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Joomla 3 Ending, Upgrade to Joomla 4. What you need to know!

Joomla 4 - Get ready for a new world of possibilities. - joomla.org/4 - #joomla4all image courtesy of twitter.com/joomla

What is Joomla?

You may be asking yourself, "What is Joomla?" Joomla is an award winning, free and open source content management system (CMS) for publishing web content. The name Joomla is a phonetic spelling for the Swahili word "Jumla," which means "all together" or "as a whole". Since it's inception in 2005, Joomla has grown to be the second most widely used website platform globally, nearly 2 million active websites. A large community of developers and contributors have worked together to make Joomla flexible, user-friendly, extensible, secure, and robust. Additionally, thousands of "extensions" have been developed by the Joomla community to further enhance the capabilities of the Joomla platform, including extensions developed by 3by400!

What's happening to Joomla 3?

Joomla 3 was original released on September 27, 2012 and continued being improved upon until it's 3.10 LTS (Long Term Support) version release on August 17, 2021. The LTS release marked the point at which Joomla 3 would only continue receiving security updates, no feature improvements or additions. Security updates are intended to keep the version as secure as possible by resolving any vulnerabilities that are found. The LTS version will continue receiving security updates for a period of one year, until August 17, 2023. At that time Joomla 3.x will no longer receive any security resolutions and will quickly become a vulnerability. The Joomla Project continues to work toward advancements in the latest versions of Joomla, and in doing so, must set limits on efforts given to older verisons of Joomla. To see a full list of Joomla versions and end dates visit Joomla Lifecycle (EOL).

If you know your website was built using Joomla but you're unsure of the version in use, visit Joomla's guide containing step-by-step instructions for finding the installed Joomla version.

Will my Joomla 3 website stop working in August?

Even though Joomla 3 will be reaching the end of it's support period in August 2023, your website will not cease operating at that time. What will happen is the Joomla Project will cease releasing any further security patches and bug fixes for Joomla 3. This means in the future there will be issues in Joomla 3 that will no longer be resolved, and most importantly Joomla 3 sites will be exposed to security vulnerabilities with no patches to protect them. This is why it's always best to use the most up-to-date versions of any software, whether that be a CMS for your website or the operating system on your personal laptop.

My site is older than Joomla 3. What should I do?

😬 😳 ... Now that the initial shock has subsided, consider why you have not upgraded your site before now. Were you unaware that your Joomla site was in need of an upgrade? If that is the case you need a web team! Your web team can keep your site updated for you, or reach out when updates require more collaboration. Or maybe, the site is not of value to your organization? If this is the case, consider taking down the website rather than leaving website visitors open to security vulerabilities. Maybe you were not aware of the implications of an insecure website? Whatever the reason, an outdated website puts you and others at risk of cyber security attacks, phishing, fraud and identity theft. Take action to secure your website and take care of you and your site visitors.

Will Joomla 4 be different from Joomla 3?

A Joomla upgrade comes with more opportunity than just the prospect of avoiding being hacked. Joomla 4 is also packed with some amazing new features to make website administration a breeze. Performance, user-interface design, collaboration features, (and the list goes on) all see large improvements in Joomla 4! For an exhaustive list and description of new features visit the Joomla 4 landing page.

When should I upgrade to Joomla 4?

Is "yesterday" an acceptable answer? All joking aside, if you have not started planning for a Joomla 4 upgrade, start now! It's best to have your Joomla 4 upgrade complete prior to the August 17th deadline. If that's not feasible, completing the upgrade as soon as possible is key to preventing your site from experiencing security issues, security issues that could affect visitors to your website and your organization's reputation.

How do I upgrade to Joomla 4?

In order to upgrade to Joomla 4, you'll need to do some prep work first.

You'll want to first verify that your current hosting server meets the minimum system requirements for Joomla 4. Keep in mind that your current server might be specifically configured for your Joomla 3 site in order to keep older extensions functional. If this is the case, you may need to use a different server to place a copy of your site and perform the Joomla 4 upgrade there.

Secondly, perform an audit of all extensions installed on your Joomla 3 site. Verify that a Joomla 4 compatible version of each extension is available. This includes templates as well. If a Joomla 4 version is not available find a replacement or consider if the extension is in use. The Joomla 4 Pre-Update check can help during this step. It can be found in the Joomla Update component. In order to see the Pre-Update check you may need to modify your update channel to be "Joomla Next".

Next, create a backup copy of your website to use for the upgrade. You never want to perform the upgrade on your live website! If your current hosting is compatible with Joomla 4 the backup copy can be placed on your existing hosting. If it's not compatible, place the backup copy on a server that will support Joomla 4.

On the backup copy of the site uninstall any extensions you determined do not have a Joomla 4 version available. With the remainder of the extensions, unpublish all of them. Also, set the default site and admin templates to Joomla core templates.

Next, visit the Joomla update component and follow the prompts to install the latest Joomla 4.x upgrade.

If successful, the upgrade should result in your site's backend now being displayed in the Joomla 4 administrative template.

Next, we recommend visiting your extensions list, filtering by the disabled extensions, and one-by-one, install the Joomla 4 compatible version of each extension and enable the extension if not done so automatically by the extension update. If an extension is already at it's latest version, enable the extension and verify that your site is still loading without error. Also, attempt to enable your intended template and verify it's working. Taking this one-by-one approach will make it easy for you to identify any extension that is causing an issue and resolve or replace it.

That sounds overwhelming. Can 3by400 perform my Joomla site upgrade?

Absolutely! We perform website upgrades every day and will be happy to do the same for you! If you're new to the 3by400 family, reach out to us via our contact form. Existing clients, if you've not already done so, please reach out and allow us to schedule your Joomla upgrade during a convenient time for you!
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