From time to time I get an email from a reader asking whether they should update their Umbraco powered website to the latest version. If you are wondering whether you should update your Umbraco website to the latest version, then read on. Note this article is applicable to Umbraco V7 and under.
Why Should You Use The Latest Version Of Umbraco?
First, let's go over the more obvious reasons why you should keep your Umbraco install up-to-date.
Security: Security is arguably the most important reason why you should keep your Umbraco website up to date in terms of infrastructure. With each new release, the Umbraco team fix security vulnerabilities that pen-testing reports and end-users have identified. Upgrading ensures your Umbraco website is safe and sound and is up-to-date with new industry standards.
Don't get me wrong, Umbraco is definitely no WordPress. Umbraco is infinitely more stable and secure than WordPress (mainly because of the difference in the WordPress plug-in architecture), so you can be very confident that your current Umbraco build is secure, however, having the latest update will ensure you don't get caught out by any new vulnerabilities
Cool New Features: With each new update, comes new features and improvements. Take the screenshot below, as an example of how the back-end editor has changed over a few different releases.
By constantly and consistently upgrading to the latest version, your website can automatically get a whole host of new bonus features and a backend UI makeover for very little effort on your part. This ability to update a package easily in order to get lots of new features for free is the reason why you are likely using an off-the-shelf CMS. In recent Umbraco releases, new features have included things like auto-URL rewriting, info tabs, scheduled health checks, and improved search indexing!
Bragging Rights: When you meet your mates in the pub, do you want to be the guy who has to hang his head in shame and admit he's using Umbraco 4, or do you want to be the 'cool' person who is using the latest and greatest? One word of caution, if your mates get excited about Umbraco upgrades... you may want to ask some girls out!
Bug Fixes: From my experience, Umbraco is a great platform that as of writing has always worked for me, however, despite the rigorous testing, like all software it is possible for bugs to slip through the cracks. If you go to the Umbraco forums asking for help because something within your website is not working, don't be surprised if you get asked to upgrade.
I remember working on one Umbraco 6 project within a load-balanced environment. It had constant cache-invalid problems between the nodes. The fix was simple, I upgraded to Umbraco 7. The upgrade process took about 30 minutes and afterwards the problem went away.
The Longer You Leave It The More Painful It Will Be: I'm assuming that most of you beautiful readers will understand agile, especially around the DevOps movement. Following these philosophies, gone are the days of massive projects that are delivered following a big-bang approach.
Instead, the current trend is to do lots of little things and release them constantly. Upgrading frequently definitely follows these good practices. If you don't bother upgrading your Umbraco website for several years it will be a lot more painful, compared to upgrading your Umbraco website on a frequent and consistent basis. If you're planning on re-doing your website from scratch then you may consider leaving it to sit for a while, however, even in these instances, I suggest you stay in the upgrade loop. This way you'll be more prepared.
How Do I Know When A New Umbraco Update Is Available?
Ok, so I'm hoping I've convinced you that you should keep your website updated, the next question is probably, how do I keep up with updates? First, you can find out all about new Umbraco releases from this page, https://our.umbraco.org/contribute/releases/. However, let's be honest, who will actually go and visit a CMS website every day just to check for an update. Luckily, there is a much easier way. When you log into the Umbraco back-end if a new release is out, you should be prompted, as you can see here:
So keeping up-to-date is pretty simple. If you have never upgraded your Umbraco website and need some advice then please get in contact, as I can provide consultancy services to help you make sure your upgrade is as pain-free as possible. If you are new to Umbraco upgrades, then I recommend that you read, How To Upgrade Your Umbraco Website and Why You Should Be Using The Latest Version Of Umbraco.
Happy Coding 🤘