Updating Joomla

In this update Joomla extensions tutorial, I’m going to cover how easy it is to keep the site current and maintained. With just a few clicks of the mouse, anyone can keep bad files from ruining an otherwise good site. Updating Joomla Extensions. When there is an update to an extension, Joomla will display a warning when you first log in.

Your Joomla site is working perfectly, with extensions you know and like, but you keep seeing this menacing red warning whenever you login to your backend … “6 Extension Update(s) are available” and feel like it’s time to do something?

In this article we’ll explain how to update Joomla extensions, why this is important, and what to do in the unlikely event that things go wrong.

To manually update Joomla, follow these steps: Log in to Joomla as the administrator. On the top menu bar, click Components, and then click Joomla! Joomla determines if there are any updates available. If there is an update available, click Install the Update. Joomla installs the update. The update archive will be named something like Joomla2.5.0-Stable-UpdatePackage.zip. Note that you need to tell the system to replace any existing files. For example, in GoDaddy.com, use the FTP File Manager to upload the update file and then use 'Unarchive' to unpack it. Check the box 'Overwrite existing files'. The auto update for Joomla is much easier and faster to use than trying to install the system manually. Depending on the size of the site, it may take less than a few minutes to upgrade to the newest version of the system. Always make sure your applications are current and keep the site protected and operational. To upgrade your Joomla manually, you need to access your administrative area at Once you do that, Joomla! 3 will automatically check for new versions at its official repository. If there is a new version available, you will see a notification in the dashboard. Click on Update now to proceed.

Do I need to install extension updates?

Maybe a silly question? Aha, that was a trick question!
There are no silly questions .. only silly answers!

There are many reasons to keep your extensions up-to-date. Of course, the same applies to your Joomla version – and software in general. New versions include the latest security fixes, the newest features, and guarantee compatibility with other software. Simply put, an update is a newer and better version of the software you’re running.

Updating Joomla

Update whenever you can.

You can also read about updating your Joomla version.

How to update a Joomla extension?

Just as with installing Joomla extensions, there are various ways to update the extensions installed on your Joomla site.

Updating through the Extension manager

The simplest and most common method is to update extensions directly through Joomla as follows:

  • Open the Update page
    • Log into your site's backend
    • Click on Extensions -> Update
  • Select the extensions you plan to update with a checkmark
  • Click the Update button in the upper-left corner
  • Your extensions should be updated!

Manual extension update

Updating Joomla 1.5 To 3

If you like to do things the hard way, you can also:

  • Download the updated extension manually from the developer’s website
  • Go to the Install tab
  • Click on Upload package file
  • Search/select the downloaded package on your local computer
  • Wait for the package to upload
  • The extension should be successfully updated!

What if I have problems with updating extensions?

Update fails for some reason

Occasionally an extension won’t update as expected. In most such cases you’ll see an error message when you attempt to update. Read the error message, follow any advice it provides, and if necessary contact the developer of the extension in question for help.

Large extension version update

An extension you’re using might also receive a larger update which can’t be installed with a single click. Pink noise. This is increasingly rare, but in these cases – as above – the developer should provide you with detailed guidance on how to proceed.

Joomla update ajax loading error

Worst case: broken Joomla!

In very rare cases an extension update might cause your Joomla website to partly/fully crash. Incompatibility between extensions can cause this, or e.g. installing a new extension version on a very outdated Joomla. If this happens, check out our article about installing your Joomla site from a backup and then start again.

If you are running out of ideas, contact us at [email protected] We have lots of experience in restoring Joomla sites, repairing broken ones, updating old software version, etc. Let us know about the problems you're facing – we'll be glad to help!

Troubleshooting a Joomla Update problem

A few things can go wrong when updating Joomla though later releases tend to have fewer and fewer issues. We describe some common issues and provide solutions here as well as examining tools to diagnose the root causes.

1.One-click didn't work. The one-click update basically grabs the update files from the Joomla code repository and installs them similar to the way extensions get installed. If you're behind a firewall or on a weak connection this can fail. In this case, you have the option of downloading the upgrade package ZIP file manually and installing it via the Joomla update extension. If that fails there is a third option where you extract the contents of the upgrade package and overwrite the files on your Joomla installation. If you use that method you'll also need to follow our next troubleshooting tip to apply the database update.

2.Database check. Oftentimes part of a Joomla update includes database changes. The one-click update, or package upload methods should look after these. If a database error shows up after an update, navigate to Extensions > Manage > Database to see if the database matches the new version. There is a 'Fix' button which will correct the issue if it does not match.


3.Whitescreen (of death) Despite the fright you may get if you see nothing appear after an update, this simply means that something is stopping any output from being generated, or there is nothing to output. To help you diagnose the problem, it's useful to turn on, or increase the level of the built-in error reporting. To turn on error reporting navigate to System > Global Configuration and click on the Server tab. the setting for Error Reporting is probably st 'System Default'. Switch that to Maximum or Development and refresh the website frontend to see what information it generates. In the System tab there is also a setting for Debug System which will add debug information to the bottom of all pages. It can be helpful especially for database query issues. Remember to switch these back after you're done.

4.Third party Component, Module or Plugin errors. Sometimes you miss an extension when doing your pre-checks and find out afterwards that an extension is breaking the site. If the administrator area is still running you can deactivate the extension to check if it causes the problem. Then you can update it in the normal way. To disable an extension, navigate to Extensions > Manage > Manage and unpublish it on this list. Remember to reactivate it once you've updated the extension.

5.Inaccessible administrator area. If you can't access the administrator area, you can turn on error reporting or deactivate extensions in other ways. To turn on error reporting you need to edit a line in the configuration.php file which is located in the root directory of your web hosting. On or around line #23 change

public $error_reporting = 'default'; to public $error_reporting = 'development';.

Updating Php Joomla

To unpublish an extension that you suspect is causing the error, you need to access the database, navigate to the #__extensions table and change the 'Enabled' field from 1 to 0 for the extension you want to deactivate. If these are a little advanced for you, ask your web developer or get in touch with us to help.

Updating Website Joomla

6.Check the logs. You may have access to logs via a file in the root directory called error_log which is a simple text file you can open with notepad or other text editors. It shows the exact date and time of all errors and is really helpful for finding problems. If you don't see that file, you can ask your hosting company to check for any recent issues record in their log files.

6.Check Google and the Joomla forum. Search Google an Joomla websites with the error messages you see or with keywords about the problem you're experiencing. You can also ask for help on the forums, and to get the best replies make sure you include the specific versions you're using and what exact steps you took before the error occurred.

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Joomla Expert

JoomlaExpert offers a full range of specialist Joomla website packages coupled with professional Joomla advice & long term support. With clients based in the UK, Scotland, Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, the United States, Canada and and Australia we work with a diverse range of businesses providing world-class Joomla solutions. With specialist partners in Marketing, Graphic Design, Video Production, Hosting & Development, we manage your Joomla projects from end-to-end.

Dr. Ultan Sharkey (BBLS, MBS, Ph.D.) is an ecommerce consultant specializing in online shopping businesses. He holds a Masters degree in Ecommerce and a PhD in Online Shopping Experience from National University of Ireland Galway where he is also an Adjunct Lecturer in the business school. He also owns www.barefoot.ie, a Joomla based online shop for top-brand fitness equipment. He is also a founding member of the eCommerce Association of Ireland (www.ecai.ie).

Ultan and his team have over 10 years experience with Joomla having worked with it since it forked from the Mambo CMS back in 2005.

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