Stay Secure And Enjoy The Latest Functionality With Updated Third Party Scripts

By CertifiedHosting 08/31/2011

security

Third party scripts provide one of the most powerful ways to customize your online presence. Whether you are using your shared web hosting account to run a personal site or you are in charge of a powerful dedicated server, you can use a third party script to quickly install a web application such as a blog, online store, or forum. Wordpress, Joomla, phpBB, or MediaWiki are just a few of the scripts used by website owners worldwide to improve the functionality of their online presences.

Many of the most popular web applications are open source software that is developed actively by a community of volunteers. The release cycle of popular open source scripts is often quick as new versions are released regularly, sometimes at intervals of a few months. In this article, we review why it is important to keep your third party scripts up to date by regularly checking for new releases and installing the latest version. Among the benefits of using the latest version of third party scripts, we will discuss protection against security threats, improved functionality, and fewer bugs.

Ensure top security by updating third party scripts to the latest version

Security breaches are first on the list of worst case scenarios for many system administrators that run high-profile online destinations. As the recent wave of intensely publicized hacking attacks and intrusions shows us, no one on the Internet is fully protected from threats. Even the owners of small websites should not consider themselves safe from harmful attacks from hackers. While obscurity does provide some protection, hackers and scammers think nothing of stealing private data, planting trojans, and compromising the privacy of your data.

Vulnerabilities in third party scripts are one channel that hackers, spammers, and fraudsters regularly use to compromise the security of websites. Most, if not all, web applications have vulnerabilities that make them susceptible to the attacks of knowledgeable individuals.

The most dangerous vulnerabilities found in scripts are the so-called zero-day exploits. Zero-day exploits are problems in the source code of an application that are unknown to everybody but the persons who discovered it. Zero-days allow hackers to compromise the security of a system for extended periods of time, without being discovered. The only protection against this type of vulnerability is to keep your third party script updated to the latest version. Script developers treat zero-day exploits with the highest priority and issue security patches to solve them as soon as possible. Always make sure that your script has the most recent security patches applied.

Only by using the latest version of your third party scripts you can be sure that your website is protected against data theft, bots, trojans, and spammers.

Increase reliability with the latest bug fixes

Another benefit of keeping your third party scripts up to date is better reliability. Software errors and flaws, commonly called bugs, can seriously affect your image, damage productivity, and decrease the reliability of your website. If you are generating money with your website by running an ecommerce business or using AdSense or other ad serving program, software bugs can have a significant impact on your revenue.

In most cases, bugs found in web applications are fixed by the developers of the script, tested, and released for the production environment in the next version. For this reason, the latest version of a third party script is generally the most reliable and robust. It is highly recommended to permanently monitor your scripts for new versions and apply the updates as soon as possible.

For improved functionality, keep your scripts updated

Third party scripts let you add almost any type of functionality to your online presence. Blogs, stores, forums, calendars, wikis, online manuals, portals… everything is possible with the right application. Even better, script developers permanently work to improve the functionality of their apps by adding new features and refining existing elements.

Most new features are added in major releases, but this does not mean that you should wait for a new major release to update your script. It is a good idea to monitor update channels and check changelogs frequently to see what improvements are made and what features are added to the application.

More functionality is usually beneficial, but this does not mean that you should upgrade just for the sake of using the latest version. Make sure to check all the changes made in new versions of a script. In some situations, new releases actually remove functionality. For example, the script may drop support for a file version or remove certain features altogether. And especially when you depend on specific or old (legacy) features, go through the changelogs every time you make an update to your scripts.

The bottom line

Third party scripts are useful tools in the kit of any website owner. By deploying a third party script instead of a custom solution, you can cut costs and add functionality, all in a fraction of the time necessary to create your own script. To fully benefit from the power of third party scripts, Certified Hosting recommends monitoring applications for updates and applying them whenever feasible.

Updated scripts are more secure and better protected against all types of malicious activities. What’s more, the latest version of an application includes fixes for most known bugs, which improves the reliability of the software, when compared to older, unpatched versions. New releases can also add functionality to the third party scripts, giving you more control over the way your website appears and works.

The responsive and experienced support specialists from Certified Hosting are prepared to answer your third party scripts questions at any time. If you need help deploying or updating a third party script, Certified Hosting is ready to assist you or even do all the work for you. To learn more about third party scripts or to order a capable hosting plan, visit CertifiedHosting.com.