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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).
Determine the current version of your Joomla! installation. For example, if you currently have version 1.0.13 installed you will need to download the 1.0.13 to 1.0.14 RC1 patch package. The patch packages are available on JoomlaCode.org. Each patch package 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. There is more information on package formats if you are not sure which to select.
For example, if you are upgrading from 1.0.12 to 1.0.14 RC1 and you would prefer the .tar.gz package format, then select the file named Joomla-upgrade-1.0.12-to.1.0.14RC1.tar.gz
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. If you are not familiar with the process of copying a Joomla! website then refer to the copying instructions.
There are different ways of doing this depending on your particular circumstances. If you have difficulty with one of these methods, then simply try another. There is further information on [unpacking a patch package] and [using an FTP client to upload files] if you need it.
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