How to update your Joomla site


In case you missed the official announcement Joomla 1.5.21 has been released to fix a medium level XSS injection. It's recommended that you upgrade to the latest version of Joomla if you haven't done so already.

When I first started working with Joomla four years ago I would regularly use the Fantastico one click install on my cpanel account to install Joomla. While this was a really easy way to install Joomla there was a major drawback - the Fantastico version of Joomla was routinely out of date - and sometimes a few versions out of date at that. So I would often wait days and maybe weeks before the latest version became available to update. At that time I didnt have the skill or the knowledge to update Joomla manually so I was at the mercy of my host and how quickly they implemented Fantastico updates.

While things may have changed in the world of Fantastico - I havent used it for two or more years now - there are now some really quite user friendly methods for updating your Joomla site and there are two in particular that I whole heartedly recommend:

Update Manager for Joomla


First off is the free Update manager from Sam Moffat which is a Joomla extension that I consider to be an essential Joomla extension for any Joomla developer. I have used this on all my sites thus far and it essentially makes updating Joomla a two minute process.

Admin Tools from Akeeba Backup


The second is the admin tools component from Akeeba Backup that does quite a bit more than the updatemanager and comes in two versions.

Core version.

The core - aka free version - also features the ability to:

    • fix and set permissions on your files and folders which in the words of the developer releases you from "permissions hell".
    • and also performs database management and repairs and optimises your Joomla database tables.
    • Notifies you if you have an out of date version of Joomla.

Pro Version

The pro version (20 Euro) is actually where it really gets interesting. While you can do all or most of these things manually having a Joomla component interface certainly makes the job alot easier. The pro version gives you:

    • A url redirection feature that helps you to migrate old urls to new urls as well as use internal short urls.
    • An .htaccess file maker that takes Joomla security to an entirely new level.
    • A web application firewall that cuts down on possible vulnerable or open areas of your site from potential hackers.
    • The ability to set a clean your tmp folder from old installation files and folders.
    • The ability to set an htaccess username and password on your site administrator
    • The ability to set a master password for a multitude of aspects of your site.

Htaccess File Maker

The real beauty of the pro version for me is the htaccess file maker. You can do an incredible number of things right in the Joomla admin some of which I've been doing manually up until now.

Here is a screenshot of all the htaccess trickery that you can implement on your site using the htaccess maker. I've only just started playing with this but it's clear that this is a must have extension for me.:


The solution you choose to use on your site is really going to be a personal one but the power and ease of both of these components has certainly changed the way that I update and maintain my Joomla sites ... anything that saves you time while running your site is a real asset to my mind.

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