If you use a CMS (Content Management System) such as Joomla or Wordpress you have the option to manage your own website via an Admin interface without needing the technical expertise normally associated with HTML only websites, where you would need to learn how to code in HTML, JAVA and PHP.
Instead, with a CMS such as Joomla or Wordpress, you use a WYSIWYG editor from inside the Admin Area to make changes to your pages, much in the same way you might edit a Word document.
While this makes things much easier for you, or your staff, to keep your website content up to date, many site owners neglect the "other side of the coin", which is the monitoring and updating of the CMS itself, and its components, plugins and modules (i.e. the "system" required to run your website).
This leaves out of date websites facing security risks.
Some consequences of not applying updates as they are released are:
- a) Sections of the site not working due to out of date plugins or modules
- b) Security loopholes for viruses, trojans and other malware
- c) Cyber attacks once hackers realise your system is out of date
Just as with any computer operating system such as Windows or OS, all availables updates should be applied as soon as they are released to minimise these security issues.
Let's look at the advantanges of keeping everything up to date:
#1. Improved Security
The main reason you should always keep your website components, plugins and modules up to date is because you need to take security seriously as every update from Joomla or Wordpress will patch up any security flaws discovered in the previous versions. So if you stay with an older version you are leaving your site wide open to being hacked (hackers are constantly seeking out websites that have not had their core files updated recently).
Outdated versions can be prone to the very latest viruses and malware, so you need to be pro-active to avoid the most recent threats. If you take your computer security seriously (and you should), why would you not do the same for your website security? In other words you need to update your CMS whenever there are updates available.
#2. Improved Performance
With every update applied, any performance issues discovered in previous releases will also be fixed. Just like with Windows or OS, the software developers are always working on improving their software, so your experience, and the experience of your website visitors, becomes smoother and faster as a result.
The same developers are also always working on implementing new technology and features, and taking advantage of new advances in browser technology. As systems using their software are updated, the website using their systems can process information far faster and can do things the older versions could not. If your competitors update their systems and you don't, your website could get left far behind. Why would you risk harming your business in this way?
As all businesses have competitors, so all businesses need to ensure they remain competetive - so website performance becomes critical. If you keep your system up to date you will keep up with your competitors rather than fall behind. Your website visitors will also appreciate the difference in performance and security.
#3. Take Advantage Of New Features
It is not very long ago that websites started to become "responsive" (automatically adapting for best viewing on various screens and devices). The web is always evolving, so should your system, so your site can be ready to embrace the next big advance in browser technology and so offer a better experience for your visitors.
The latest versions of Joomla and Wordpress, and their components, plugins and modules, often have more features than the old ones ever had and they are all constantly being improved. This applies to adapting to brand new Internet technologies as they come into being, which is how we got major advances such as "responsive design" in the first place.
Keeping your system up to date takes these things into account. Hackers and other miscreants have no way to get in and harm your site, so they move on to find sites still using outdated components, plugins and modules. The visitors to your site that are using smartphones and tablets get a better and faster experience due to changes in the coding in the latest versions. The improved performance all round offers better ways to display your photos and videos, and when browsers such as Google Chrome, Firefox or Microsoft Edge announce new technology advances, your site will be ready to take advantage of them.
Those are just three of the many reasons to always keep your Joomla or Wordpress program, along with its components, plugins and modules, updated to the latest version at all times.