There are many potential problems when upgrading from Joomla! 3.5 to Joomla! 4 and we saw some of these problems in our previous article – talking about a simple upgrade from Joomla! 3 to Joomla! 4. In that clip, we upgraded from a clean version of Joomla! 3 to a clean version of Joomla! 4. Even in that, we saw a problem with the PHP.

Joomla! 3.5 was the first Joomla! to support PHP 7. Whereas Joomla! 4 can support PHP 7 and PHP 8, although it will be looking to deprecate PHP 7 in the distant future.

Other problems that we will come across, is that some plugins will be written for Joomla! 3 and you will have to download a whole new plugin for Joomla! 4. A lot of the sites that do this will allow you to uninstall the plugin, whilst their data stays on your website. So when you install the new version of their plugin, it will come up with all the information that was already there. Other plugins just won’t work on Joomla! 4 and for those unfortunately, you will have to find a new plugin.

Whereas other plugins will work both on Joomla! 3 and Joomla! 4 quite happily and you will be able to upgrade from one system to the other without having to do anything with your plugin.

We have created this article to show you the potential difficulties of upgrading for Joomla 3 to Joomla! 4.

We’ve specifically installed extensions that we know to be problematic, but we are not saying that the creators of these extensions have created an extension that is not usable with Joomla! 3 or Joomla! 4. We will very much urge you, if you do decide to use these plugins, to actually look at the creators websites – at which point they will be able to guide you in the correct way forward to use their plugin.

Looking At Potential Issues

On a more typical website, there will already be extensions and plugins installed. When you first log in it’s not surprising if you see update notifications at the top. We can see on this one, the Joomla! 3.6.5 wants to be updated and there are three extensions that are also reporting to be updated.

If we go and have a look at what extensions need to be updated first, we can see we’ve got the three in here. Normally we could go through check all and ask it to update. But because this site is so old, it can’t actually perform these updates and it comes back with errors.

The next thing that we will try is to see if the Joomla! itself will actually update. Like on the other article that we made, we’re going to go through, go to options, make sure it’s on the Joomla! next channel and clear the cache. It’s still saying that so we’ll now install the update. Again, as we’re upgrading from Joomla! 3.5 to 3.65, it just wants us to confirm that we want to perform this major upgrade.

Now from the front page we can see that it wants to upgrade Joomla! to 3.10.9 and we still have our three extensions – so let’s go and have a look at us extensions again. We will clear the cache and we’ll perform and find updates again in case there’s anything new that’s come through. It’s still showing the same three extensions on there so we’ll go ahead and try and update those.

Lo and behold it still can’t update them. If we go back and perform the Joomla! update up to 3.10.9 – this time when we go to extensions and try and update them again (clear the cache, find the updates) it’s now come up with more updates, as these packages will update 3.10.9.

We will then click the check all items, update them this time, and again we’re still getting error messages through – but now you can see a lot of the other packages have already updated.

Where we’ve got packages that are still showing as needing to be updated, this will probably mean that we need to actually do a manual install.

Updating Joomla Extensions Manually

Let’s start by trying to update these extensions manually. I have downloaded the latest files for both of them. If we go to install, the first one that I shall try updating is the OS Map. When I install it, the first thing coming up, is that it’s saying that it has to be 4.2.1 first of all. The way around this is we get an old version of the update file and we try installing that.

This has now upgraded OS Map to 4.2.18. If we now go to update, clear the cache, find updates and it comes back, we’ve now got OS Map at 4.2.18 and it needs to be 5.0.2. We shall try updating that one individually again and this time it actually like doing that, so it is updated two updates, one of which is including the OS Map.

Updating From JCE 2.6.32 To 2.9.22

The next one that we will now look at is the JCE 2.9.22 from 2.6.32 . If I go to install, I try uploading the file. Now this time, it is coming up saying that there is a PHP requirement on this. This is something that we came across in the last clip and we know how to solve this one. I have now updated the version of PHP on our hosting, so let’s see what happens when we now upload this file. There we go, it is installed properly. Let’s now go back to update, clear the cache, find updates and see what else can be updated, then click check all and click on update. Now we are left with just one more to update.

Updating Breezing Forms

We’ve seen this one before. I’ve already downloaded the file so we go back to install, make sure we’re on upload a package file, upload the package and that has now updated our breezing forms to the latest version. We will go back to updates (clear cache, find updates) and the JoomlaShack framework has come back – we’ll tell it to update that one, which is done.

Then another last little step on this is to go to update sites and we will tell Joomla! to rebuild it. That way if anything’s changed with these updates and it’s not gone into this update site part, it will then rebuild that. Now we go back to updates, clear the cache and find updates. We are now happy that the site’s updated and we can look at updating Joomla!

Update Joomla Core

I’ll click on the update now for the Joomla! 4.1.4 message at the top and that will take us through to the pre-update check for Joomla! 4.1.4 We’re passing all of the PHP requirements and database settings.

Again on the recommended PHP settings, we’re just getting a warning for display errors being on – but now we’ve got this red section. What this red section is saying is there’s not update information available for the following plugins.

This does not necessarily mean that the plugins will not work in Joomla! 4, all this means is that Joomla! is not aware of an update for Joomla! 4 on these updates. Similarly, at the bottom we now have another green section for no update required.

These plugins and extensions are reporting that they are compatible with Joomla! 4 and there’s no update required for them. At this stage, we can actually do a live update, but when we come into here, you can see we now have a red section at the bottom that is saying that the following plugins could cause problems during the upgrade and it’s not recommending that we perform the upgrade. In this case we are going to say that we’re happy with doing it and we’re going to install the update anyway.

Checking You’ve Updated Everything

Now that it is performed the update we can see the site is now on Joomla! 4.1.4 If we now go back and check for updates, this is checking for updates for the Joomla! system and it is telling us that we are fully up to date.

However, if we now go to the home dashboard, again, looking under the notifications, it is also saying that everything is up to date. But I’m not so sure. Let us just check that the extensions are actually up to date. Although it’s coming back with an error with the update site for Akeeba backup, this isn’t going to stop the website from working. If we note back to the earlier error messages we recieved, it was to do with the breezing forms.

Let’s go and have a look at breezing forms. We can see that this plugin is no longer working in Joomla! 4. This is why it’s so important to go through each extension when you’ve upgraded to make sure that it all works accordingly. If we go to Akeeba Backup, again, this is not working either. JCE editor, control panel, these are working and OS Map 3 site maps, this one also appears to be working. As we can see although we’ve upgraded the site to Joomla! 4 we will have to do a lot of work to upgrade the remaining extensions. A lot of these extensions will just have a different version that you will download to work on Joomla! 4. – in particular Akeeba has a Joomla! 3 and a Joomla! 4 version that you can install.

What To Do Before Upgrading To Joomla 4

Now you’d be forgiven for thinking that it’s difficult to upgrade from Joomla! 3 to Joomla! 4. This isn’t necessarily the case and all you need to do is follow a few simple steps to help ensure your smooth upgrade from Joomla! 3 to Joomla! 4.

First of all, start off with a backup. Always back up your site before you perform any major upgrades. Then when you’re ready to upgrade from Joomla! 3 to Joomla! 4, pay attention to the pre-update checker – which will give you hints as to what to look for and what problems you might get.

Next, make sure you have a list of all the extensions that you have on your site and then go to the individual websites for these extensions, where they might be able to give you hints and tips and solutions on how to upgrade from Joomla! 3 to Joomla! 4.

Sometimes you might need to completely uninstall an extension – sometimes you might just be able to upload the new extension over the old one. Other times the extension will already work on Joomla! 4. – that way when you do perform the upgrade, everything will work, and your website will be updated to Joomla! 4, with all the new security features that that includes.

Need Help Upgrading Joomla?

If this does feel daunting then we would recommend speaking to your it company or web development company who can help you with the upgrade process.

If you’re looking for a Joomla development company to help you with this, feel free to get in touch with us today. We’ve been working in Joomla for over 10 years and know the CMS like the back of our hands.

Give us a call now on 01206 864441 or submit your details into the form below.

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