Websites are essentially web-based ‘software’, and as such are continually impacted by changes in browsers, better technology, and importantly – security.
Think about your computer and phone operating systems – there are regular updates for things like:
- New features
- Bug fixes
- Security patches
- Adapting to new technology
Websites are exactly the same. WordPress websites for example are comprised of:
- Server technology: cPanel, Apache, NGINX and more
- PHP – the coding language used to power the functionality
- HTML – the layout structure
- CSS – the styling, how buttons, text and most other elements look
Added to this, the browsers used to view websites are constantly changing to be leaner, adapt to better networks (think from 3G to 5G in recent years) and cover vulnerabilities and potential security risks. These all change at an ever increasing rate, so need to be kept up to date. Browsers stop supporting older functions, PHP gets updated for newer features and so on.
As Forbes notes, Cyber security is alarmingly on the increase – as quickly as things adapt, new exploits are found!
What do we do about this?
The best way to think about this is relating it to a car. Cars need regular MOT and servicing to keep them roadworthy, and websites are exactly the same to keep them speeding along.
Our servers have alert systems to warn us of security threats which we act on as soon as we can, but this doesn’t help us with older (or ‘deprecated’ functionality).
We need to run either monthly or quarterly checks and updates (depending on the size of the site) to make sure all security issues are patched and the latest code is used.
As Google forever adapts and updates its algorithm, and browsers develop, we need to run regular speed checks on the site. Every new site we launch we configure basic caching tools and benchmark using Google’s on tool as well as the independent tool GTMetrix. However as time goes on, more content is added, more plugins may be added, browsers change – we need to run regular checks to ensure we are still super fast.
This may mean :
- Using advanced caching tools
- Upgrading hosting to our Professional package with NGINX server or our Premium package with Google Cloud servers
- Using Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) to speed up delivery
- Deploying image compression tools such as Imagify
- Reducing plugins or hard-coding some functionality
I’m interested – how does it work!
Many of clients take advantage of our Maintenance Plans to keep up to date. Running these monthly is always advised, however we do offer quarterly packages which may suit some smaller sites.