Protecting and maintaining your website is one of the most important aspects of managing it. Keeping your code up to date is key to protecting and enhancing your site. One of the benefits of having a Drupal site is that it is part of an open-source platform. It provides community support and expertise, and when you take care to use these tools and keep your code current, it will contribute to the stability and security of your website.
Four Reasons to Keep Your Code Up to Date:
There are several parts to a Drupal site’s code:
- Core application
- Contributed modules
- Base themes
- Custom modules and themes.
Any of these parts can have bugs that compromise the security of your site. A benefit to being a part of the Drupal Community you have expert developers who evaluate issues and take the lead on getting them fixed quickly. Module updates can fix security issues as well as enhance functionality and performance.
As technologies become more complex, performance can be affected. Since the Drupal Community is always watching and repairing security vulnerabilities in the code, they are also watching for problems related to performance, such as slow load speed of pages. If a code-related bug causes performance issues, it is likely the problem is already being addressed by the community since they are always testing and fixing issues.
Third-Party Applications & Broken Features
The ability to integrate with third-party application is a major benefit of a Drupal site. Applications such as Google Analytics, Salesforce, MailChimp, and various SEO (Search Engine Optimization) tools are important for any business. In order to work with Drupal, a third-party needs to communicate using an API (Application Programming Interface). Over time changes are made to how these services are accessed which can break the features on websites that use them. If you find that certain features have stopped working, an upgrade of the module providing those features may be needed. Our Drupal developers can evaluate these issues and make the appropriate modifications.
Save Time & Money
The more frequently you perform website maintenance the more time and money you will save. Incremental updates allow for more periodic minor code changes. Over time, Drupal modules go through multiple revisions and the code updates can be more challenging. We recommend quarterly updates, at a minimum.
COMMONPLACES APPROACH TO DRUPAL MAINTENANCE
Drupal has a built-in updating mechanism that alerts you when updates are available. It is tempting to do this yourself. However, if something goes wrong there is no undo. Our expert Drupal web developers are skilled to handle all of these issues.
MAINTENANCE PROGRAM OPTIONS
Many of CommonPlaces clients take advantage of our Application Maintenance Program so they know that their website will be operating at the optimal level everyday. Quarterly, or even monthly, CommonPlaces will analyze what updates are needed, complete and test them.
When we perform maintenance on your site, our Drupal developers use a copy of your site and database on our development servers. This ensures no impact on your live site while we’re doing your work. It also provides for version control, allowing us to track the changes between updates and roll back to a previous version in the event that any problems are encountered during said testing.
ALWAYS BE TESTING
Sometimes an update to one module can affect the functionality of another module, or it can introduce new problems that didn’t exist before. How do we manage this? We take care to review the modules release notes and issue queues to see if any significant issue have been reported with the most recent release. At times, it may be necessary to not perform the update until the next release. Testing is key. Once we’ve completed our own testing we will give you the opportunity to do the same on our development server.
This is important, no one knows the ins and outs of how you update and use your site better than you. Once approved, we will roll out the updates to your live production site. In most cases, because of the streamlined process we use, you won’t notice any downtime on your site. However, if we know a particular update may take a little more time we will perform the update at an off hour and put the site into maintenance mode to ensure that anyone who happens to visit it at that time gets a message letting them know. With this process, you won’t see errors that may result from trying to load a page before the process is complete. Finally, once we are done and the site is online and updated, we’ll perform a final check and ask you to do the same.
We Can Help
If you think your Drupal site could benefit from an evaluation and even a regular program of application maintenance, contact us. We’d love to help you. You’ve already taken the first steps by having a great site built on a superb application framework -- Drupal. Maintaining it on a regular basis will ensure that it is always online and secure.