Which version of Umbraco should I use right now
The Umbraco ecosystem has seen an unprecedented amount of change in the past few years. Changes in ownership of the platform, has injected capital and changed ways of working so we are now seeing a regular release cadence for the core CMS. This brings great benefits, like new features and better support for the underlying Microsoft .NET platform.
But, as a Marketing Manager or project sponsor, it can be difficult to know which version of Umbraco you should use right now. Should new projects be built on the latest version of Umbraco, or should you chose the latest Long Term Supported version? Should you stick with a tried and tested version. In many cases, you should rely on your technical team to give good advice, but it’s sometimes confusing and they may not know.
One of the critical aspects of any software is its support lifecycle. A support lifecycle determines the amount of time a vendor will provide support and maintenance for a particular version of a software product. This is an essential factor to consider when choosing a CMS platform for your website or application. In this post, we'll discuss Umbraco's Long Term Support (LTS) versions and why they are crucial for your Umbraco-based projects.
What is Umbraco Long Term Support?
Umbraco Long Term Support (LTS) is a release of the Umbraco CMS that is supported for an extended period, typically up to three years. LTS releases receive regular bug fixes and security patches, and critical updates for up to three years, after which the product will no longer receive any further updates, and support will be discontinued.
Umbraco LTS releases provide a stable and reliable platform for organizations that require long-term support and maintenance for their websites or applications. This is particularly useful for businesses that cannot afford to continually update their CMS to the latest version or those who require stability and predictability.
What is Standard Support?
Umbraco Standard Support Release (SSR) is a release of the Umbraco CMS that is supported for a shorter period than the Long Term Support (LTS) versions, typically up to one year. SSR releases receive regular bug fixes and security patches, and critical updates for up to one year, after which the product will no longer receive any further updates, and support will be discontinued.
The Umbraco SSR versions are ideal for organizations that require a CMS platform that is updated frequently, and they are willing to upgrade regularly to access the latest features and improvements. Unlike the LTS versions, which prioritize stability and long-term support, the SSR versions are focused on delivering the latest features and functionalities.
Umbraco typically releases several SSR versions in between each LTS release to provide the latest features and improvements to users.
Why choose LTS over STS?
Here are some of the reasons why Umbraco LTS is a wise choice for your website or application:
- Stability and reliability: Umbraco LTS versions provide a stable and reliable platform that has been tested thoroughly and proven to be secure and robust.
- Long-term support and maintenance: Umbraco LTS versions receive regular bug fixes, security patches, and critical updates for up to three years, ensuring that your website or application remains secure and functional.
- Reduced maintenance costs: Since Umbraco LTS versions are supported for an extended period, you can avoid the cost and disruption associated with frequent upgrades.
- Predictable release cycles: With Umbraco LTS, you can expect regular updates and bug fixes on a predictable schedule, ensuring that your website or application remains up-to-date and secure.
- Support from the Umbraco community: Umbraco is a vibrant community of developers, designers, and users who are continually contributing to the platform, providing support, and developing new features.
What is the impact of a version being End of Life?
If a version of Umbraco is end of life, it doesn’t mean that it’s inherently broken or that it won’t work. Many of the older versions of Umbraco released 10 years ago continue to work. However, Umbraco won’t release any patches or fixes to remediate in the event of a bug or more importantly a security vulnerability is found in the application.
You don’t have to upgrade, but your approach may increase the likelihood of your site being affected by a security vulnerability which could present a reputational risk or compromise your legal compliance with respect to personal or financial data, or a bug which impacts the service.
Which versions are End of Life or Going to be End-of-Life in the next 12 months?
According the the latest schedule of Umbraco versions in Long Term Support, as of 02-May-2023, the following versions of Umbraco are currently unsupported:
- All versions of Umbraco before Version 7 - Released on 21-Nov-2013;
- Umbraco 9 - released on 28-Sep-2021 - support ended on 16-Dec-2022.
The following versions of Umbraco will go end of life in the next 12 months:
- Umbraco 7 - released on 21-Nov-2013 - security phase ends on 01-Dec-2023;
- Umbraco 11 - released on 01-Dec-2022 - security phase ends on 01-Dec-2023.
What is the current and next LTS versions of Umbraco?
Umbraco 10 is the current LTS version of Umbraco and has a supported life through to 16-Jun-2025.
The next LTS release is Umbraco 13, due for release in 14-Dec-2023, with a planned life through to 14-Dec-2026.
Which version of Umbraco do you recommend building on?
We recommend clients build or procure new projects on an LTS release to guarantee the longest life for their project.
However, there is a caveat to this, unless there are features in the latest (non-LTS) that you need.
In all cases we recommend that clients aim keep their sites patched to the latest version of their current release, or to the latest security patch at the least.
If you need help, advice or guidance on which version of Umbraco to build your next project on, we’re happy to help. We can provide an informal call with one of our Umbraco exports, who can guide you through the complexity of which version to build your site on, so just get in contact with us.
If you have a site built on an existing version of Umbraco, and you’d like to better understand the impact of this on your site, and the risks your organisation might face, then you could use our free Umbraco Health Check tool. In the space of about 10 minutes, we’ll ask a number of questions to understand the likelihood of a problem, as well as the impact any problems might have on your organisation.
If you’d prefer to hand this over to one of our Umbraco experts to do for you, then please consider our Health Check service.
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