3 Reasons to update your web software this December

Posted on December 02, 2022

Caroline Blaker

3 Reasons to update your web software this December Image

All they want for Christmas is your identity -

We’re delighted that we’ve made it to the holidays (or what we sometimes think of as Sagittarius season,) and we’re setting up decorations, singing along with Bill Murray, and having another glass of eggnog. We’re also thinking about your website’s security and what may have gone ignored for the whole of last year. Has your web software been updated in 2022? It might be that last thing you get done before hitting the ground running in January. Here’s why:

They put PHP 7 out to pasture

The pace of PHP software versioning has quickened in recent years. No more PHP 5 with a zillion-year shelf life. The PHP Group had previously relegated all PHP 7 versions to security-only, but now it has gone a step further and said that they will receive no more updates. This leaves PHP 8.0 and 8.1 in stable release with 8.2 still in beta. If you have been around PHP for awhile, you may recognize it as neither agile nor narrow in version scope. However, in todays’ spread, PHP is both. With the rapid drop of PHP 7 from and the relatively high number of PHP 7 (and lower) sites still in production, any found security vulnerabilities in these software versions are going to be of value to hackers or other bad actors (not Bill Murray.) And if you upgrade your site after an event that takes advantage of found vulnerabilities, it’ll cost a lot more than doing it now.

More information on supported PHP versions.

GA4 is coming in fast

Unless you have migrated your Universal Analytics account to Google Analytics 4, you have seven months before your Analytics go completely dark. Not to be that guy, but you’ve also lost 5 months of year over year data already. And there’s nothing quite like a zillion people who missed this deadline taking to social media channels to remind website administrators just how important this is. Let this paragraph be that reminder instead! If you haven’t switched over to GA4, do it now.

More information on the Universal Analytics sunset.

Need help or want to set up ecommerce, checkout flow, or other custom event tracking? We love to do that. Get in touch today.

Security Patches are always in-season

Unfortunately, it seems like hackers never take a vacation. The evidence they leave behind is always a trailing indicator of the damage they have caused. By the time you see it on the news, it may be too late. Staying on top of software updates remains among the most important tools to guard against hacks before they happen, according to security experts. 2022 saw a few big breaches:

If you’re working in a website software like ExpressionEngine or Craft CMS, you have less to worry about, but it’s still critical to do this at least once a year, and preferably quarterly.

Have a longstanding ExpressionEngine or Craft CMS site that needs a software upgrade? We can help.

Bonus Reason: You have the time

Many web developers report reduced workloads in December, making it an optimal time to tuck up in the office with a blanket, a hot beverage, and Google - and work out those software updates on client websites on all fronts - CMS, Javascript, CSS - anything NPM or Composer as well. “But Caroline, December is my ecommerce client’s busiest time!” Ok, you get a pass, but only until January. Be up to date by January 31 and truly leave behind any website properties that could get you in trouble later. Software updates are always best done right away, but the second best time is when the website is not experiencing active development or peak performance. If your website isn’t in active development or in high traffic performance, consider a software upgrade today.

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