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DNN is an open source content management system (CMS) and is currently one of the leading platforms for content management systems internationally.  DNN powers over 750,000 websites globally and has a community with over 1 million members.  Like most open source content management systems, it is constantly evolving. Developers are continuously adding new features, enhancing security, and fixing problems as they arise. To take advantage of these enhancements, fixes, and new features, website administrators must periodically upgrade their websites.  

The process to stay up to date can be somewhat complicated, so it’s best to leave upgrading to developers.  AVS Group values our relationships with our clients and our hope is to foster long-term partnerships. As part of that partnership, we’d like the opportunity to periodically upgrade your website, to both extend its life and to keep it running at its highest potential. When an upgrade becomes available that we feel your site could benefit from, we’ll notify you and provide an estimate for performing the upgrade.The time it takes to perform an upgrade will vary based on various factors including the version of DNN you're using, the modules on your website, and your web server.  Keep reading to learn more about why upgrading is important and how it works.

Just what is an upgrade?

An upgrade is a change to the website that involves merging the new, updated code with the code being used in your website currently. Upgrades are made available as new technology is created for the platform. These upgrades are designed to improve performance, fix various bugs in the site, enhance current features, and add new features to the website. 

 

Taking advantage of new security updates and patches is the number one reason to upgrade your website—whether your platform is DNN, WordPress, or another content management system.

Why upgrade?

It’s important to keep the software you use current, whether it's the Microsoft Office suite, your web browser, your virus protection software, or your entire operating system.  It’s a good idea to keep your website platform up to date as well. Doing so allows you to take advantage of new features and enhancements.  Most of these updates include bug fixes, security upgrades, performance improvements, and new features to enhance your website’s functionality. 

It is especially important to keep your security functions up to date—especially for eCommerce sites—to protect against viruses and security breaches. Taking advantage of new security updates and patches is the number one reason to upgrade your website: whether your platform is DNN, WordPress, or another content management system. It is also important to stay on the cutting edge as new features become available, to ensure users have the best experience possible when visiting your website. Upgrading also helps improve the overall speed and performance of your website. 

How is the website upgraded?

AVS Group will first create a backup of your current website. This way, if for some reason the upgrade fails or an error occurs we are able to quickly revert to the original files. We generally perform this upgrade on a development server, so we can fully test the upgrade before publishing it to the live production server. This means there’s no interruption of service for your website visitors. After taking the backup and creating a copy of the site on the development server, we overwrite the original DNN core files with the new updated ones. This leaves your website design and content in place, but upgrades the platform it is built on. Once the files have been overwritten with the upgrade files, we fully test the website to ensure the design and functionality haven’t been impacted and that the upgrade didn't “break” anything. 

Depending on how many versions behind the website is, we may need to install incremental upgrades to help ensure things don’t break. This involves backing up the site, performing an incremental upgrade, testing, creating another backup, and then performing the next upgrade, until the site is on the current version. This helps alleviate problems with “jumping” too many versions ahead all at once. 

During the upgrade process, we also upgrade any modules that are out of date. Once we’re satisfied that the upgrades have been performed successfully and no issues have been introduced to the website, we publish the files out to the production (live) server, overwriting the existing site. During this time there should be no interruption of service to visitors, though we generally perform this during off-peak times just to be safe. Once the files have been transferred to the production server, we re-test the website one final time to ensure everything was transferred correctly, and this completes the upgrade process. 

If the upgrade introduces significant interface or functionality changes, we provide training to website administrators to help familiarize them with the changes, in addition to providing updated documentation.  

When should I upgrade and how long does the process take?

It is recommended to not fall further than one major version behind. AVS Group monitors the various upgrades and will notify you when one becomes available that we think you should take advantage of. Additionally, if you have an eCommerce site, it’s important that you upgrade more frequently to take advantage of security fixes and help ensure your site is at its most secure at all times.  

The upgrade process can be completed over the course of 3-10 business days, depending on how complicated it might be. During this time, any changes to the “live” website will also need to also be implemented on the “development” server where we’re implementing and testing the upgrade, so it’s best to choose a time when few changes need to be made. 

Who does the upgrades?

AVS group can turnkey the entire process for you! We will work to complete the upgrade while still allowing you and your customers uninterrupted access to your website.  

The creation and maintenance of a website is a continuous—and often time consuming—process, but AVS Group is here to work with you for the long run.  

If you have questions or would like AVS Group to upgrade your website, please contact us! We look forward to hearing from you.

 

 


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