Written by Peter Bui Follow on
Published: 15 January 2015

Joomla has evolved quite a lot of the past few years as Joomla 2.5 series matured and gave way to the Joomla 3 series website. Now that Joomla 2.5 is no longer official supported by the Joomla project, it is now officially time to start moving any Joomla 2.5 website over to Joomla 3.

This may sound scary but the project as a whole has learn from its decisions in the past and has since made the upgrade process from 2.5->3 so much easier but there are a few hints and tips that will help you speed up the process and make things easier.

Many people have also actually written and provide vast amounts of documentation around it including official documentation from Joomla.

Joomla 2.5 upgrade migrate Joomla 3

Check Your Server

There are some new server requirements with Joomla 3 and it is a good idea to check this before you go ahead and do anything. You may find that you have to get a new hosting account, get it updated or something else that may slow down the process of you going a head and starting the migration process.

Joomla 3's minimum requirements now are:

PHP (Magic Quotes GPC off)[1] 5.3.10 +
Supported Databases:
MySQL (InnoDB support required) 5.1 +
SQL Server 10.50.1600.1+
PostgreSQL 8.3.18 +
Supported Web Servers:
(with mod_mysql, mod_xml, and mod_zlib)
2.x +
Nginx 1.0
Microsoft IIS[5] 7

If you don't know what any of these things are, don't worry. Your hosting provider should know and advise you on the best solution for your website.

The awesome team at SiteGround who provide amazing Joomla hosting services around the world are a great hosting partner to ask and host your Joomla 3 website.

Backup Your Website

This goes without saying. Please don't update your website off a live environment without testing it and making sure that it is working perfectly. For minor updates such as going from 2.5.27->2.5.28, this is usually all fine. For the cautious, testing this patch and running tests is a good idea but for a lot of users, small patches on a live server usually won't result in any issues.

On the other hand, updating from one version to another, 2.5.x -> 3.x may cause some issues and is always good to test and make sure that you're doing everything just fine.

My favourite way of backing up a website is with AkeebaBackup. It may very well be the de-facto method of site backup and restoration for almost the entire Joomla community. Of course you can also run command line scripts or cPanel based backups which will also work just fine.

If you want to be really fancy, you can version control your entire site using subversion or git and make sure that your websites are perfectly recorded and tracked at each stage of updating.

What ever method you choose, it is vital that you choose a method and perform the backup so you can restore the website.

Furthermore, having a copy of the website will allow you to update the website on a local development environment and allow you to work on it away from the live production environment until you're ready to deploy back to the production server.

Audit Your Extensions

First thing to do is to audit all of your extensions that are in your website. Have a look at what works in Joomla 2.5 and what will work in Joomla 3. Just earlier when I was working on a client's website, I had just upgraded the base of the site to Joomla 3 only to find out that the versions of some of the extensions didn't work.

There were actually very common extensions namely:

  • Modules Anywhere
  • Cache Cleaner
  • Advanced Module Manager 

These modules are very popular extensions produce by Peter van Westen from NoNumber are are on many of our websites as well as many more other websites around the world. The issue here was that the code base for them were the 2.5 version and not the 3.

In this case a simple reinstall of the extension from our extension library on our local network fixed the issues.

So before updating, make sure you have working copies of the extensions that you need on the website. Luckily we have a yearly subscription with NoNumber so getting the latest versions of the extensions was no issue.

Update Your Templates

Some templates may need updating. If you have a template from a template club and they are using some sort of framework as their base, then this may also need updating. A lot of them work both on Joomla 2.5 and Joomla 3 which will make your life incredibly less painful in the update. We personally use the T3 framework for a lot of our website and it works on both Joomla 2.5 and Joomla 3 which means we do not have to do any updates or changes to any of our websites built on the framework.

So check and make sure that your template will work on Joomla 3.

If you made the template yourself or it is using one of the core templates in Joomla, you should be just fine to use it in Joomla 3.

Third Party Resources 

As for guides and resources into how to upgrade and migrate to Joomla 3, here are a few of my favourites that cover a lot of the hard work needed.

A great overview video




Peter Bui

Peter Bui

An all round web specialist with years of experience in web design, development and open source solutions at PB Web Development

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