Everyone who has been around any form of computer has been asked if they would like to update. Updating happens so often that some come to think, “I should just wait until they release a feature that I want, and then I will update”. Seems reasonable right? That is not the way a computer system, server, or even cell phone should be run. Let’s look at a few reasons why you want to make sure you are updating to the newest and best as quickly as possible. The reasons we’re going to talk about will mostly apply to VPS and Dedicated hosting systems running Windows and Linux, but could also be applied to almost any electronic device.

What Are Software Updates?

Software updates (Also called ‘Patches’, or ‘Service Packs’) are extra bits of software released by the company selling you the software you are utilizing. These are mainly to address newly found security vulnerabilities in existing software, but can also include bug fixes and enhancement for the product in use. These updates are installed over the current installation of the product so they do not require you to uninstall or reinstall the program.

What Do Software Updates Contain?

Security Vulnerability Fixes: Over 90% of software and operating system updates are to patch security vulnerabilities. I program with a security hole left open can allow terrible things to happen to the program and to the entire server system. Holes in security are common entry points for malware into your system. Malware can corrupt files, use server resources for spamming and even hold your data ransom. These are the most important parts of software updates.

Bug Fixes: When a company releases a program, it is never perfect. When people begin using the product in actual world situations things that don’t work correctly are found. These patches are meant to stop those bugs from causing further issues for the customers using the product. Some functionalities can fail to work correctly if not updated too. These are pretty important, especially if the bug involved is causing issues for you.

Product enhancement: These are the updates that are noticeable. New features, changed style, improved performance. Not as important as the other two above, but obviously very nice to have.

Why Software Updates Exist?

Software updates exist for a very genuine reason. When a software program is developed, the software goes through rigorous tests and quality checks. The full version of the software is released only when the developer is fully satisfied with the product’s functionality and stability. Be that as it may though, when the software is used by users in a real-time environment, they may come across several issues with the program. To address those issues, software vendors write patches for that particular software and release it as software updates.

Why Are Software Updates So Important For Your Server?

In order to get the best performance from your server system, and most importantly, to stay protected against malware. Using an unpatched/outdated server is like living in an apartment with no locks on the doors, inviting unwanted intruders. When you ignore updates on your server, you are choosing to leave your server open to infection. Hackers depend on the apathy of users around software updates to keep their malicious attacks running.
Downloading updates and installing them can sometimes be a chore, but the advantages you get from the updates are more than worth it. Luckily, operating systems and a majority of programs installed on your server can do the job for you with very little or no intervention. All you need to do is simply grant your consent when asked, by just the click of a button.