Websites By Liz

Web Design for Small Businesses

Why does my website ALWAYS have to be updated??

Does it seem like every time you turn around your website needs to be updated for some reason or another? And it’s not just a matter of keeping the content up to date, things that worked one day will sometimes just *poof* stop working. Why is that???

The answer lies in the long-standing tug of war between designers, users and developers (meaning the people who decide on standards for code as well as system admins and the people who make the web browsers). It’s a mostly friendly game, a constant push and pull between what users want to be able to do, how designers put websites together and what developers are doing in the background to make it all work. And don’t forget, the constant presence of hackers and spammers. The end result, though, is that there’s always something new coming in and something old being pushed out.

Take email code, for example. Many years ago it was a simple thing to type in a few commands in a php (or asp, or perl, etc) file and just send the email. But now because of a) how the users want the forms to work, b) how the designers want the forms and emails to look and c) protection from those nasty hackers and spammers, in many cases developers have depreciated older code that allowed spammers to take advantage of that old, simple code. Which means, email contact forms that were written all those many years ago and never updated will stop working as the companies that host our websites continue to change over to new coding standards.

This is a good thing, really, but frustrating. You may not always be aware of when and why your web host makes an update, or when and why WordPress publishes an update. All you know is that suddenly something doesn’t work.

The key is checking your website often and keeping on top of those WordPress updates. I frequently have people come to me because something stopped working on their website for no reason they can figure out. More often than not a quick plugin or theme update does the trick. An update to WordPress takes a little more care because if your theme or one of your plugins hasn’t been updated in a good long while, updating WordPress can break something else in the site.

When in doubt, just shoot me an email!