Join Jen Kramer for an in-depth discussion in this video Why migrate to Joomla! 3?, part of Migrating from Joomla! 2.5 to Joomla! 3.3.
- Do you have to migrate your site to Joomla 3? Well, it depends. I would advise you to move to Joomla 3 as soon as you can for many, many reasons. Joomla 2.5 was released in January 2012. Like all software, there comes a point where the product gets a bit old and creaky. It has issues serving its current customers and it may not do everything you need it to do. Joomla has decided that that point will happen on December 31, 2014, when Joomla 2.5 will reach the end of its life sometimes abbreviated as EOL.
When software reaches the end of its life, it's no longer supported by its creators. The software will continue to work provided the supporting software and hardware continues to work. What do I mean by supporting software? In Joomla's case, this is mostly the right version of PHP, but also, of course, the right versions of MySQL and Apache. As software approaches the End of Life, it's common to see support for it to start to disappear. In Joomla's case, the latest extensions and templates may no longer be released with 2.5 support.
At the End of Life and beyond, extensions and templates for Joomla 2.5 won't be supported either. Joomla 3 was released in September 2012. As of this recording, that's almost two years ago. So it's well tested and it's used on many websites. It's being supported with regular security releases, and developers are building and maintaining extensions and templates for this version of Joomla. By moving to the new version, you get to take advantage of all of those resources. You'll also be in a better position when the time comes to migrate from Joomla 3 to Joomla 4.
"But," says the client, "do I have to upgrade? "Am I required to do this? "Will my site stop working in December 2014?" "No, your site will work," you assure the client. "It will run just fine forever," until it doesn't. Unfortunately, we've seen some of these, "It worked great until it didn't" arguments from the last round of migrations from Joomla 1.5 to 2.5. Here are some of those experiences: Clients will always, eventually, want to add some kind of new feature to the site.
Once clients are far enough out from the Joomla 2.5 End of Life, extensions become limited and developers drop support. Clients are annoyed that they can't add the latest feature to their site. Clients may complain about how their site is not doing well in the search engines, or its lack of mobile support, or other issues that Joomla 2.5 was never built to handle adequately or at current technology standards. Web hosts move on with software support. At some point in time, hosting a Joomla 2.5 site will be a problem because it won't be compatible with PHP and MySQL anymore.
Indeed, with Joomla 1.5, there were some web hosts that gave developers just a week or two to migrate to a new version or move their sites to another host thanks to an upgrade in PHP. However, the truly major issue is what happens on the day that the Joomla 2.5 site is hacked? This could be due to a Joomla core vulnerability, a third-party extension vulnerability, or just a bad Super Admin or FTP password. On that day, or in the middle of the night as it usually happens, the client calls the developer complaining that their site is displaying in Russian and can they fix the issue immediately? Now is where the issue gets sticky.
The site was hacked. As a web developer, you get to unhack it. If it's a password issue, maybe it's OK, or maybe it's not, to change passwords and put the site back up again. However, if it's a security issue with software, and you put up an unpatched site, it will be hacked again very quickly. Are you able to track down the security problem and fix the software? This assumes you're past the End of Life, so there's no updates available from Joomla to fix your problem. That's pretty tough to do.
With thousands of files and megabytes of data, it will take some time to figure out exactly where the security issue is. Let's say it takes you, not unreasonable, 20 to 30 hours to find the issue, fix it and test it. Do you charge for all of that time? If the developer hired out to get the site fixed, the developer is on the hook for a lot of money at that point. And remember, many of you may be responsible for more than one Joomla 2.5 site. This might mean you have many sites to fix all at once.
Clients only hear money talking. This is a fundamental truth about clients. A client wants a website of the highest quality for the least amount of money. It's the way we all operate with most things in life. In the case of the web, some clients are willing to pay more for quality while others want the lowest possible price and don't mind low quality. If you present your client with the option to upgrade their Joomla 2.5 site to Joomla 3 for some amount of money, or just leave it as is for free, guess which one your client is likely to pick? Therefore, I encourage you not to give your client a choice.
Just explain that it's time to migrate to the next version of Joomla in some number of months, probably no more than six, and then just ask when that can be scheduled. Explain to the client what the risks are when a Joomla 2.5 site is not migrated, including risks to the client, risks to the client's data, risks to your web company in the form of potential legal issues, and risks to their site effectiveness. Sell those clients on the new features in Joomla 3.
Joomla 3 offers significantly better mobile support. You can make changes to your site via tablet or phone since the administrator template is run with Bootstrap, the responsive design framework. Many users have told me that they find the Joomla 3 admin interface to be easier to use and navigate. Joomla 3 also offers better search engine optimization features in the form of Microdata, tagging, a feature that's been requested for many years now, and content versioning, another highly-requested feature.
Also consider the future-forward compatibility of Joomla 3, and there's so many more reasons to upgrade. Clients can be brought around to moving their sites if you lead the discussion in a positive way.
- Understanding the Joomla! release cycle
- Planning for migrating
- Making a copy of your site
- Creating a local test site
- Migrating the site
- Evaluating and fixing issues
- Installing a different template