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Google Webmaster Tools message about upgrading Joomla

     

travelin cat

1:57 pm on Apr 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator travelin_cat is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



This morning I had this message in my Webmaster Tools account:
Dear site owner or webmaster of http://www.example.com/,
As of the last crawl of your website, you appear to be running Joomla 1.7. Google recommends that you update to the latest release. Older or unpatched software may be vulnerable to hacking or malware that can hurt your users. To download the latest release, visit the Joomla download page. If you have already updated to the latest version of Joomla, please disregard this message.
If you have any additional questions about why you are receiving this message, Google has provided more background information in a blog post about this subject.
Best wishes,
Google Search Quality Team

First time I have ever had the big G tell me I needed to upgrade my Joomla account.

netmeg

2:08 pm on Apr 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member netmeg is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



I've heard of them doing it for WordPress (although never seen it - I keep my stuff updated, ork ork) so it doesn't surprise me if they're also covering Joomla, Drupal, and other CMS stuff as well.

travelin cat

2:27 pm on Apr 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator travelin_cat is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



I had forgotten about this old hobby site. Guess it's good that Google is keeping tabs on it for me.

AndyA

2:31 pm on Apr 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I think messages like this are very helpful, and it's great that Google is reminding people to update.

backdraft7

2:46 am on Apr 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



@AndyA - Really? helpful? What if I custom programmed the Joomla core myself to exceed any security specs for a specific application?
Next Google will be telling me to change the oil in my truck and void it's warranty of THEY think I didn't do it yet. Nice thought, but no thanks Google. We don't need Big Brother now.

BillyS

3:09 am on Apr 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member billys is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



I had forgotten about this old hobby site. Guess it's good that Google is keeping tabs on it for me.

Joomla 1.7 came out in January 2011, the last release was in July 2011. That doesn't seem old relative to some of the 1990's sites Google is showing in the SERPs now. Panda should be called the Nostalgic update.

I'm courious how Google knew what version you were running. We had a custom security site built on the 1.0 series and decided to upgrade to 1.5.25 (now 1.5.26) about two months ago. For security reasons, we remove references to Joomla...

How do you think Google knew?

AndyA

12:55 pm on Apr 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



@backdraft7: Yes, really. A lot of people forget or don't update, which leaves them vulnerable. It's great if you've made changes to yours to provide more security, but the average user likely has not, nor would they even know where to begin to do such a thing.

rlange

1:05 pm on Apr 18, 2012 (gmt 0)



backdraft7 wrote:
@AndyA - Really? helpful?

Absolutely.

What if I custom programmed the Joomla core myself to exceed any security specs for a specific application?

It's still in your best interest to merge in any security updates from later versions of the software. If you already keep up-to-date with those fixes, simply prevent Joomla from outputting it's current version number. Google can't know you're outdated if you don't tell it.

Next Google will be telling me to change the oil in my truck and void it's warranty of THEY think I didn't do it yet. Nice thought, but no thanks Google. We don't need Big Brother now.

Oh boy... Google Derangement Syndrome again.

--
Ryan

jmccormac

1:53 pm on Apr 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



I'm building a country level search engine at the moment and one of the biggest quality issues is compromised sites. Many of these sites are using Joomla and out of date plug-ins. It is probably easier for Google to e-mail people about the problem.

@BillyS Joomla has a particular page structure/site architecture that differentiates it from other CMS. Perhaps Google was just advising all people using Joomla to upgrade. Then again, I've given up trying to figure out what those twiddlers in Google are up to as it is just too much unnecessary stress.

Regards...jmcc

netmeg

2:05 pm on Apr 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member netmeg is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



I for one think it's great; I've dealt with a lot of hacked WordPress sites, and have heard of even more. And the types of hacks that are common, the user doesn't even know until he sees his sitelinks are full of ads for pills, or his meta description tags and titles have been rewritten in Google.

As for versions - I have no experience with Joomla, so I don't know that one, but unless you specific hide it, you can tell the version of WordPress from the source code.

backdraft7

2:49 pm on Apr 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



I think you are all missing the point. Anyone that needs Google to remind them to update their scripts needs to be hit in the head with a tack hammer and is likely a noob who installed it after reading chapter one of the "how to get rich on Google" ebook. Manage your projects or don't do them at all.

Oh, and if you don't subscribe to GDS, then stick your head back in the sand or try to tell me with a straight face that they really know what they are doing.

BillyS

2:59 pm on Apr 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member billys is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



@BillyS Joomla has a particular page structure/site architecture that differentiates it from other CMS.

I get that part, maybe even the robots.txt directory excludes gives it away. But even if Google could tell it was a Joomla site, I still don't understand how they could tell what version you're using.

I'm okay with reminders, but I don't trust Google, I'm wondering if this is one of their 500 indicators of quality.

jmccormac

3:11 pm on Apr 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



@backdraft7 The thing that most people don't see with the web is that much of it is brochureware (I include Google in this as that Wikipedia with a shopping cart blog post is quite worrying in its level of cluelessness). This means that the sites are very often fire and forget ones for small businesses where the web developer's involvement ends when the site goes online and the customer is happy. However it is these untended brochureware sites that will often have out of date plug-ins. The owner is very probably non-technical and may even be unaware that their site has been compromised. Not every site owner is a web developer.

@BillyS It might be a blanket e-mail but given the way that Google has banjaxed things with Adsense and Panda, it might not be worth risking a penalty.

Regards...jmcc

netmeg

3:21 pm on Apr 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member netmeg is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



I think you are all missing the point. Anyone that needs Google to remind them to update their scripts needs to be hit in the head with a tack hammer and is likely a noob who installed it after reading chapter one of the "how to get rich on Google" ebook. Manage your projects or don't do them at all.


The sad thing is, I think you really mean that.

Those of us who work with small businesses, without web developers or budgets or time for them, have a bit more enlightened take on it. I think you're allowing your other issues with Google to overset this one.

travelin cat

3:31 pm on Apr 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator travelin_cat is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



BillyS, on this site we did not remove the "generator" meta tag, because we are not concerned about security so this is in the source:

<meta name="generator" content="Joomla! 1.7 - Open Source Content Management" />

Joomla has gotten very good about nagging users to upgrade. You get reminded of the need to update to the latest version on the back end and it is a one touch operation, similar to what WordPress uses.

backdraft7

3:53 pm on Apr 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



Not every site owner is a web developer.

Nor do they need to be...
Wordpress: one click updates. wow, that's a tough one!
Joomla: The developer should install Akeeba Admin Tools & BackUp, again, one click updates.
That's the beauty of a modern CMS. If a developer is setting it up, then the onus is on them.

If you're gonna drive the car, know how to use it.

I'm not saying this is such a bad notice, I'm just worried what's next?, "Your code is not 100% WC3 compliant"?

I think you're allowing your other issues with Google to overset this one.


My other issues? LOL!
You still ticked at my accidentally replying to you as nutmeg? sorry...

netmeg

5:17 pm on Apr 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member netmeg is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



Nope. Just glad we don't live in the web according to backdraft7, because it would be mighty hard for most small businesses to get into.

backdraft7

5:47 pm on Apr 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



Just glad we don't live in the web according to backdraft7, because it would be mighty hard for most small businesses to get into.


Since when is it easy?
Maybe back in the day when a 3rd grader could slap up a website and get ranked it was.
Nowadays there are so many wannabe webmasters that G never lists them. And rightly so.

This is nothing more than one big game of King of the Mountain...not all can, nor deserve to be on top.
Play by the rules, provide original content, keep your scripts up to date...you know the drills.

Again, my point being that if you want to be successful, it's not G's responsibility to notify you that your scripts are out of date. In most cases your server should be doing that notification for you. Mine does. And useful or not, it just seems to me like one more of Google's ever expanding encroachments.

There's no need to get personal OK? You may think my opinions are not in line with yours, but for this one lets agree to disagree, sound good to you?

jmccormac

5:49 pm on Apr 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



If you're gonna drive the car, know how to use it.
Yes but most people do not know how to change the crankshaft in their car.

Regards...jmcc

travelin cat

5:56 pm on Apr 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator travelin_cat is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



it's not G's responsibility to notify you that your scripts are out of date

Correct, however it's really nice that they do. No one is forcing you to upgrade, they are just notifying you that your site is not current.

This is in no way a Big Brother intrusion, if it were, they would REQUIRE you to upgrade.

backdraft7

6:09 pm on Apr 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



if it were, they would REQUIRE you to upgrade


Ok, then leave your scripts at the deprecated version and see what happens to your listing. I'd say that's a requirement.

There are so many other ways to get hacked or have your site used as an open relay for spam that I just don't find this notice particularly useful. You may, I don't. I also see it as a precursor for ranking site architecture quality in the future. Like I said, next they may be checking for Wc3 compliance...you ever run Google on the W3 site? 34 errors. Yet, they may one day use that as another metric for site ranking.

If you haven't already figured it out, I love to play devil's advocate. Someone has to think unlike a lemming.

backdraft7

6:21 pm on Apr 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



Yes but most people do not know how to change the crankshaft in their car.

And that's why we have mechanics.

Somehow we're now on the idea that being a small business is a right. It's not.
It's a privilege and responsibility that requires some outlay of cash and time (to learn) to run.

As a side note... I had the wife of a good friend call me a few months ago. She excitedly said "I just got an email address! I want to start an online business!". (I laughed to myself) Her needs were modest, she just wanted to make a few hundred a month (laughed again) but had no clue to what she wanted to do (chuckle). Nice lady, but if she could slap up an MFA site in 10 minutes, throw a bunch of articles on it and make some quick Adsense bucks, it probably would not be the type of site that any of you would like to see cluttering the web... x 100,000,0000 other wannabes. We already have enough of those. I don't consider that a "small business". It's more like space junk.

So now I digress...Is that the type of web you want to see? A bunch of people who can't even update their Wordpress or Joomla installation? I blame this all on fantastico and the like that make abusing a CMS much too easy.

Perhaps I'm changing my mind here...if Google does send the warning, then perhaps that's a good thing, but if they don't respond by updating the script within a certain time frame, I say boot 'em!

BillyS

7:43 pm on Apr 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member billys is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



Yet, they may one day use that as another metric for site ranking.


Google doesn't have to play by the rules, they make the rules.

jmccormac

5:22 am on Apr 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



And that's why we have mechanics.

And to make the point more obvious, not everyone is a web developer and that's why there are web developers.

So now I digress...Is that the type of web you want to see? A bunch of people who can't even update their Wordpress or Joomla installation? I blame this all on fantastico and the like that make abusing a CMS much too easy.
It isn't a case of wanting to see a particular version of the web. I run TLD web surveys that classify the web usage of millions of websites and I also build search engines. While CMSes like Joomla and Wordpress are great development tools, updating content still requires time and discipline that many small business owners do not have so these great sites are often left without updates. And if these website owners can't be bothered to update the content, they often are equally lax about updating the plug-ins and software (in their terms, that's the web developer's job).

Regards...jmcc
 

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