On Pointing a Fresh Joomla Install to the Database of an Old Joomla Website

We are seeing more and more Joomla administrators doing the following when they have some issues on their Joomla websites that they cannot resolve themselves:

  • They create a Joomla website from a fresh install (same version of the one that they currently have).
  • They install some or all of the extensions they have on the old website (many actually skip this step).

  • They point the fresh Joomla install to the database of the old Joomla website.

  • They then start noticing issues on their new Joomla website, including, but not limited to, missing/broken pages, and missing/broken functionality.

In short, once they do the above (point the new Joomla website to the old database), their website ends up in a worse state than it was before. But why is that?

Well, unlike popular believe, Joomla’s database and filesystem are not independent of each other. In fact, they work together in harmony to ensure that the website runs smoothly. Each database is unique to the filesystem (unless, of course, the filesystem is an exact replica of another filesystem), those who think differently risk building a Frankenstein Joomla website, and we all know what happens to a Frankenstein…

So, what is the right way of doing things?

Well, the right way to do things is obvious: Either fix the problem(s) on the old website or re-create the website from scratch by importing the data, and not by pointing the new Joomla website to the old database. If things were that easy then anyone would be doing this to fix his Joomla website. Oh, and by the way, when you have a Joomla website which has some issues, then, there is more than 90% chance that these issues are because of a corrupt database. So, doing the above will definitely not fix the problems that you originally had, and will definitely create more problems.

But what about following this strategy for hacked websites?

Many Joomla administrators believe that when their website is hacked, then there’s no way to have it completely cleaned, and that the virus will still lurk somewhere despite all the cleanup work. That’s why they prefer to go with the fresh install strategy. Well, first, there is a way to cleanup a website completely and to secure it (we do this all the time), and second, as stated above, following this strategy may well result in a corrupt website. It’s like jumping from the frying pan into the fire.

If you are a victim of following the above strategy (pointing a new Joomla website to an old database), then fear not. Just contact us and we’ll fix your old website (or your new one, but fixing the older is usually simpler) quickly, cleanly, and for a very reasonable fee.

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