Upgrade from Joomla! 1.5 to Joomla! 1.6

How can you upgrade a Joomla! 1.5 website to Joomla! 1.6 without loss of data or similar disasters?

There are two ways to complete the update:

  1. You can update the existing Joomla! 1.5 website by using an additional component. This component loads all the necessary files with one click to your Joomla! 1.5 website and automatically converts them to Joomla! 1.6.
  2. You can create an empty Joomla! 1.6 website and insert the data from the Joomla! 1.5 website manually.

Auto upgrade

WARNING: The upgrade component I am using is not yet stable and does not allow the transfer of data from third-party components. But, generally, I think the idea is a good one. :-)
Before you begin, please answer the following questions with a loud and clear YES.

  • Does your server environment meet the minimum requirements for Joomla! 1.6?
    23. October 2010 - 10:07 - RequirementsRequirements
    • PHP, version 5.2.4 or higher
      (Not for Joomla 1.6 but for the upgrade component, you will need the CURL module in PHP.)
    • MySQL, version 5.0.4 or higher

If you feel comfortable and answered all the questions with yes ... let's go!

Step 1: Back-up

Before you do anything else, please do a backup of your site.
You are probably already using Akeeba Backup. The extension is available for version Joomla! 1.5 and 1.6.
If not, install it and do a back-up of your site! 

Step 2: Create a local copy of your site

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.

Step 3: Upgrade component

There is an upgrade component by Matias Aguirre. The following data will be transfered:

  • Users
  • Categories
  • Content / Articles
  • Banners
  • Menus and Structure
  • Modules
  • Contacts
  • Newsfeeds
  • Weblinks

Install the component (http://www.matware.com.ar/downloads/joom...) in your local Joomla! 1.5 installation. Launch it and start the upgrade - that's it. :-)

Here is a good video from the YouTube Joomla! Channel, describing the use of this component.

The component creates a folder with the name jupgrade and installs the Joomla! 1.6 variant of your 1.5 website in this new folder (http://localhost/jupgrade).
The Joomla! 1.6 core template is activated.

Language files

If you use Joomla! in a language other than English, you first have to install the correct language files.


Customize your template and activate it.

My experience and some links

  • Here is the upgrade thread from the Joomla! forum.
  • Roger Perren produced a manual for the migration from 1.5 -> 1.6 as a PDF in the German language (Migrationsanleitung 1.5 -> 1.6), which was among other things, my base for this short chapter. I tried the upgrade of a Joomla! 1.5! website, which consisted only of core elements and it worked for me without any problems.
  • It is also possible, BUT NOT REALLY GOOD, BECAUSE FORMER JOOMLA! 1.5 FILES WILL REMAIN AND THAT IS A SECURITY NIGHTMARE, to copy the Joomla! 1.6 files into your Joomla! 1.5 version.