Preparing to migrate from 1.5

Preparing to migrate from 1.5

Before starting the migration process, it is important to understand what will be involved and to consider whether an upgrade is necessary (or even possible) at this point in time. Once the decision to move forward is made, the first thing that needs to be done before even installing jUpgrade is running and storing a complete back-up of the current Joomla! 1.5 site. A localhost server to test the migration process would be recommended next, as it would allow experimenting without harming anything important.

Considerations before you get started

  • Is your Joomla 1.5 version up to date? The most up-to-date version of Joomla 1.5 is 1.5.25 (download here). If your version is not up-to-date, upgrade to 1.5.25 before migrating, especially if you are running Joomla! 1.5.11 or lower as JUpgrade does not support older versions.
  • Have you modified any core files? Any changes that you have made to core files in Joomla! will be lost (or rather, not carried over) so if they are crucial changes then they must be re-implemented in the new site.
  • Similarly, have you modified any core database tables? Any changes made to the core Joomla! tables will not only be lost but may even interfere with the migration process. Such changes will have to be reverted or reconsidered before attempting migration.
  • Is your language pack available for Joomla! 2.5? You will need to install it when the migration is complete, as language files are not transferred. Look through the list of available languages packs to find yours.
  • Are all the extensions on your Joomla 1.5 site compatible with Joomla 2.5? Meaning do those extensions have native 2.5 versions? You can use the "Advanced Search" facility on the Joomla Extension Directory to see what extensions support 2.5; bear in mind, however, that jUpgrade does not migrate all third-party extension data, only those for which it currently has support.
  • Are those incompatible extensions critical to your site’s functionality? Given how recently Joomla 2.5 was released, it is highly possible that some of them are not yet updated to meet Joomla 2.5’s standards. Worse if the extensions are not even compatible with Joomla 1.6 or 1.7 because it may significantly delay support for Joomla 2.5. In light of these incompatibilities, do hold off migration for a while, and start urging respective developers to provide compatibility updates.

  • Do you really needto migrate to Joomla! 2.5 NOW? Joomla 1.5 is powerful and very mature, with a long series of updates that made it highly reliable, secure and yet, robust enough to handle most demand. The Joomla Project will continue to support Joomla 1.5 for quite some time, releasing security updates and bug squashing updates when needed. (Official end of 1.5 development in April 2012, with support until Dec 2012.)

    The two main features of Joomla 2.5 that makes it superior to Joomla 1.5 are: Access Control List (ACL) and nested categories. Gone are the days of simply having guests, registered users, authors, and editors, without being able to specify what they can and can't do in the frontend. Also, with 2.5 you can have more flexibility of organizing (and therefore displaying) your content with nicely organized categories within categories. No more being restricted to the section >> category structure. Those are all great things to have (especially the ACL), however, for many 1.5 users, it isn't needed. The main point is to decide for yourself.

    If your website is already flying high with Joomla 1.5, it is recommended to give it a few months before attempting to migrate to Joomla 2.5 due to several inter-related reasons described below.

  • The Joomla 2.5.x series is fairly new, with 2.5.1 being released in February 2012. The fact that it is being used by a much larger set of users means more bugs are being discovered and reported, making for a more solid and stable experience. Yes, there are also many exciting new features in the core, but when weighed up against the existing functionalities and requirements of your site, are they really necessary? Perhaps you would want to patiently postpone the migration for when things settle down and the developers have had ample time to update their extensions which assure their quality and compatibility.

When you have decided to migrate

(Borrowed from the "JomSocial Upgrade Guide")

A responsible community manager will always follow a strict standard operating procedure before a major update is done to the website. The following steps form basic guidelines that we abide religiously while upgrading any site of ours. You may tweak it to suit your needs, requirements and system configuration.

1. Plan ahead

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A broken home will tarnish your reputation as a good host. Plan for the most suitable time to do an upgrade, for example in the middle of the night, when most people are asleep and when your users possibly at its lowest point. You may resort to Google Analytics to help you out in identifying the appropriate time & day for the upgrade.

2. Keep your users informed

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Once a suitable time has been identified, always let your users know about this so that they are not surprised to see the site offline / in maintenance mode. This is also a good opportunity for you to engage your community and give them a voice to decide on proper time & date. Always assure your users that their information and data will be safe and secured. Do also provide with an estimate of how long the upgrade process would take. Depending on the size of your site, unique customizations, complexity of installed extensions and other variables, it could take from an hour to easily a day for a complete migration of the website.

3. Backups, Backups & Backup

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It cannot be stressed enough, a good webmaster always create a backup of his entire site and database from time to time, even when the site runs smoothly. Your last complete backup was months ago? Shame on you. The necessity to have a complete backup and multiple backups is critical while attempting any major upgrade to your site. Be it an installation of new components, or upgrade of existing ones, never forget to make a backup. One handy component that will truly ease your life is Akeeba, which automates creation of backups (files+database) on a predefined schedule.

At the very least, consult your webhost to get a backup done for you. :)

4. Create a local test site

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With the fresh backup files, create a mirror of your actual site in local development server. The purpose of having a separate mirror site hosted locally is for you to safely run migration trials without having to worry with any untoward damages on the live site. As the mirror site closely mimics the original Joomla system with the same template and extensions, you can easily detect possible clashes or upgrade errors during or upon the end of migration procedure. Fixing would also be easier and faster as it would have a much lower latency resulting with faster response time. If you are not sure on how to do that, please follow this official guide.

Making a backup before proceeding

Before you even start your migration, please make sure you made a backup of your Joomla! 1.5 site. This is not only good practice, it is also a lifesaver in the event that something has gone wrong with the migration and the main site has been affected.

The most popular backup solution for Joomla! sites is an extension called "Akeeba Backup". It is available in 1.5 and 2.5 versions, and it makes backing the site up a simple task.

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1. Download Akeeba Backup

You can download a copy of Akeeba Backup from either of these links:

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2. Install Akeeba Backup

Extensions >> Extension Manager Browse >> com_akeeba >> Upload & Install Success!

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3. Backup

Components >> Akeeba Backup
The general settings are fine and there is no need for any modification unless you are trying to do something more advanced.
Fill in information appropriately. Then Backup Now!

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  • Akeeba Backup produces a .jpa file
  • The .jpa file contains all the folders/files and database files.
  • The .jpa file also contains an installer
  • Kickstart.php (from Akeeba) unpacks the .jpa file
  • You then run the installer and install your site like a Joomla install.
  • The installer has an option to change the configuration for restoring to a different location

Those who want to make manual backups can save a copy of your wwwroot if you are using IIS or htdocs if you are using apache, and keep it safe. Also backup your database, save it as an sql file.Once you upgraded all your looks and feels will be lost, All your module positions will disappear except top menu and modules in your right position. And if you are unhappy with the results, you can restore the site using the backup.

Setting up a test environment

You may want to test the migration on a localhost testing environment before running it on the live site, for experience and getting comfortable with troubleshooting any issues that may arise to ensure the live site migration is smooth. To that end, several options are available to create this environment, each consisting of an easy-to-install package that bundles the Apache web server, PHP, and the MySQL database.

JUpgrade Page 2 - MAMP logo.gif JUpgrade Page 2 - WampServer logo.jpg Xampp logo.gif

For Windows environments, either XAMPP or WampServer are recommended.

For Mac environments, MAMP is recommended.

For Linux environments, XAMPP is recommended. There are detailed instructions for installing XAMPP in Linux available here:

A list of more "AMP" packages is available on Wikipedia:

If you set up a local copy manually, you will need to

  • copy your files
  • dump your MySQL database, create a local database and import the dump into the local one
  • change configuration.php

You can also implement the process with Akeeba backup, which allows you to create a zip package of your site. To again create a website from this package, you will need the Akeeba Kickstarter.

  • Place the kickstart files and the zip package of your website in the local folder of your website (htdocs).
  • Create an empty database for your Joomla! 1.5
  • Launch kickstart.php. Presumably, the URL will look like http://localhost/kickstart.php. Then follow the instructions.


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