By John Jenks 31 July 2013, 10:41AM
Many people have the idea that once a website is built, they can leave it there forever and it will be fine. This simply is not true. Depending on the platform on which the website was constructed, there could be any number of parts that must be maintained. There are several commonalities between all websites. Today, we’ll discuss Hosting, Domain Registration, and updates to CMS installations and plug-ins.
The first thing that must be maintained after a website is launched is its hosting. Website hosting is what makes the website readily available over the Internet. At its core, a website is a collection of documents and folders that have been arranged in such a way that they will display through a web browser. These files are sitting on a server, or a physical machine that delivers the files when accessed over the Internet. There are a number of other pieces that go into web hosting and server maintenance, but most people hire a hosting company to handle these tasks. As long as a website is broadcast onto the Internet, it must maintain a viable hosting connection.
The second thing a company must maintain after launching a website is its domain registration. Your domain name is the address you type in to reach your website (e.g. apogeedesignsystems.com). A domain name is very much like online real estate. Once a domain name is made popular by increased traffic, the value of the address can increase as well. Many people purchase and renew a domain name one year at a time, but I recommend purchasing a domain name for at least five years. It is common that the company selling the rights to registration will increase the renewal price after you have owned it for only one year. The first year is normally pretty cheap, $10-20, but I’ve seen domain registration companies increase this price to $50 per year and above for renewals.
CMS Installation & Plug-Ins
The third thing that must be kept up to date on many websites are the Content Management System (CMS) installation and plug-ins. A CMS and plug-ins are used commonly to save time during the development stages. A CMS allows a user to easily edit the content on the website pages, and plug-ins allow a user to integrate desired functionality such as calendars and forms. Companies exist solely to develop and maintain these ‘short-cuts’, and notify the users of their products when they have an update. The most common updates are patches to security vulnerabilities, where they or their users have had the installation compromised by a hacker. This means that if you do not update the CMS or plug-in that has been patched, you are likely to experience the same breech in security and risk losing control of your website. We have seen many websites hacked, from government sites to non-profits and small businesses. Unless you take the time to ensure your website is up to date, no one is exempt from these risks.