Joomla 3 FAQ

From Joomla! Documentation

Revision as of 08:16, 28 September 2012 by Tom Hutchison (Talk | contribs)


What are the major differences between Joomla! 2.5 and 3.0?

The most noticeable difference is the totally revamped administrator, which is updated to a modern design with many simpler and more friendly user-interfaces. Also, starting with Joomla! 3.0, Joomla! is now device responsive. Simply, Joomla! is mobile friendly and can be used with any modern device.

In addition, there are dozens of improvements to the details of all of the Joomla core. Some highlights are:

Star icon.png A new installer which you will notice when creating a new Joomla 3.x install.
Star icon.png Joomla 3 is packed with goodies for extension developers, such as Bootstrap support and jQuery support.
Star icon.png Joomla 3.1 adds Tagging capability.

How long is each Joomla! version supported?

How long is each Joomla! version supported?

I'm building a brand new site. Should I launch a Joomla! 2.5 site or a 3.0 site?

For most new sites, the Joomla! 3 series is the preferred series and starting on it avoids a mini-migration from Joomla 2.5 later down the road. Starting on the Joomla 3 series for a new site, also provides you with longer backward compatible support (with one-click upgrades) than starting a new site on 2.5 right now, because support for 3.x ends in 2016.

When starting a new site, please plan ahead and check to make sure that any extensions (including templates) that you plan to use are Joomla 3 compatible. If not, then Joomla 2.5 still provides you a well supported option in the meantime.

Sites that are currently on Joomla 2.5 are encouraged to stay on 2.5, until Joomla 3.5’s release, unless they need to be moved over sooner to take advantage of Joomla 3’s new features. We’ve provided a one-click upgrade from Joomla 2.5 to any Joomla 3 version and you just have to make sure that all your extensions are compatible before upgrading. (See the “How do I find Joomla 3.x compatible extensions?” FAQ below for more information)

If I launch a Joomla! 3.0 site, will I be able to install extensions?

Yes, you will be able to install extensions compatible with Joomla 3.x. The Joomla Extension Directory (JED) will have a Joomla 3.x compatible icon to know which extensions are Joomla 3.x compatible; however, the best place to check is the developer’s site.

How do I get a Joomla! 3.0 template?

Some template companies will be offering Joomla 3 templates either right away or shortly after release, but you will need to ask each one. Some have already announced that their templates will be ready for Joomla 3 when it is released, but others have not. Also, please note that some Joomla 2.5 templates will work in Joomla 3 without any issues or any changes needed. It's best to consult with the developers on this.

How do I find Joomla! 3.0 compatible extensions?

Visit Joomla Extension Directory (JED), which will have Joomla 3.0 compatible icons to let you know which extensions are Joomla 3.x compatible; however, the best place to check is your extension developer’s site.

Will my Joomla! 2.5 extensions work with Joomla! 3.0?

Extensions that are native to Joomla 2.5 should work on Joomla 3.0 with very little change, if any. Components and templates will need the most work, while modules and plugins should work without issue (assuming they do not use deprecated methods). Extensions that support Joomla 2.5 and 1.5 in the same package will likely not work right away, until the developers update them for Joomla 3 compatibility.

In short, it depends on the extension. The Joomla Project has made the process relatively easy for most extensions, however for some extensions it’s going to take some work. To be certain, let the developers of the extensions know that you want to use their extension on Joomla 3 and consult with their documentation.

What happens if I launch a Joomla! 3.0 site, but the extension I want is for a 2.5 site?

You need to speak with the extension developer to see if they have plans to release that extension for Joomla 3 in the immediate future. Developers do have to make some changes but how extensive they are depends on the extension.

Should I update from Joomla! 2.5 to 3.0?

In most cases, probably not. Joomla 2.5 will continue be supported until December 31st of 2014 and you can update directly to Joomla 3 once it’s tried-and-tested thoroughly by other users. You can even wait until Joomla 3.5 with release scheduled for Spring 2014 and still get a direct upgrade. The only reason you should update is if you need Joomla 3’s features or want to be on the leading edge.

I have a 2.5 site and I see a that the Joomla! update manager lets me upgrade to 3.0; should I do it since it’s letting me?

Not unless you’re 1000% sure. By default, Joomla will not let you update to 3.x unless you activate the option within the Joomla! Update component (administrator >> Component >> Joomla! Update >> Options >> Update server >> Short Term Support). If for some reason you’ve changed this, and you’d like the updater to stop letting you upgrade, change the setting to Long Term Support. After making this change, you’ll only receive updates for Joomla 2.5.

Notice: You should not upgrade from Joomla 2.5 to Joomla 3.x unless you are certain that all of your additionally installed extensions (from third party developers), especially templates, are Joomla 3.x ready or have a Joomla 3.x version that you can upgrade to.

What’s next after Joomla 3.0?

Joomla 3.1 will be released around April 15th, 2013. Don't worry though, because it's a one-click upgrade and will be backward compatible. If you’re on Joomla 3.0, you will need to upgrade to 3.1 at that time using the one-click upgrader. If you’re still on Joomla 2.5, you can continue to wait until Joomla 3.5 and still get a direct upgrade.

Info non-talk.png
General Information

Joomla 3.1 has been released and is now available for downloading here!

Okay, I’m ready and want to upgrade. How do I do the upgrade?

  • First, review the system requirements for Joomla 3.x and make sure that your server environment meets those requirements.
  • Second, make sure that all your extensions (especially, your templates) are Joomla 3.x compatible.
  • Third, create a test site and test the upgrade on the test site first.
  • Fourth, consult a trusted developer if you’re not 100% certain about anything.
  • Fifth, make a full backup of your site (files and database).

Once ready, go to the Joomla! Update component. Click on options and change the setting to Short Term Support. Save. You should be notified of the availability of Joomla 3.x. Click the button to install. Clear your browser’s cache to make sure you see the latest changes. That’s it!

Finally, double check and make sure that everything is working properly.

Note: On some hosts you may need to use alternative update methods such as using the extensions installer.

But what if I’m on Joomla 1.5. Will my site break? Do I migrate to 2.5 or 3.0?

Automatic method

Support for Joomla 1.5 has officially ended. Does that mean your 1.5 site will stop working? No, your site will continue to work as it always has. However, Joomla’s developers will not be releasing new versions for Joomla 1.5, so you won’t be getting bug fixes or security fixes. For this reason, it’s recommended to migrate from 1.5.

Moving from 2.5 to any Joomla 3 version is relatively simple, since Joomla has made the process easy for newer versions. Unfortunately, moving from 1.5 is not a trivial task. Fortunately, there are two good extensions that make the process easier: jUpgrade and SP Upgrade.

You have a choice of going straight to Joomla 3.0 or going to 2.5 first. Both SP Upgrade and jUpgrade have versions ready for both versions. Please consult with their documentation on how to migrate from Joomla 1.5 to 3.0/2.5.

Migrate to Joomla 3.0 if all the extensions that you plan to use are Joomla 3.0 compatible. Only some template providers or the extension vendors will be ready for Joomla 3.0 at launch, however most will not be ready until days, weeks or months after. (See the “How do I find Joomla 3.0 compatible extensions?” FAQ for more information)

Migrate to Joomla 2.5 if you want the most stable that Joomla has to offer and/or if you plan on using many extensions.

Manual method

If you prefer a more 'Hands on' approach then you can migrate manually.

  1. Install Akeeba Backup in 1.5 and make a backup. (version compatibility)
  2. Use to export Articles and users . When you select a Section it exports all associated Categories and Articles and creates the sections/categories as categories/sub categories.
  3. Install Joomla 2.5.x (or 3.x.x) without sample data in a subdirectory
  4. Then import the data previously exported from 1.5 into your fresh 2.5.x (or 3.x.x) with J2XML Importer
  5. Install Akeeba Backup in your new Joomla! 2.5/3.5 and make a backup
  6. Create the menu items and install your extensions
  7. Create a backup at regular stages
  8. When ready delete everything on the root(except the new folder) and move the Joomla up a level, see Moving the site among directories/sub-directories for instructions.

(N.B. the live site var may not have a value, if that is the case then leave it with no value)

If at #3 you install Joomla on localhost then at #8 you can use your backup file to install the new site on the root of your Host

OK, final question. Where can I get more information about Joomla 3?

You can get more information at

We hope you enjoy Joomla 3 as much as we do! Thanks for reading this FAQ.

FAQ Contributors:

Gary Jay Brooks, Nick Savov, Elin Waring, Jon Neubauer, Guillermo Bravo

FAQ Reviewers:

Sully Sullivan, Michael Babker, Andrea Tarr, Mark Dexter, Brian Teeman