How to upgrade Joomla 1.5.x to Joomla 2.5 – Step by Step

No Comments » Written on December 15th, 2012 by
Categories: Joomla

The Internet world is fast moving forward and scripts and technologies change to keep up with latest developments. Same happens with Joomla, one of the top free CMS scripts out there. The other day my web hosting provider announced me that they will update the server PHP version to 5.4 and that I should upgrade any old scripts as they might stop working. On that hosting account I do have some websites that were built on Joomla 1.5, and unfortunately this version of Joomla is not functional in the new PHP 5.4 environment.

In such case, you have two options: 1. move your website to another hosting provider and hope that they will not upgrade anytime soon the PHP version or 2. upgrade your Joomla 1.5.x to Joomla 2.5 that is perfectly running in the new PHP.

I am sure that a search on Google will get you several options explained for the upgrade, but many of them lack the step-by-step details in order to succeed, and you end up reading several other websites in order to complete the upgrade. Below I have listed all necessary steps to follow to successfully upgrade to Joomla 2.5 (make sure you go through each one of them as they are listed, do not jump any point):

1. Make sure you run the latest version of Joomla 1.5 (that is Joomla 1.5.26). You will see the Joomla version of your website in the admin area, on top right. Check the Joomla 1.5 version history and go through Packages and MD5s to get an update package. For example, if you have Joomla 1.5.0 simply to go Joomla 1.5.26 Packages and download the Joomla_1.5.0_to_1.5.26-Stable-Patch file. Upload the contents of this archive to your Joomla root directory (on your server) and overwrite the old files. In some instances you need to go through several updates to reach 1.5.26

2. Download the latest version of JUpgrade (it is a Free component)

3. Install JUpgrade in your Joomla 1.5 (you do this from Joomla Admin > Extensions > Install)

4. In your Joomla Admin go to Extensions > Plugin Manager and search for the System - Mootools Upgrade plugin. Make sure you have this plugin enabled.

5. In your Joomla Admin go to Components > JUpgrade. Click on Parameters on the top right corner and adjust the following settings:

  • Templates: Keep Original Positions (set to Yes; this will preserve the module positions for your new Joomla 2.5)
  • Debug: Enable Migration Debug (set to Yes)
  • Save the new settings

6. In JUpgrade - hit the Start Upgrade button. Wait until you see a completion upgrade message.

7. When upgrade is complete, your new Joomla 2.5 version will be available at  and the administration at .  Check the new website and login to the the administration area to make any necessary settings. Please note that in many cases there will be a Default Joomla template used. To get back the old layout make sure you have that template supported for Joomla 2.5, otherwise you need to look for a new template that is J2.5 supported. Set up the layout, menus and pages until you are happy with the new outcome. The same goes for plugins and components that you may have used in the older Joomla - search for new ones J2.5 supported if required.

Attention: the website available at is for your own eyes and tweaks, this is not visible to visitors. Your old website will still be available at .

8. Once you are happy with the new website, create a new folder in your Joomla root folder on your server called old-website. Copy all files from Joomla root folder to this new destination. You can do this either using a FTP Manager or form your Webhosting Control Panel where a File Manager / Webspace Explorer should be available.

9. Delete all files from Joomla root folder from your server except jupgrade and old-website folders. Also, if you have any other folders here that are non-Joomla folders (some other scripts or files you have uploaded), make sure you keep these as well.

10. Copy all files from jupgrade folder to the root folder for your Joomla website. Check the new Joomla website available at


11. You may want to keep the jupgrade and old-website folders for a little while (a few months) to make sure everything works perfectly with your new website. Once you are happy with everything, you may delete these 2 folders to clear up some space on your server.