One of the great benefits of using an open source CMS (content management system) like Drupal to deliver your web content is that there is a global community of developers actively engaged in maintaining the integrity of the product.
When compared to a proprietary system, it is easy to appreciate how difficult it is for companies that market and support their own platform to maintain its security and integrity. Open source wins hands down when you compare contributions.
Open Source Benefit
In our experience, this is where one of the real benefits of an Open Source community supported platform is often missed by design and development companies offering hosting and support services for he CMS – patching
Patching in this context refers to the application of updates (patches) to existing code to either enhance functionality, correct issues or “patch” vulnerabilities.
Most widely used open source content management systems, like Drupal, WordPress and Magento regularly release updates to modules, widgets and extensions. These are easily accessible and robust.
The opportunity missed is in the application of the patch to a hosted environment, often a website, once designed and developed and handed to a customer is forgotten. No real attention is given to the environment until an issue arises.
A company focused on the delivery of an exceptional online experience for visitors to sites that they have designed, developed and now host will ensure that the environments (CMS) are regularly patched.
Unfortunately we don’t all do this. When looking for your web development partner it may be worthwhile asking the question about ongoing support, and whether it is included in your hosting costs.
Cutting corners - Don't do it!
With most web development there is a level of customisation that takes place to the content management system to ensure it delivers the functionality required by you the client. In customising functionality adjustments are sometimes required to the behaviour of supported modules and extensions, how these adjustments are made has a significant bearing on the maintainability of the website. Often in an effort to drive down cost, corners are cut, when this is done the ability to apply patches to a component is put at risk. It is worth investing in customising functionality correctly to ensure the maintainability of your content management system in the future.
We often come across websites that have been developed for a client with no thought for ongoing maintenance, This is fine while everything is new, when it comes time to close a vulnerability (patch the website), it is not as straightforward as it might of been and will incur additional cost.
Open Source we still believe offers the best solution when you are looking for a platform to develop your new website on. When you are choosing a partner, take the time to understand their process around customisation and ongoing patching of the environment. It will save you in the long run.
At Koda Web we patch all of our web environment on a 3 monthly cycle, this means that four times a year your website will be updated to the latest versions of available software, ensuring the integrity and supportability of your investment.
Patching! easy to do, easily forgotten, absolutely important to retaining the integrity of your environment
At Koda we offer support to websites developed elsewhere, you can find out more here.