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Upgrading to 1.5 Stable

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It is risky to upgrade a live site without testing the upgrade process first. So before upgrading the live site you need to set up a test site which is as close as possible to the configuration of your live site, then test the upgrade on that. When you are happy with the process you can apply it to the live site (having taken a fresh backup of the live site first, of course).

Step 1: Download the Joomla! 1.5.0 Stable package

The Joomla! 1.5.0 Stable package is available from the JoomlaCode site. It is available in three different package formats. These are indicated by the file extension which is either .zip, .tar.gz or .tar.bz2. The contents of each of these alternative packages is identical so just choose the one most convenient for you.

In order to ensure that the package you downloaded was copied correctly it is a good idea to compare the MD5 checksum of the downloaded package to the published checksum.

Step 2: Make a copy of your live site

Ideally this should be on the same platform (operating system, PHP and database version) as the live site, but don't worry if this is not possible. Making a working copy of a Joomla! website involves copying the files and the database (these are separate activities). You will then need to amend the configuration.php to reflect the new location. Check that your test site is fully functional.

Step 3: Install the package on the copy site

There are different ways of installing a package file depending on your particular circumstances. If you have difficulty with one of these methods, then simply try another.

  • Alternative 1: Unpack the package file on your local computer then use an FTP client to upload them to your site.
  • Alternative 2: Use an FTP client to upload the package to your site, then use a terminal session (eg. SSH) to connect to your site and unpack the files there.
  • Alternative 3: If your hosting provider gives you access to your site via some sort of web control panel like CPanel or Plesk, you can use the control panel file manager to upload the package, then use a terminal session (which might also be available via the control panel) to unpack the package file and overwrite all changed files on the server.

Step 4: Apply database changes

If you are upgrading from Joomla! 1.5 RC3 or earlier, then you must apply changes to the database. If you are upgrading from Joomla! 1.5 RC4 you can skip this step.

Locate the directory /installation/sql/mysql/. In it you will find the following files which must be used in sequence to apply the necessary database changes.

File Comments
diff_rc1_to_rc2.sql For upgrading from RC1 to RC2
diff_rc2_to_rc3.sql For upgrading from RC2 to RC3
diff_rc3_to_rc4.sql For upgrading from RC3 to RC4
diff.sql For upgrading from RC4 to Stable

The last of these is actually not required as there were no database changes following RC4. Note that all these files assume that your database prefix is set to the default "jos_". If this is not the case then you must manually edit the files to reflect the database prefix that you are using.

Save the file and exit the text editor.

Now apply the diff.sql file to your database.

Step 5: Test thoroughly

Check out as much of the functionality on your test site as possible. If there are any problems that will affect the way that you will need to handle the live upgrade then make a written note of them for later.

If you find errors you might check out the following possibilities:

  • Ensure that all of the files were properly transferred. There have been verified reports of some FTP clients not properly transferring files across to a server without notifying the user of such a problem. One possible cause of this problem is that under certain circumstances the web server locks the files it is using and the FTP-server can't update those files. If this is the case you might try taking the site offline shortly during the FTP transfer.

Step 6: Backup your live site

Take a full backup copy of your live site immediately prior to upgrading. You may want to take your site offline prior to doing this so that updates are not lost.

Step 7: Install the package on your live site

There are different ways of installing a package file depending on your particular circumstances. If you have difficulty with one of these methods, then simply try another.

  • Alternative 1: Unpack the package file on your local computer then use an FTP client to upload them to your site.
  • Alternative 2: Use an FTP client to upload the package to your site, then use a terminal session (eg. SSH) to connect to your site and unpack the files there.
  • Alternative 3: If your hosting provider gives you access to your site via some sort of web control panel like CPanel or Plesk, you can use the control panel file manager to upload the package, then use a terminal session (which might also be available via the control panel) to unpack the package file and overwrite all changed files on the server.

The alternative selected may be different from that used in step 3 if the hosting platform for the site is different.

Step 8: Apply database changes to your live site

Repeat Step 4 for your live site.

Step 9: Make any other changes required

Referring to your notes from step 5, make any other changes that are required to bring the site into operation following the installation.

Step 10: Check your live site to make sure it is working correctly

Don't assume that the upgrade will work flawlessly just because the test upgrade worked. Check to make sure that nothing untoward has happened. It could be that differences between the live site and test site platforms will bring out a problem that you did not notice during testing. If you find a problem and it cannot be resolved quickly you might have to rollback the upgrade using the backup copy you created in step 6.

Hopefully all will be well and you can relax. If you have any questions before, during, or after the upgrade then please ask them on the Joomla! 1.5 Migrating and Upgrading Forum.

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