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:
For new sites, the Joomla! 3 series is the preferred series and starting on it avoids an update 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. Joomla 2.5 will reach EOL (end of life) 31 Dec 2014.
Sites that are currently on Joomla 2.5 are encouraged to start planning now for an upgrade to 3.3 or greater, unless you want to move 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 and template are compatible before upgrading. (See the “How do I find Joomla 3.x compatible extensions?” FAQ below for more information)
Yes, you will be able to install extensions compatible with Joomla 3.x. The Joomla Extension Directory (JED) will have a compatible icon to know which extensions are Joomla 3.x compatible; however, the best place to check is the developer’s site.
Template companies are offering Joomla 3 templates right now taking advantage of Joomla 3's responsive design. 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.
Visit Joomla Extension Directory (JED), which will have 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.
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.
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.
In most cases, you will need to start planning on an upgrade to Joomla! 3.x. Joomla 2.5 will continue be supported until December 31st of 2014 and you can update directly to Joomla 3. Joomla is tried-and-tested thoroughly by other users already and stable for production sites now.
You will need to verify your template and components will work with Joomla 3.x before upgrading. All core components are upgrade ready right now.
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.
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.
Joomla 3.1 has been released and is now available for downloading here!
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.
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.
If you prefer a more 'Hands on' approach then you can migrate manually.
(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
You can get more information at http://www.joomla.org/3.
We hope you enjoy Joomla 3 as much as we do! Thanks for reading this FAQ.
Gary Jay Brooks, Nick Savov, Elin Waring, Jon Neubauer, Guillermo Bravo
Sully Sullivan, Michael Babker, Andrea Tarr, Mark Dexter, Brian Teeman