How to: Upgrade your Joomla site

Yesterday, someone asked me a simple question.  “How do I upgrade my Joomla website to the latest version?”  I answered him, of course.  And because updating Joomla to the latest version is a MUST, I’ll quickly explain you how to get the job done. 

Steps

  1. Determine what update you need.  This depends from website to website.  To find out what package you need, answer the following two questions:
    • What version are you using?
    • Are you using a “Special” version or the regular version of Joomla?

To determine what version you need, log in to the admin panel of your website.  You’ll find the version number at the top right corner, along with the version name if you’re using a special version. 

joomla_version

In the screenshot above, you can see that I’m using the “DutchJoomla” edition of Joomla 1.5.14 (Which is basically Joomla 1.5.14 with Dutch translations).  If, like most people, you’re using the “vanilla” version of Joomla (downloaded from Joomla.org; with language packs installed or not) you’ll just see a version number. 

2.  Go to the download site for your version of Joomla.  For most people, this’ll be joomla.org. (In my case, it’d be dutchjoomla.com).  Go to the download section, and find the update that matches your version.  In my case, I’d download “1.5.14 to 1.5.15 update” from DutchJoomla. 

3.  Once you’ve downloaded the package, unzip it to a folder. 

4.  Open your FTP client, and upload all the folders to your website root (you should see files like configuration.php, and folders like templates, administrator, modules, etc.).  When asked to overwrite files, say “Yes” as overwriting the old files is critical for your update. 

Pro tip:  If you’re not sure about updating, test the latest version of Joomla on your localhost.  And, just in case, make a back-up of your sites’ files before updating. 

5.  When all files are updated, your update is complete. 

Note: everyone who hasn’t upgraded to version 1.5.15 yet, should do so ASAP.  1.5.15 fixes some critical security issues.

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