The Quickest and Best Way to Update a Joomla Website

Note: This post is about updating a Joomla website, and not migrating it. See the difference between the two here.

A few weeks ago, Joomla released Joomla 3.4.5, which is a critical security update that closes a SQL injection exploit existing in previous versions of Joomla. At the time of its release, we got so many calls from Joomla administrators who had issues updating their Joomla website. This is normal and we did help them address the issues that they faced. However, we also got a not-so-small number of calls from Joomla administrators who were intimidated from the whole “update” concept. They felt that 1) they will run into issues, and 2) the update will take a lot of time, and so they asked us about the fastest and best way to update a Joomla website. We told them that they could follow our easy guide of updating Joomla website. Naturally, they asked us about it, and we told them that we’ll publish it soon on our website! And here it is, our super-duper easy and quick guide for updating Joomla websites (note that the following guide applies to a WHM/cPanel environment):

  • Backup your Joomla website. Make sure you backup both the database and the filesystem. Do not proceed without backing up your website. You have been warned!
  • Make sure that your website’s backup works. Sometimes, backups can be corrupt, and you can’t really restore a website with a corrupt backup!

  • Login to the server hosting the Jooma website through ssh (we usually ssh to a server using putty).

  • Go to this folder: /home/[cpanel-username/public_html using the cd command. E.g.:

    cd /home/[cpanel-username]/public_html

  • Download the latest version of Joomla to the server. This can be done using the following command:


    Note that the above link must be replaced with the latest Joomla download link, which should be copied from the page (it should be the Full Package link).

  • Add the following line to the beginning of the .htaccess file (located under the root directory of your Joomla website):

    deny from all

    The above ensures that your website is not available during the update process – otherwise your visitors will be redirected to the installation folder once you do the next step.

  • Extract the downloaded file onto your Joomla website. You can do this using the following command:


    (Note: Answer “A” to update all files when you’re prompted by the system.)

  • Remove the installation folder by issuing the following command:

    rm -Rf installation

  • Remove the downloaded Joomla install by issuing the following command:

    rm -Rf

  • If you’ve ssh’d as root, then you will need to issue the following commands to correct the file ownership on the Joomla files:

    chown -R [cpanel-username] *
    chgrp -R [cpanel-username] *

  • Open the .htaccess file and remove the line that you have added earlier in the process.

  • That’s it. Your website is now fully updated.

Note that if you have modified some core files on your Joomla website, then you will need to backup these files before starting the process, and then you will need to restore them after the above process is done. If you don’t do that, you will lose all the core modifications done on your website.

But why do the above when you can just update your website by clicking on a button?

Well, because that button click doesn’t work smoothly all the time. Additionally, by extracting the Joomla install over the current website, we avoid any database updates to the website (database updates can cause compatibility issues), since we’re just overwriting files.

If you have problems updating your Joomla website, then try our guide, it should help tremendously. If it doesn’t work for you or if you think that it’s not the easiest guide to follow, then please contact us. We’ll update your website in no time and for a very affordable fee!

No comments yet.

Leave a comment