Joomla 1.5 and 1.7 near end of life: Should you upgrade?

Joomla 1.7 officially reaches end of life on 24th February, and Joomla 1.5 follows on 30th March. Mike Lloyd investigates the implications and what you should do. 

Like most apparently simple questions, the answer to 'Should you upgrade' is a complicated one. Although Joomla 1.5 is nearing 'end of life' which means that security updates will not be issued after Easter 2012, it is already a very secure piece of software, with a huge base of 3rd party software extensions support it. Joomla 1.5 website will not stop working the day after the end of life date is reached, indeed I predict many will still be running in several years time (as are some Joomla 1.0 sites today). The decision will come down to your sites objectives, what 3rd party extensions it uses (and whether they exist for Joomla 2.5) and how much time and money a migration will cost. (Incidentally Learn Joomla provides a consulting service for commercial users and can advise on migrations if required, please do contact us for a free estimate).

Here is is some more detail. The process is explained at greater length in the book.

Migration involves a number of manual steps. Unlike upgrading from versions 1.6 and 1.7 of Joomla, it is not possible to simply  upgrade from Joomla 1.5 to Joomla 2.5 by installing the new Joomla 2.5 files on top  of your existing web site. This is because the developers of Joomla have changed the underlying database structure and the majority of the program code in Joomla 2.5, so  it is effectively a new application. Therefore if you wish to convert an existing Joomla  1.5 web site to Joomla 2.5, then it is necessary to go through a process called 'migration'.

This migration process has been a automated to some extent, but does involve  a significant number of manual steps, and assumes a reasonably good knowledge of  Joomla, including it's file structure and knowledge of where files are installed, file permissions, and good file access to your server file directory. It also assumes that  any third-party extensions which are used on your current site are available to be  installed in Joomla 2.5. Depending on the size and complexity of your website the  upgrade to Joomla 2.5 may be relatively straightforward, or it may be long and complicated.

In any case I have set out the main steps involved in the migration process  below.

Backup your website and do your research

The most important advice I can offer to someone considering a move from Joomla  1.5 to 2.5, is:

  1. to backup your existing web site and database very carefully,
  2. make  a list of all the third party extensions used on your site and research the availability of  third-party extensions for Joomla 2.5 that are compatible with the ones it currently in use on your site, and
  3. to thoroughly test the procedure on a backup of your website before attempting to go live on the real site, using a test server such as WAMP, or some spare space on a web server to which you have access.

Summary of process

  • The key steps we shall be implementing in the process are:
  • Backup the website files and the SQL database from the live website.
  • Analyse the third party extensions used for the live site and research availability  for Joomla 2.5!
  • Install a migration component in the live website and extract the database
  • Install a new copy of Joomla! 1.5 on a local server and import the converted  database from the live site
  • Install the template and third party extensions
  • Complete manual configuration