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09 March, 2023
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Migration from Joomla 3.x to Joomla 4.x - Step by Step Tutorial

09 March, 2023

Joomla 4 marks a significant change for the Joomla CMS. Joomla 4 presents many great new features, raises the minimum supported version of PHP to PHP 7, and removes obsolete functionality. Joomla 4 relies on Joomla! Framework 2.0 and introduces a new foundational user interface. A crucial step for ongoing site improvement is upgrading or migrating from Joomla 3 to Joomla 4. This process is quick and easy. However, remember to back up your site data and consider key points before upgrading to Joomla 4.

Is your Joomla site still running the Joomla 3 version? Are you looking for detailed information on how to upgrade Joomla 3 to Joomla 4? If you're stressing about how to upgrade your site to Joomla 4, don't worry. We'll guide you through the preparation and steps needed to upgrade from Joomla 3 to Joomla 4.

Why Migrate Joomla 3 to Joomla 4?

Since its release in 2005, Joomla has had many versions. Joomla 3 came out in 2013, and Joomla 4 launched in 2021. The latest version is 4.2.8.

If you want access to all the advanced features of Joomla, then it is high time to do a Joomla 3 to 4 migration.

Some of the enhancements in Joomla 4 are:

  • Bootstrap in better performance and user interface.
  • Enhanced and advanced default front-end template (Cassiopeia.).
  • Simple installation process compared to Joomla 3.

The main advantages of Joomla 4 are:

  • Joomla 4 Security
  • Joomla 4 Accessibility
  • Joomla 4 Workflow
  • Joomla 4 Emails
  • Joomla 4 Search

Steps to Upgrade Joomla 3 to Joomla 4

Below are the step-by-step instructions to ensure a seamless migration.

  • Backup your website
  • Check the technical requirements
  • Ensure you have the latest Joomla 3 version (if you don't, update it to 3.10.11)
  • Joomla 4 Pre-Update Check
  • Update the Joomla 3.10.11 site to Joomla 4

Joomla Website Backup

Backing up your website is crucial to safeguard your data in case anything goes wrong during the upgrade process. The best way to back up your site is using a backup extension (like Akeeba). Do not miss this step if you don’t want to lose the Joomla site data!

Pre-Update Check

Since Joomla 3.10 includes a pre-update check, you can verify the compatibility of the extensions and templates you use with Joomla 4. Thus, when using this function, you can quickly identify which extensions are incompatible with Joomla 4. After that, decide whether to update, remove, or unpublish it. This step will ensure that you can upgrade Joomla 3 to Joomla 4 without any trouble during the upgrading process.

Technical Requirements

It is required to check the technical requirements to be sure that the software, supported databases, and supported web servers are eligible to migrate Joomla 3 to 4.

To check your system information navigate to Menu System -> System Information.

Check the Joomla 4 requirements for installing or upgrading.

Database Schema Check

Check Database Schema -> access Extensions -> Manage -> Database.

If you see there a message showing that the schema is not updated, click on the "Fix" button.

Navigate to Components -> Joomla Updates -> Check for Updates -> Pre-Update Check.

Check out the required PHP & Database settings and the warning related to this issue.

Check Third-Party Extensions

Check that the installed extensions are available for the new Joomla version. You need to know which extensions are incompatible with Joomla 4. You need to update/remove or unpublish the incompatible extension packages.

Navigate to Extension Manager -> Update tab -> Find Updates.

If any extensions are not important for your site after updating to Joomla 4, you can unpublish or uninstall them.

Open the Extension Manager -> Manage, now click the "Search Tools" button, and choose Select Type -> Package.

Migrate Joomla 3 to 4

If everything is correct and you are ready, it’s time for you to update Joomla 3 to Joomla 4.

Navigate to System -> Global Configuration. Open the "Server" tab, and choose the "Maximum" option in the "Error Reporting" section.

Save your settings.

migrato joomla 3 to joomla 4

Now navigate to Components -> Joomla Updates -> Options. Select the "Joomla Next" option in the "Update Channel section." Save your changes.

joomla 4 update options

You can manually upload the Joomla 4 package.

Download the Joomla 4 package, and navigate to the "Upload & Update" tab to upgrade Joomla 3 to the Joomla 4 version.

Joomla will require you to log in for installation confirmation. Wait for a few minutes and the installation is complete. You should have access to the Joomla 4 dashboard.

joomla 4 upload and update

Post-Update Actions

You have successfully migrated from Joomla 3 to Joomla 4.  Now it's time for a few post-update activities you should complete. 

  • Clear cache - Open Updates -> Clear Cache.
  • Check the database schema and fix errors if appear any - Go to the database fix page and click on extensions > manage > database. Click the small fix button.
  • Check the website's frontend and the backend
  • Go to System -> Global Configuration -> Server -> Error Reporting, to the "Maximum" option into System Default. Click the "Save" button.
  • Move your Joomla site from Localhost to the live server - assign the staging site folder to the site domain. 


For sure, the whole process will be a simple and efficient one if you follow the steps described above.

Once again, we remind you to create a backup. Always remember about that and back up your site before upgrading your Joomla version.

Importantly, our offer includes Joomla 4. x extensions, as well as Joomla 4. x templates, purposed for different types of websites.