Migration from Joomla 3.x to Joomla 4.x - step by step tutorial

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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 is a big change for the Joomla CMS. Joomla 4. presents many great new features, raises the minimum supported version of PHP to PHP 7, as well as removes obsolete functionality. Joomla 4 is based on Joomla! Framework 2.0 and a new basic user interface.

One of the most important things you need to do to continuously develop your site is to upgrade or migrate Joomla 3 to Joomla 4. This can be done easily and quickly. However, it is necessary to keep a few things in mind, as well as backing up your site data before moving 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 show you everything you need to prepare and check before upgrading, as well as describe the steps of migrating Joomla 3 to 4

Why migrate Joomla 3 to Joomla 4?

Since its release in 2005, there have been many versions of Joomla. Joomla 3 was first introduced in 2013 and Joomla 4 was released in 2021. The latest version is 4.2.8.

If you want to have 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.

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 is the step-by-step guide, so you can follow to do a seamless migration.

  • Backup your website
  • Check the technical requirements
  • Make sure you have the latest Joomla 3.x version (if not update it to 3.10.11)
  • Joomla 4 Pre-Update Check
  • Update Joomla 3.10.11 site to Joomla 4

Joomla website backup

Website Backup plays a huge role in saving your site data if anything goes wrong during the upgrading process. The best way is to backup your site is using a backup extension (for example Akeeba.) Do not miss this step if you don’t want to lose the Joomla site data!

Pre-update Check

Since Joomla 3.10 comes with the pre-update check, you can check whether the extensions and template you are using can be compatible with Joomla 4 or not. Thus, when utilizing this function, you can easily know which extension is not ready for Joomla 4. After that, you need to decide 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.x 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 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. It's important for you 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, choose the "Maximum" option in the "Error Reporting" section.

Save your settings.

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

You can manually upload the Joomla 4 package.

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

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 "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 include Joomla 4.x extensions, as well as Joomla 4.x templates, purposed for different types of websites.

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