Joomla 4! The biggest hit of Joomla and a major version of the open-source and free content management system (CMS). There are some significant updates in Joomla 4 as compared to Joomla 3. With the development in features and use of advanced technology, Joomla 4 promises better performance, high security, and reliable security.
In this blog, we will give you a step-by-step guide on how to migrate Joomla 3 to Joomla 4.
Enjoy the guide😀
Why Migrate Joomla 3 to Joomla 4?
There have been numerous versions of Joomla since its launch in 2005. Joomla 3 was introduced for the first time in 2013 and Joomla 4 was released in 2021. Joomla 4.1 was released in February 2022 and Joomla 4.2 will come out in August 2022. So, if you want to access all the advanced features of Joomla, it's high time you do Joomla 3 to 4 migration.
Some of the improvements in Joomla 4 are:
- The bootstrap has been updated in Joomla 4 for better performance and user interface. Joomla 3 used bootstrap 2 whereas Joomla 4 uses bootstrap 4. Simultaneously, there has also been an upgrade from LESS to SASS in Joomla 4.
- Although Joomla 3 has two default front-end templates and Joomla 4 only has one default front-end template, it is much more developed and advanced. The Joomla 4 front-end template is called Cassiopeia.
- Joomla 4 has a much simpler installation process as compared to Joomla 3. Although Joomla 4 has the same 3 step installation process as Joomla 3 now users can look back on previous data and save it without stalling the installation process.
The following instruction is the basic step-by-step procedure to migrate your 3.10.x site to Joomla! 4.x
Step by Step Guide of Migrating from Joomla 3 to 4
If you have finally decided to do Jooma 3 to 4 migration, do not worry, we have got you. Below is the step-by-step guide you can follow to do a seamless migration.
Create a Backup for your Website
Before you begin the Joomla 3 to 4 migration process, the most important step is to create a back of your website. In case anything goes wrong during the migration process or you face an unwanted technical difficulty, you should be able to restore the backup site.
The backup website will have the entire database and documents of your original website. You would not want to lose even a single document during the migration process.
Now there are multiple ways you can create a backup for your website:
- A traditional way to create a backup of your website is by using the software. There is numerous free software available online but you must know which is the best choice for you and why. This method requires some technical knowledge and might be difficult for a beginner.
Usually, the software you are using would require you to enter your credential to access your website’s control panel. Once it has access you can start the backup process. The process might vary for each software.
- A lot of web hosting plans come with a cPanel. If you do not want to use a software or plug-in, you can use cPanel to create manual backups. However, keep in mind it will be a lengthy process and each step would require precision.
- If you are using WordPress you can create a backup simply by using plug-ins. WordPress provides numerous plug-ins and extensions to create a backup of your site. You can also schedule the backup and the extension will take care of everything. Some of the reliable and efficient plug-ins are Total Upkeep, XCloner, Backup & Staging, etc.
- This step is the easiest and would require you to do nothing. Hire a third-party service and it will handle the backup process for you.
➡️ Lastly, after successfully creating the backup, set up a staging site. It is a clone of your live website and will allow you to check whether the backup has been done properly or not. It will allow the opportunity to catch errors, fix them, and then move ahead with the migration process.
Check the Technical Requirements
After creating the backup of your website, move ahead and check the technical requirements for migrating to Joomla 4. To check the technical requirements,
go to the admin panel > System > System Information. Ensure you meet all the requirements to have a smooth Joomla 3 to 4 migration.
Some of the basic technical requirements are -
Software - PHP
Supported Database - MySQL
Supported Database - PostgreSQL
Supported Web Server - Apache
Supported Web Server - Nginx
Supported Web Server - Microsoft IIS
Assess the Extensions
You might be using extensions with Joomla to increase the functionality of your website. Hence, while migrating you will also be required to assess each extension and determine how to manage its migration. To manage the extensions, before
upgrading open components > Joomla Update and Extensions > Manage.
Here you will have to one by one assess each extension working on your website. Joomla 4 has a lot of new updates, hence, there is a probability you won’t be needing some extensions. If they are not needed, you can simply uninstall them.
To uninstall them,
Go to extension manager > manager
Click on the search tool button to view the filter options
From the drop-down menu select ‘package’
Simply uninstall extensions packages no longer needed
For the extensions you want to keep, you will again need to check if they have to be updated as well. Doing this is pretty easy. Follow the steps mentioned below.
Go to extension manager > update tab
Click on find updates
Update all the extensions
Check if the extension has a one-click update i.e., for both 3.10 and 4. If yes,
chose that, and if not then you will have to look at each package (3.10 and 4) separately.
If there are some extensions that are not compatible, you will have to disable them or assess them manually. To resolve these issues check the type of package and migration path of each extension to determine how it can be upgraded or migrated.
Do a Pre-update Check for Joomla 4
Keeping the migration from Joomla 3 to Joomla 4 in mind, Joomla 3.10 has a built-in option for the pre-update check. It is highly recommended to do a pre-update check before going through the migration process. This will allow you to check whether all the elements of your website are compatible with the new version or not.
To do this, follow the steps mentioned below:
Go to components > Joomla updates > Check for updates > Pre-update check
Read the pre-update checklist carefully. It will have all the information
regarding your technical readiness and whether you have passed the technical
requirements or not.
Checking the pre-update list is another way you can find which extensions will
work with Joomla 4 and which won’t. For the ones which won’t work,you can assess
them manually by following the steps mentioned above.
Update Joomla 3 to Joomla 4
Now finally it's time to migrate from Joomla 3 to Joomla 4 by updating and installing Joomla 4.
To do the same, continue with these steps:
Click on System > Global Configuration > Server Tab > Error Report > Maximum
Click on Save and close
For confirmation of the installation, you will have to log in using your credentials.
Once you are logged in, click ‘install’
View the dashboard of Joomla 4
Your migration from Joomla 3 to 4 is complete now and you will now be able to see the installed Joomla 4. In case there are some errors due to incompatibility of some elements, Joomla will showcase a warning. You can review the conflicts and resolve them accordingly.
Now that you have successfully migrated from Joomla 3 to Joomla 4 and have installed Joomla 4, there are post update activities you should keep in mind and complete. You do not have to necessarily do them immediately after the installation of Joomla 4 but do not delay them for long either.
You will have to clear the cache that must have been saved during the update and installation process. Do not worry, you will not have to do it manually because Joomla 4 has a built-in system for managing and clearing cache. To clear the cache you will have to log in to the Joomla administration Dashboard as an admin or other designated user.
In the top right corner of the dashboard, open the system and then click on the cache. From here you can manage and delete your cache. Alternatively, you can also click on ‘system’ from the main menu on the left. Open maintenance and then click on ‘clear cache.’
Cache files have an expiration date. If they are not automatically deleted, you can select the ‘clear expired cache’ button at the top of the page. Through this action, all the expired cache will be deleted however, cache files that are not expired will not be deleted.
Check the database schema and fix if any errors show
Sometimes after Joomla’s latest version is downloaded, the database schema automatically changes. Hence, it is recommended to check the database schema and fix it in cases of errors.
It is a simple process and can be done with a few clicks. Go to the database fix page and click on extensions > manage > database. After that simply click the small fix button underneath the big box.
See if your site is performing as expected ( both frontend and backend )
After passing the long process of migration you will naturally expect your site to perform well both at the frontend and backend. To check if your site is performing as expected you can run some simple tests using some external tools and software.
For instance, google page speed is one tool you can use to check the performance of your website. It will not only check the site and its performance but also generate an explanatory report for the parameters not working well if any.
Set the error report from maximum to default
Joomla offers five levels to report an error, namely, system default, none, simple, maximum, and development. When the error report is set to default, it leaves the level of PHP reporting to that set up in the server.
Whereas when the error report is set to maximum it overrides the server to fulfill its role of reporting all errors. Hence, it is recommended to keep the setting at default to avoid overriding issues.
To set the error report, go to the admin page and click on the server tab. Once there, locate the error reporting and click the desired setting option. Click save and close.
Install Joomla 4 ready extensions as needed
Once Joomla 4 is successfully installed, you can also restore and install your extensions. In case there are still some extensions you don’t need and forgot disabling them, you can disable them now. Whereas the extensions you need and selected earlier will automatically have been upgraded to be compatible with Joomla 4.
Site Restore and Go live with Joomla 4
Now that all the steps and post update checks are done, you can go live.
Move all the data from the backup site to Joomla 4 and go live.
Welcome to Joomla 4.
Additional Steps to Keep in Mind
- Make sure you are using the Joomla 3.10 version before you decide to migrate to Joomla 4.
- Assess the goals and objectives of your website while doing the migrating process. This is the time you can replan your goals and modify the website accordingly.
- Think twice before keeping and deleting extensions during the migration process.
- Read articles and guides online if you are confused at any step during the migration process.
Now that you have successfully completed the process of Joomla 3 to 4 migration, you will be again able to carry out this process in the future when more updates come. Last but not the least, do not forget to create a backup before you begin migration anytime in the future.