How reliable are package updates?

I was wondering how much confidence I should have in hitting ‘apply all updates now’ in Virtualmin. I haven’t messed with repositories or anything — my install is very typical.

I ran the install script on top of a clean 10.04LTS install and have made no major alterations other than adding PHP5 support.

Are package updates typically problem free? Should I research each package before installing? I’m running a production server but taking it down for a couple of minutes to restore from a backup wouldn’t be too much of a problem.

A subjective question, I know, I’m just interested to hear people’s experiences. I remember when using Plesk that updates frequently broke things. Is Virtualmin more resilient and capable of handling years of updates without a clean install? Thanks.

IMHO you should always test any software upgrades on a test server first (especially if you can not risk any significant downtimes on your production server).

And always create a backup so that you can completely restore.

Having said that, I think the Virtualmin team has an excellent reputation and the guys write excellent and stable code, and I haven’t experienced any issues so far (in the last six months or so)

Thanks for the reply. I think that every few months, late at night, I’ll just take a snapshot and hit the install button. I’ll then do some tests to check the all major services are working and carry on as usual. I’ll do updates in infrequent, large batches to make isolating problems more straightforward.

Does anyone else have an opinion on this?

There’s two sorts of updates you’re dealing with – updates from your distro, and Virtualmin updates.

You can install all of those from within Virtualmin.

Distro updates are supposed to be safe, and are are tested by the vendor who makes the distro. That said, waiting until the evening to perform them is generally wise, just in case :slight_smile:

I would recommend performing distro updates regularly, as they offer both bugfixes and security fixes. Waiting too long to perform them could potentially be a security risk.

Testing them on another server (even a test one running in the free “Virtualbox”) is wise, though many folks just run them on their production box without an issue.

It wouldn’t hurt to have a backup of your config files before running the updates :slight_smile:

Unlike distro updates, Virtualmin upgrades just affect the control panel, not the entire server. These are typically pretty safe. Though, when not dealing with a security issue, some admins wait a couple of days just to make sure no bugs snuck through the QA process :slight_smile:

I’d definitely recommend not waiting too long to perform package updates – and I suspect most folks here would say that, at most, they’ve only run into minor issues.


Thanks Eric. That clears things up nicely :slight_smile: