re in.