This article covers some of the common problems when upgrading from one Joomla 3 release to another Joomla 3+ release.

Always do a backup of your Joomla folders, files and database before running any upgrade. You may well need to restore the site as it was before attempting the upgrade to change settings before running the upgrade again.

Search for the issue in Joomla Forums

If you are having a problem, chances are someone else has had this same problem. Research the issue at to see if there is an answer.

The upgrade process hangs or stalls and will not proceed

Stop the upgrade by going to another screen in Joomla. Log out and log back in.

Check the following:

  • file permissions under System -> System Information -> Directory Permissions. You can not change the permission settings here, but you can see it there is a problem. Change the settings in your host's control panel or with an FTP program. 644 for files, 755 for folders.
  • that the database meets the minimum requirements for the new version of Joomla
  • your web host has changed some PHP settings
  • disable the System - Remember Me plugin in Extensions -> Plug-in Manager
  • change $live_site ="your site url" to $live_site = "" in configuration.php
  • if you are working on a copied site for the upgrade, check that the variables for the database in configuration.php are pointing to the copied database

The Administrative Menu displays a white screen

This is often due to your Joomla installation looking for files that don't exist. Before upgrading you should turn on Error Reporting in the Global Configuration menu. When this is on, you should be ale to see errors on the blank Administrative screen that will help troubleshoot the problems.

You can change the Error Reporting in the configuration.php file. Look for public $error_reporting = 'default'; and change it to public $error_reporting = 'maximum';

Or you can choose to recover the site form a backup, turn on Error Reporting and try running the upgrade again.

Database table issues

If you are getting errors about database tables, your first step is to fix the databases.

Go to Extension Manager, click on the Database button and click on the Fix button.

Plugin Problems

Often the upgrade will not work because of a conflict with a plugin. The error message will say something about not being able to file in the plugins directory.

You can choose to reinstall the original site and disable that plugin. You can also disable a plugin using phpMyAdmin, if you are familiar with that interface.

Template or Front End Appearance issues

If you are using one of the front end templates that comes with Joomla 3, Protostar or Beez3, you may find that files were overwritten when you upgraded Joomla 3. This can cause changes to the appearance, font or even the layout of your website.

You will need to replace any edits that were made to the template files. You can choose to copy back the original index.php, templateDetails.xml and template.css file. If you simply replace the new files with the old files, you will negate any improvements that were made to the Protostar template for the new release of Joomla.

You can edit the new files so they include the changes that were made to the old files. This can be laborious, especially if you were not methodical about how or where you edited the template.

You can reinstall the site to the earlier version, go through Template Manager to make a duplicate of the current template and set it to the default template. Now run the Joomla 3 upgrade. Using this method, none of the files will be overwritten. Again, you will not have any improvements made to the Protostar template for the new release of Joomla.

If you are using a 3rd party template, you probably won't see any changes when going from one release of Joomla 3 to another. You may want to check with the provider of the template to see if they offer an upgraded version.