Should Your Server Run Automatic Updates?

Possibly all operating systems offer an automatic update feature. Linux distributions commonly used for servers definitely do, and this feature may even be enabled by default on some. Should you run automatic server updates? The following are some possible benefits and a few possible disadvantages.


  • Your server will be updated as soon as updates are available
  • It is hands off, so you do not have to remember to run updates


  • Updates run during peak traffic hours may slow your machine
  • Some updates may introduce new bugs that you do not have time to verify before installation

A possible compromise between system automated updates and manual updates is to schedule update times using cron. That way, the updates still happen automatically, but you can control when and under what circumstances they actually run. Regardless of which method you choose, you must make sure your updates happen in a timely manner.

If you perform updates manually, set a regular schedule for checking and installing them. If you run automatic updates, you should still routinely check to see which updates were installed and what systems they might affect. In either case, be thorough and always be aware of what is happening on your server.

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