One of the best things about a website is it’s never ‘done’. This means it’s never perfect and you are always making it better, faster and safer. Some of this is directed solely at your customer. Faster loading pages, better quality images and easier checkout are a few.

A website needs maintenance too. This is what patches and updates do.

Three Reason to Apply Patches and UpdatesYour website is also your store front and as such it needs to be maintained. A brick and mortar store front needs painting, new fixtures and light bulbs replaced. A website needs maintenance too. This is what patches and updates do.

Did you mother ever tell you ‘An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’? Patches and updates ARE the ounce of prevention. They are the little things along the way that help prevent the big problems from happening.

Patches fix security vulnerabilities

There are several reasons a patch might be released.  One of them it to fix a security vulnerability. The author might have made a mistake that was not caught initially.  A patch fixes this mistake.  There could be a weakness in the code used that is newly discovered.  We read each month, it seems, about new security threats.  A patch can close these holes. Without them, it’s like leaving the key to your store under the front mat.  All a hacker has to do is look for these holes and he’s in.

Patches repair coding mistakes

Software is written in computer code which is simply a typed language that machines understand.  Occasionally, a programmer will make a typo. For us humans, we can usually figure out what the author meant and keep reading without any serious consequence.  Computers cannot do that. They will not understand what the programmer meant so that part of the code remains broken. It’s rare a typo creates a serious issue. These are most often caught during testing.  Smaller errors are more likely to get missed and end up in the final code.  This broken function could have an impact on the functionality of your website. A patch will fix the typo and restore full functionality.

Updates improve functionality and security

An update is usually more comprehensive in what it covers than a patch. There is often an new version number along with a released update. This is because an update is often many items addressed all at once while a patch is a specific problem needing addressed quickly. As minor bugs are fixed and features added, the programmers will bundle them all up together and release them as an update to the software.

If you look at the world of software, you’ve seen updates and patches all the time.  Microsoft releases updates to the Windows operating system on a monthly basis.  Occasionally, an emergency patch will be released outside of this schedule if it’s too important to wait. Without these, your computer will be vulnerable to hackers and viruses.

The apps on your smart phone get updates. I seem to get something updated every week. Your website is no different except you are responsible for being sure the patches and updates are being applied. If you had, or have, a brick and mortar store, you are be responsible for it’s maintenance too.  A website is no different.

Who is in charge of your website maintenance? It should be part of someones job description to be sure it gets done.  This person is probably the same person who is responsible for your disaster planning.

If your website has not been maintained and updated, you could be in for some trouble. There could be problems, as revealed in the error log files, that you are unaware of. We can review them, as well as your website, to see if you are in good shape. If not, we can help. Simply contact us to get started.