Patch vs Hotfix vs Coldfix vs Bugfix: Differences Explained

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Programmers have to be on their A-game to fix bugs, especially once the software is live and people are actively using it. Depending on the type of bug, you’ll have to decide the best way to debug it—with the least amount of impact to the user experience.

Things get even more urgent when a security vulnerability is discovered, and it’s all-hands-on-deck until a solution is implemented that will prevent successful exploitation of the system’s weakness, removing or mitigating a threat’s capability.

threat vulnerability risk

Finding and fixing the problem is just the first step. Then, you have to decide how to fix the problem—and how to roll it out in a way that minimizes the impact to users. That remedy might be delivered via:

  • Patch
  • Hotfix
  • Coldfix
  • Bugfix

Those terms are often used interchangeably, but there are differences in each one based on how a programmer incorporates their solution into the software.

What’s a patch?

In the early days of computing, a patch was, quite literally, a patch….


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