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Why software updates matter

Stay up to date and secure

Popular software is usually popular for a reason: it does its job well. It also helps when software is relatively easy to use. People flock to solutions like WordPress because they offer the functionality they need alongside an interface that’s simple to get on with. Once users get familiar with the ways to achieve the desired results on their chosen platform, they’re often sold on it for life. But can you get too comfortable using a particular piece of software?

Or more specifically, a particular version of that software? All software is in a constant state of evolution, with updates and new versions released all the time. But users don’t always appreciate the importance of keeping their platform up to date. Alongside improved performance, enhanced security is a huge factor when it comes to software updates. By reacting to current risks, vendors can provide critical patches to protect users from the latest emerging threats in the forms of viruses, spyware, malicious attacks and data theft.

Of course, tech-savvy users also tend to be the early adopters who jump onto the newest platform as soon as possible. Often you don’t even need to be on the latest release to benefit from solid security, with some users clinging to previous versions for reasons of cost, compatibility and convenience. However, as time marches on and support falls away, you could find yourself exposed.

Probably the biggest recent example of this came in 2014, when Microsoft finally ended support for Windows XP after 12 years. Even with no new security updates or technical support, some users still doggedly stuck by the old operating system. While a number of temporary fixes and workarounds allowed Windows XP to stumble on, it’s fair to say that most remaining Windows XP users are woefully vulnerable to malicious attack. Problems like this can creep in when an ageing platform accumulates a large user base that can’t be easily migrated. Obviously, updating something like WordPress is free and a lot simpler than replacing your old OS, but the same basic security principles apply. From online content management platforms to operating systems and web server software, if you’re not getting updates, you’re not fully protected. In recent years companies have gotten better at streamlining updates and balancing any disruption with the benefits of new features. But ultimately, the end-user still needs to make sure they stay up to date.

With Fasthosts, you’ll always be informed of important updates, whether you’re on Cluster web hosting, a dedicated server, our new CloudNX solution, or any of our other platforms. You also have various options to manage software updates yourself, for example Cluster customers can easily install apps like WordPress with the OneClick feature, then receive automatic notification whenever a new update is available. This way, you can ensure your project takes full advantage of the newest features and the latest, water-tight security.

Neal Thoms's picture

Neal Thoms

Author As a content creator for Fasthosts, Neal’s main focus is cloud technology and how it’s transforming everything we do online. He’s worked in the web hosting industry for over five years.