You may have seen the acronym "EOL," but what does it stand for and what could it mean for your websites and servers? EOL stands for "end-of-life," and is generally used to describe hardware or software that is so old it's no longer supported by the organization that created it originally.
You've probably experienced end-of-life on your personal computer. Have you ever tried to install software but realized your computer's system was too old to support the program? This lack of compatibility with new systems is a major consequence of EOL products.
Just like your personal computer or software can go EOL, your server hardware and software can go EOL, too. This can negatively affect your websites since EOL software is prone to bugs and security issues.
Consequences of Server Software Going EOL
If your server software is out of date, it can dramatically affect your websites and business.
Chances of Website Compromise
If your website is on a server with an old operating system, the chance that your server will be compromised dramatically increases. Old operating systems don't receive security patches. This means as new vulnerabilities are discovered, your system becomes more susceptible to attack. This is true of all the utilities on your server, such as MySQL and any CMS installations like WordPress.
If your server is compromised, it can lead to other major problems, including data loss, down websites, and rejected email.
Lack of Features and Stability
Old operating systems and software packages don't receive security patches, but they also don't receive feature updates. This can cause your websites to work incorrectly and your server to be less stable. Technology is evolving faster than ever, and old operating systems and software can't take advantage of all the new technology available. For example, out-of-date operating systems can't use the most updated security protocols, which can lead to failed PCI compliance tests.
Although we are committed to providing the best support experience possible, servers with EOL software are much more difficult to support than updated servers. For example, CentOS 5, the oldest CentOS operating system Liquid Web currently has, was first released 10 years ago. Since then, there have been two other major CentOS releases. Each operating system is slightly different, which means it's impossible for every member of our Support team to know everything about a ten-year-old operating system.
Preventing Problems Due to EOL Components
There is only one way to prevent the problems that are associated with EOL software: update your server! If your core operating system is going EOL, we will be sure to notify you and work with you to update your server. Depending on your current operating system, this could involve migrating to new server with updated hardware, as well. We also recommend you regularly review and update your server software and CMS installations.
Although updating may cause short term downtime or development work due to code compatibility, keeping your server updated can save you time and frustration in the long run.