If your website runs on a content management system (CMS), such as Wordpress, Joomla!, Drupal, MODX or Concrete5 (there are loads to choose from CMS Matrix), when was the last time you updated the version you're running on? Did you even know that there were newer versions, or do you simply feel that your site is running just fine as it is, why go to the bother? Let's take a look at why you should make the upgrade.
Keeping your CMS up to date, is just as important as taking regular back ups. Updates come out for a reason.
Security is Paramount
The reality is, if you have a website out there in the wild on the public domain, it is vunerable. Hackers love nothing more than to break people's sites. And CMSs driven sites especially open source systems are regularly targetted. Security fixes and patches should always be applied to ensure the integrity of your site. Hosting companies will sometimes notify you when your CMS requires updating, but this is not always the case. Usually there will be something on your CMS dashboard that will highlight the fact you need to upgrade your site, whether that's a lovely button, a news alert or a link to download files. Unless you never actually log in to up date your website content, there really isn't an excuse to say that you were unaware of an upgrade.
Upgrading isn't just about security fixes, there are other reasons to stay up to date. By the very nature of them, CMS programs are complex and sophisticated, and when implemented on a wide variety of different environments on different platforms and operating systems all making use of different bolt ons, modules, extras and components, it is inevitable that bugs will surface. And when those environments change (and they do) with upgrades to processors, programming language updates, database updates and all manner of changes, this can also trigger the odd hiccup or two...
Reports of bugs and issues are regularly fed back to the developers behind the CMSs and as a result new versions are released. This is an on-going process and ensures that you have the best possible experience working with your CMS.
Another reason for upgrading is functionality. New features, faster processing, better workflow ensure that when you're working with your CMS you can be more efficient and helps to keep you up to speed with the latest developments in technology.
Its Not all Rosy
There's no doubt doing CMS upgrades can seem to be a bit of a pain, but it is the ideal opportunity to bring everything up to date. When making changes of this nature, you will quite often find that the modules, add ons, extras etc suddenly don't work or syntax changes or file paths change, and you have to go through everything updating, checking and modifying. It is absolutely crucial before making any changes, however, that you do have a rock solid copy of your site (upgrades are always a good opportunity to make back ups). Ideally you should a copy of the whole site, but at least the database where all the data is stored.
And yes, all this takes time and yes, it costs money if you're paying a designer or developer to do the work, but in the long run it means your site is up to date, more secure, less vunerable to changes in server environment and more of a pleasure to work with.
CMS upgrades are worth the bother, go and find out what version you're using, and if you're out of date make sure you find someone reliable to bring you up to date.