What on earth is “Versioning” and Why Should You Care?
The Sprocket Report
When you are so busy managing your business, it’s easy to say “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” But when it comes to your website, it’s better to fix it BEFORE it’s “broke.” Learn why:
You won’t be surprised to hear that while “versioning” was barely a word prior to the 1990s, the use of the word has grown exponentially to describe software improvements. DNN, the web-building platform we use most, recently released Version 9.2.0 and WordPress, the other platform we work with, recently released Version 4.9.5.
Do you know what version your website is currently using? Unless you have a maintenance program with your web tech that specifically provides for versioning, your website is not automatically upgraded from the version in which it was originally built.
You might wonder why you should care. We all know websites that are ten years old (which is like a century in tech years) and they still look fine. Sites that old are usually simple, basically electronic brochures, although not mobile-friendly. But even simple sites are not safe.
A website with little traffic and a low profile is still fair game to hackers. A bit of fun for them means a headache for you, and the older your website is, the longer hackers have had to find the flaws in your platform to exploit.
But aside from hacker drama, other hazards await you if your website isn’t running on a recent version. Modular platforms like WordPress and DNN build a website by assembling pre-coded pieces that each provide a separate function. So much quicker and cheaper than the custom-coding of early days! However, each pre-coded piece could have a different creator who works independently. Sometimes those folks stop supporting their piece. Sometimes they change how their piece works. Then the website gets “broke.”
Sometimes you are the breaker of your own website. Want a new function like a better blog, a contact form or a calendar? Prefer that your site is readable on a smartphone? Need the security of an SSL certificate? Any one of those relatively simple upgrades could break your site.
Just like fixing an old car, fixing an old website is harder than it seems. The specific parts and skilled experts aren’t readily available anymore, so it’s going to take longer – and cost more money – to get the job done.
Now you don’t have to update your website after every version, but you do need to stay aware of what updates are happening. Some are super-important, like if they found a bug that threatens your site’s security. You’ll want to install that update, and if you’re already fairly up-to-date, it will be a quick process. But if you are too many versions behind, it may be a long slog of going through the series until that update can be made.
So the question isn’t really IF you’re going to update your website to the latest version but WHEN. Instead of waiting until you’re in the middle of an emergency situation when you are losing business and it’s costing you extra, our recommendation is to set up a regular schedule with your web tech to stay “fixed” before you get “broke.”
If it’s been a while since you updated your website version, give us a call. We’d be happy to discuss all the options that are open to you.