Should I Upgrade My Semiologic Pro Installation?

Since Semiologic Pro 5.5, users are urged to upgrade their installation from within their site’s admin area. Odds are you’re reading this because you followed the link in the update notice. It was introduced for good reasons.

How Frequent Are Updates?

Semiologic Pro gets updated on a very regular basis. Since its initial release in 2005, its stable version has been updated every 6 to 8 weeks. With each new release, we have been striving to keep things as stable and reliable as we can, in addition to improving our software.

Bleeding edge versions of Semiologic Pro get updated even more frequently. Part of our quality assurance procedure involves letting users test a public beta. The 100 or so testers — people like you — identify issues by testing the software with real data. Early bleeding edge releases are occasionally updated on a daily basis as a result.

What’s In The Updates?

Stable updates typically occur shortly after WordPress updates, and include the latest version of WordPress as a rule of thumb. WordPress updates tend to occur on a monthly basis, and usually comprise three things:

  1. Security fixes
  2. Bug fixes
  3. New features

Upgrade Semiologic Pro, Not WordPress

As WordPress introduces new features, plugins and themes occasionally break.

This is not a joke: Many users who upgraded WordPress 2.3 on their own — instead of upgrading Semiologic Pro — turned their site into a nuclear wasteland.

Before we release new updates, we spend a lot of time making sure that nothing breaks; and when something has become irremediably broken, we ensure it cleanly gets removed or replaced.

The Importance Of Security Fixes

Of all the reasons to upgrade, however, security is the most important.

WordPress’ position in the blogging platform world is comparable to that of Microsoft Windows in the OS world. The coder community is plentiful; as is the user base. And large user bases attract crackers for all sorts of reasons.

The fact that sites get hacked is not a fiction. It happens to everyone. Including, I must confess, myself. I once had forgotten to update one of my several sites for about 6 months; what had to happen eventually did.

It can get very nasty, too. Early 2008, I ended up finding a genuine worm on a server. Using the backdoor it left open, you could execute arbitrary shell commands on the server. It had — luckily — never been used, but investigating the log files highlighted someone tried to use it the day after I terminated it.

Here’s what a long time Semiologic Pro user has to say about the mess it can turn into when you neglect upgrades:

I love my Semiologic website, and really enjoy how simple yet powerful Semiologic Pro is to use. However, I neglected to keep up with the yearly maintenance package.

Man, was I ever sorry when, of course, my WordPress got way out of date, and my site got infected with malware, and Google marked my site as potentially harmful! My site was marked as dangerous in search results, most browsers stopped people from getting to my site, and my Twitter account even got suspended in the mess.

Amazingly, Denis stepped right up to get my website fixed and working perfectly again, despite my subscription being years out of date. That will never happen again…I am keeping my Semiologic current from now on!

Michele Caron

Hopefully, all of this will have convinced you that forgoing a Semiologic Pro update should never be an option for someone who is serious about his online business. Especially given the upgrade wizard (Wizards / Upgrade) and the virtual assistants who are available to help you out.