Always Update Your Systems, Themes and Plugins
Step 3 from the 7 Day Sequence: 7 Easy Steps to Secure Your Website
The security week in our SuperBlog is in full swing! Yesterday we told you what types of passwords you should AVOID and how to select a strong enough password. Today we continue with another easy hack for increasing your website's security. Step 3: Always Update Your Systems, Themes and Plugins.
This is one of the most successful and secure ways to increase your website's reliability!
You should check at least once a week for updates available in your website and install them, if any.
When you have a lot of websites and plugins, the option to enable auto updates will save you time and manual work while keeping your website secure. If you are using WordPress, minor versions will update by default.
Updating to minor or major version
When it comes to numbering versions of some CMS such as WordPress or Joomla!, two main types can be distinguished - major versions such as 10.x, 2.5.x, 3.1.x and minor versions such as 1.0.1, 2.5.2, x.x.9 and so on. Major versions contain new features and enhancements as sometimes changes in the system are incompatible with older versions. Minor versions contain patches and security fixes which the major version lacks.
Despite the regular recommendations and warnings for update, when the update concerns the main version of the system such as WordPress 5.0, Joomla! 5.0 you can wait for a while before updating to the latest available version. Wait until the major version gets supported by a minor one (subversion) such as 5.0.1 and then update. Usually main versions contain still undiscovered bugs and security flaws which later on get improved in the following minor versions.
It is strongly advisable to update the CMS as soon as a new subversion is released.
It is very important to also update all the installed plugins, modules, extensions and themes as numbering and the types of versions follow those of major and minor versions.
It is always a good idea to make a backup of your website before updating!
If you are about to update to a major version, we strongly recommend that you first back up all files and databases on your website. Otherwise, if updating leads to faulty operation of the website you will not have an easy way to recover it.
If you are using WordPress and you need to quickly restore your website's content after updating, you can use the WordPress Manager tool which is available in cPanel. In Restore from Backup you can restore the files and/or database of the WP website with just a few clicks by selecting a system generated backup with a specified date/time before the update.
When there is an update/new version, bugfix or patch, the developers usually post a release note on the system's website.
Look for the option to subscribe for notifications from developers and stay tuned with the latest news for the respective CMS.
We told you more about the importance of updating all available systems, themes and plugins, how to track for the latest releases and always generate backup before updating. Which leads us to the next security step...