Joomla! is a fully-featured Content Management System that runs about 3% of the world's top one million websites. Like any software, updates are released from time to time to help keep it secure, squash some bugs; and advance the feature set. In this article, we show you what steps to take when Joomla updates are pending, before and after you apply those updates.
Disclaimer - This advice will be all you need for most sites, but do feel free to contact us if you need specialist Joomla update help.
How to complete a Joomla update safely
1. Run a backup - we can't stress this enough. Before you do anything that may affect the setup, you should always run a backup. It takes very little time and can save a lot of headache if something goes awry during the process. We recommend the Akeeba backup extension.
2. Switch off caching. In order to see any changes immediately, including any problems that might arise, you should switch off caching before the update, and back on after you're done. This will also clear your cache out and have it start afresh after the upgrade.
3. Check extension updates. Pending extension updates should generally be applied before core updates. Some extensions may not have released a version compatible with the latest core Joomla version, so it's worth checking these before you decide to update the core. In some cases you may have to wait a few days for the extension developer to catch-up with the Joomla core release schedule. To update extensions, navigate to Extensions > Manage > Update.
4. Check and apply core update. Joomla follows the normal major.minor naming scheme when it comes to versions. As of this article, the core version is 3.6.4. Any small updates to that will change the last (minor version) number, the next release will be 3.6.5. Updating between minor versions tends to have very few compatibility issues. When the major version changes (next one being 3.7) you may need to review the release notes but the version roadmap for Joomla shows these should all be 'one-click' updates going forward. If your current version is 1.x; 1.5; 1.6; 1.7 or 2.5 then you will need to migrate to the latest major version. Migrations are generally a bigger project, where you need to import the data into a fresh filesystem and often migrate extension data too. Your web developer can help you with that or we offer a free migration assessment for Joomla migrations. To complete the update, navigate to Components > Joomla! Update. Read the instructions and click 'Install the Update' when you're ready.
5. Check it succeeded. Once you complete the update, you should see a success screen and the version seen in the status bar should also change. You can now switch your caching back on, and log out!
Time for a migration? When we update between major Joomla versions, like from Joomla 3 to Joomla 4, it's called a migration. This can be a little more tricky, so if you need assistance get in touch for Joomla 3 to Joomla 4 Upgrade Help