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If you are one of the many thousands of website owners using Joomla Content Management System ( CMS ) then you are probably considering upgrading from Joomla 1.0.1x to Joomla 1.5.x. If you do not upgrade then your Joomla website is stuck in 2008. No new templates, components, modules or plugins for your site. If you are perfectly happy with what you have now, good for you! Now for the rest of us.

Maybe you are thinking, "Don't you guys offer the upgrade service for $200? Aren't you giving away the secret sauce? Well, maybe but hey, its the age of collaboration. Some of you are going to work your way through this regardless of how easy or difficult it may seem. Others may realize from reading this that they are better off not putting the hours in on this. Either way, everyone wins.

Step 1
- Backup your entire website and database. There is a chance that you won't like the result, or that there will be a server glitch, or even that it's just taking too long, and you'll need to revert to your old website.
If you host your site with SonicFog, we store a daily backup for you which can easily be restored.
Step 2 - Ensure you have a properly working and up-to-date Joomla 1.0.1x site. The latest as of this writing is J 1.0.15.  You are best off if you are upgrading from the latest 1.0 to the latest 1.5.

Step 3 - Download the latest version of Joomla 1.5.x from Joomla.org . Save this zip file on your laptop or desktop computer where you can easily find it later.

Step 4 - Download the site migrator from JoomlaCode. Save it where you can find it in just a few minutes.

Step 5 - Login to your Joomla 1.0 site's administrator. Go to http://www.yoursite.com/administrator or if your joomla site is in a folder go to http://www.yoursite.com/joomla_folder/administrator  Login as one of the super administrators. Now, mouse over Installers and click on Components. Then use the Browse button to find your migrator file. Then click the Upload and Install button. After a few seconds you should see a screen like below. If so, the migrator has been successfully installed.
Component Upload Success

Step 6 - The migrator component makes mention of converting 3rd party components, however, we've yet to actually come across a component that has a migration plugin.  There must be some out there but they are not the components that we commonly employ. So, if you have any 3rd party component, migrator plugins, now is the time to install them. In your administrator, mouse over Components, click on Migrator, read the 3rd Party Component Notes, then install the plugins using the Add 3rd Party Migrators link. Usually we skip step six because we don't have any 3rd Party Plugins.

Step 7 - Now is the time to Create the Migration SQL File. Click on this link in the Migrator component. Leave all of the checkboxes checked, unless you are sure you don't want to migrate a whole section of your website. Then click Start Migration. If all goes well, you should have a screen like the one below.
Migration Complete

Click on the Download link at the bottom of the page to get to the Download page, then use the Download link on that page to download the sql file to your computer. Remember to save it in a place where you can easily find it.

Step 8 - Now its time to upload and install the fresh Joomla 1.5.x that you downloaded in Step 3. Be sure to upload this zip file into a new folder on your server that is accessable from the web. You can FTP the file over to the server or you may use the tools in your Cpanel or Plesk control panel. Next you need to unzip this file using your control panel or the ssh command if you have access. If you cannot do either of these with your webhosting then you (should get a new webhost like SonicFog) can ask your webhost to do this for you, or you can unzip it on your computer and then FTP all of the files to the server.  This will take longer but it still works. Its also worth noting that the files must all be owned by your username on the server. If they are not, you will likely get server errors during the install. CHOWN your folders and files (or have your webhost do this) accordingly.

Step 9 - Create a clean and empty mySQL database.  Make note of the host, the database name, the database username and the database password. You will need this information during the Joomla install.

Step 10 - Install the new Joomla 1.5.x by pointing your browser to the folder that you uploaded and unzipped the files into in Step 8. You should see this.
Install Joomla
So, go ahead and choose your language and click the Next button.

Step 11 - When you get to Step 6 of the Joomla 1.5.x install process you will need to pay close attention.
  • Check - Load Migration Script
  • Enter your old joomla 1.0.1x table prefix, usually jos_
  • Browse for your Migrator SQL file on your computer.
  • Check - This script is a Joomla 1.0 migration file.
  • Click - Upload and Execute
Load Joomla migration script

If all goes well, you should see the following:
Migration Load Success

Click Next and it will take you to the PREVIOUS SCREEN. You only need to fill out the Site Name, Email Address and Password. You do not need to upload another migration file. Clicking the Next button will complete the Joomla 1.5.x install. You need only to delete your Installation directory from the folder, so go ahead and do that.

Step 12 - Test out your new Joomla 1.5.x site in its testing folder before you do anything else. Our new site looks like this:
New Joomla 1.5 website
It contains all of the content articles, contacts, links, polls, and newsfeeds from the old site.

Now you may be thinking that this doesn't look anything like your old site. This is as far as the Migrator component can take you. There is plenty of more work to do to get your site back to normal and you'll have to go about it methodically and thoroughly.

Step 13 - Install  Joomla 1.5 compatable templates, components, modules, and plugins if they are available. We usually start with the template so that we can bounce back and forth from Step 13 to Step 14.

We do not install Virtuemart at this point. It must come in after the site is moved to its final folder, usually something like public_html or www. Virtuemart will corrupt when moved from one folder to another on a server, so it is a best practice to wait.

Step 14 - Edit your menu structure as needed. Menu items that don't have components to land on will be automatically unpublished during the install. As you bring your components back on line by re-installing them, you can enable your menu items and edit them as necessary.

Step 15 - Re-test the whole website.

Step 16 - Remove, move or delete the old Joomla 1.0 website from your main web folder (public_html or www or whatever your webhosting provider uses). Make sure you have your backup from Step 1 still handy just in case.

Step 17 - Move your new site's folders and files into the main web folder and edit the configuration.php file as necessary to reflect it's new location on the server.

Step 18 - Re-test everything and make a backup of your new website.  Congratulations! You've done it!