As a web host, you want your servers always operating at their peak efficiency. This is true regardless of whether the consideration is either hardware or software. Once you have made the commitment to deploy cPanel across your server network(s) that you decide on the frequency of updates, as well as which cPanel release you will use.
We are all at least generally familiar with the software development cycles, and different software developers use different release schedules according to the testing phase the software is in at the time. For example, some developers use an alpha, beta, release candidate (RC) type of release schedule, and each of these may have varying levels of releases.
The cPanel release schedule is very similar to the manner in which Linux distributions are released. cPanel updates in a variety of release tiers. Server administrators may then choose which release version is applicable to their system requirements.
The following are cPanel’s current release tiers:
Each of the above cPanel release tiers represents various stages of the software development cycle. While the final decision to which release version to deploy is entirely up to the organizational decision-makers, including the system administrators, the selected version should be selected to meet the goals set for the server network and its assigned tasks.
While most of the cPanel release tiers include fully functioning software, the software contains varying features and stability. Please remember that software continues to evolve with the developers constantly tweaking features and adding functionality. Each release tier is at a specific level of testing in the development cycle. There are some advantages and some disadvantages to each tier.
The stable release tier includes cPanel at its most tested and verified stage. This release has been in service for some time and has been deployed on numerous systems and tested thoroughly. Updates to this release are not as frequent as the other tiers.
The release tier is the most recent release of cPanel. At this stage, the software has been well tested and it includes all of the features for the specific version. Release updates are more frequent than for the stable tier.
A current release may be considered by some as being in the RC stage of development. At this stage, the software lacks some of the features and functionality that is found in the release tier. It is also updated frequently.
The edge release tier contains software that has been subjected to very little testing, and many of its features are subject to further modification. At this stage of the product’s development, there will be very little public information presented. This is essentially a design and programming stage.
Long-term support is the cPanel release tier for those sysadmins who do not wish to upgrade from one release to the next. This release tier will continue as long as cPanel supports the version. As an example of a long-term support tier, Microsoft® encountered users who chose to continue with Windows® XP® for as long as the company continued to support the software.
Sysadmins can update their cPanel software manually, automatically, or not at all. If automatic updates are selected, updates may be scheduled for a certain time of day by setting a cron job. If you choose to update your cPanel installation manually, you may run /usr/local/cpanel/scripts/upcp from the command line whenever you choose.