As part of maintaining a website, it's important to keep server software and code up-to-date. A standard website uses software from multiple 3rd parties such as Linux (operating system),Apache (web server),MySQL (database),PHP (programming language),and custom code that we've written specifically for any given website.
These different vendors update their software when security issues are discovered and we periodically have those updates installed on our servers. We don't charge for this and it often happens automatically. However, sometimes vendors introduce new versions that are not backwards compatible with existing website code which makes updating it necessary.
Most of our websites are programmed in PHP (one of the most popular programming languages used today). The developers of PHP have announced they're discontinuing PHP version 7 and no longer providing security support for it. This means there won't be any way to prevent hackers or malicious users from using newly found security vulnerabilities to exploit websites running this version. The changes they have introduced are different enough to require manually checking all aspects of websites we have built and updating the code accordingly.
We require that all websites we host be updated in order to protect the security of our servers and highly recommend that all other websites are updated.
Why Does My Website Not Support The Latest PHP Version?
Often the latest version either didn't exist yet or was not mature enough to be used. Old unsupported software can contain security vulnerabilities, and brand new software can be buggy and unreliable. We try to take a conservative approach and target development at well-tested, supported software versions that are in common use.
Do I Have To Upgrade?
If we don't upgrade your website then your website will be vulnerable to security exploits and attacks that are discovered (on average 2.5 PHP vulnerabilities are discovered every month). We therefore cannot host websites that are not upgraded.
Are There Any Other Benefits of Upgrading?
Updated software releases are often faster and more efficient, allowing your web server to respond more quickly and handle more requests. Additionally, programmers can develop software quicker when they’re able to use the latest features of a programming language.
Why Are Updates Not Free?
Unfortunately we cannot anticipate changes introduced by third parties before they happen. As the internet evolves, unforeseen changes are sometimes required to maintain server security, to have your site work in the latest browsers, or even address newly introduced laws or regulations.
Will Any More Updates Be Required In Future?
PHP versions are actively supported for up to 2 years after their release. So further updates will be required in future years. Usually, they will require minimal testing and changes, but like all internet developers, we need to work with what the vendors provide us with. We will update your website to PHP version 8.2, which will be supported until at least December 2025. Additionally, other components on the server will require updating from time to time. Usually, we'll do this automatically but we'll let you know if anything extra is required.
If you have any questions, concerns or comments, please don't hesitate to Get in Touch.