Question: what is a patch?
This is a small tutorial and FAQ how to patch Joomla! 1.0.x to a newer version 1.0.y. A discussion for praise and/or comments can be found here. This will not cover the upgrade from Joomla 1.0 to 1.1 when this version will be released, only updates from 1.0.x to 1.0.x.
Question: what is a patch? A patch in Joomla! is a bunch of bugfixes, and might or might not include security issues. The patch announcement will always tell if a patch has fixed security issues. A patch is a minor upgrade. From Joomla! 1.0.0 to Joomla! 1.0.7 is considered a patch. Going from Joomla! 1.0,x to Joomla! 1.1 (which will be released later this year) will be a mayor upgrade and should be treated differently.
Question: how do I know which version I use?
Go to the administrator backend, and check the second line from the bottom, it will look something like this: 'Joomla! 1.0.x Stable [ Sunburst ] 15-Jan-2006 20:00 UTC'. The information that is available here, is pulled from /includes/version.php
Question: should I patch or not?
It is always advised to update to the latest version, especially if a patch has security fixes in it. When you experience no problems with Joomla!, and a patch doesn't contain security fixes, you do not have to patch to the latest version. Take care that if you jump more then one step to take a look at all the announcements. A patch for Joomla! 1.0.7, for example, doesn't contain the announcement for Joomla! 1.0.6. Whenever you experience problems, please search the forums first and try to patch your installation to the latest version.
Question: do I need to install one or more patches to go to the latest version?
When going from Joomla! 1.0.1 to Joomla! 1.0.x for example, you only need to install one patch. This patch will have a name like 'Joomla 1.0.1 to 1.0.x-Stable-Patch Package.zip'. Make sure that you current Joomla! version is the first number and that the version you are going to is the second number. Patches can be obtained here.
Question: Why do patch files have different extensions like .zip, .tar.gz, and .tar.bz?
You only need one of those patches, the different extensions are for different operating systems. People using Windows will probably want to get the .zip files.
Question: Does a patch overwrite my configuration?
No, the patch only overwrites files that are available in an official download. It doesn't overwrite configuration.php for example. There are a few things that you need to know.
A patch can overwrite the default language file /language/english.php. You only need to take care if you made changes to the default english.php. A Joomla! patch doesn't overwrite other language files you have put there yourself.
A patch can also overwrite /images/favicon.ico, for the people who use a favicon.ico and have overwritten this file.
A patch can overwrite files in the default templates that are available with a default Joomla installation. If you want to use a default template, please make sure that it is better to copy the default template to another folder under the /templates directory.
Question: When do I need to update my language file?
You basically only need to update your language file if you are using another language than English. It is possible that patch contains a few additions in the default language file (/includes/english.php). If this is the case /includes/english.php will be available in the patch. Check your local international forum or the language forum for any updates that have taken place.
Question: What about the configuration.php-dist file?
This file is only needed for people for which the installation wizard doesn't work when installaling Joomla for the first time. This file can be found in a patch, as sometimes there are new configuration settings. This file can be totally ignored when patching Joomla. The new configuration settings will be automatically added to your current configuration.php file.
Question: How do I patch Joomla! for a local installation?
Question: How do I patch for a Joomla! installation at a hoster?
Open your FTP client, and make sure that you change the configuration so that 'Passive Mode' is on. Most FTP clients will have this option in its configuration.