For those still using Joomla 1.5 - time to update!

Written by Luke Best on .

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leonardodicaprio.comJoomla is with good reason one of the most popular open sourced content management systems in the world and is trusted by many millions of websites, including notably Peugeot, Orange and it also seems the Hollywood movie star Leonardo DiCaprio is also a fan, using Joomla for his website which showcases his latest blockbusters. Clearly Leonardo DiCaprio knows a good CMS when he sees it.

However for all of Joomlas awesomeness, like everything, it needs to be maintained. Joomla, like any CMS, is a sophisticated system with a various amount of complex parts that all work together in tandem, all of which need some love and attention from time to time. Much like a car, we need to give it a service from time to time to make sure it's running at its optimal level.

As of August this year, according to W3techs out of all the websites currently using Joomla, 44.6% of them are still on the unsupported Joomla 1.x series, support for which ended way back in September 2012.

Whilst the Joomla 1.x series was very robust and can still run reliably if well looked after, it's time is nearly up. Technologies are changing and security is being tightened up online, and the Joomla 1.x series is being left behind. So if you're running a Joomla 1.x website, now is the time to upgrade, and here are just a few reasons why;

1. Security

As of September 2012 support for Joomla 1.5 was officially dropped, meaning that no security patches will be released. This can be a big problem if you rely on third party code for any of your websites features, for example Google Maps or online payment gateways, or simply if an extension you are using becomes compromised by new hacking techniques. The longer you run a Joomla 1.x series website there is a growing risk of your website being hacked and your data compromised.

2. Changing server technologies

Like Wordpress and Concrete 5, Joomla is a PHP based CMS, which runs on a Linux based server and runs its databases via MySQL. These technologies are also constantly evolving to keep the nasty hackers away as they find new ways to be naughty and get into places they shouldn't.

Currently, there is no supported version of PHP compatible with Joomla 1.5! (

As a result of this, we have noticed hosting companies are forcing their customers to upgrade their PHP versions to at least PHP 5.4 (The latest is 5.5). Joomla 1.5 sites are compatible with PHP versions up to 5.3, and so features of your Joomla 1.5 are almost certain to break if your host decides upgrades your PHP version.

At Channel we have mitigated against this for our customers by running Joomla 1.5 sites on the legacy versions of PHP to ensure your websites continue to run happily, but there will come a point in the very near future where we will be forced to upgrade to newer PHP versions, and those 1.x sites will no longer function.

3. Extensions Support and easier upgrades

Most extension developers have dropped their support for 1.5 versions of extensions to build extensions for the current Joomla versions. More than 65% of Joomla extensions are now available for Joomla 2.5, so it is likely that any functionality you had previously will still be available on the newer Joomla versions.

4. Future proofing

Joomla 2.5x has many great features compared to the 1.x series, the most cost effective of which is a more robust and easier upgrade system. Joomla 2.5x has an inbuilt upgrade engine, which give you upgrade notifications and 1 click upgrades. It has also been built with future version upgrades in mind and has been designed to make the jump between Joomla versions much easier than upgrading the 1.x series, saving you time and money in the long run.

But my website is fine, why do I need to upgrade?

This is a common question from our customers and it's logical to think "If it ain't broke don't fix it"!, but unfortunately that sentiment doesn't apply to well in the world of the web.

Other common things we hear are:

  • We built our site only a few years ago and don't have the budget for upgrading.
  • It sounds like a lot of work, I can't be bothered with it
  • My site has never been hacked, so I don't need to upgrade
  • You're only telling me I need to upgrade because you want more business.

Whilst it is true there is a fair amount of work involved and you may have a perfectly healthy Joomla 1.x series website, it won't stay that way forever. The question to ask is if your website got hacked tomorrow, what would be the loss in revenue/reputation for your business?

If the monetary value of any disruption outweighs the cost of upgrading your site, then it's something you really should invest in. Otherwise, you will end up with a website that you cannot host, or if you do find a host who is willing to take it, it will end up repeatedly getting hacked and live a pretty sad life for the rest of its days!

So how do I upgrade and what's involved?

Every website is different. The work involved depends on how many extensions you have, how many customisations you have done, the amount of content and functionality in your site, amongst other things. At Channel we have experience of reliably upgrading 1.x sites and would welcome you to contact us for a free audit of your website to find out the best method for you to upgrade.

Free audit and 25% off Joomla 1.x series upgrades

To help our customers running 1.x series sites and also in the interest of all of our other customers in regards to security, we are offering for a limited time a massive 25% discount to help you upgrade your Joomla 1.x series website to either Joomla 2.5/3.

We don't want to see our long standing Channel elders fall by the wayside and eventually have to remove them from our servers when they become untenable security risks, so we could encourage you to get in touch with us asap to plan for your upgrade.

So if you are running a Joomla 1.x series site, please get in touch with one of the team at Channel today who will be happy to do your free audit and quote for upgrading your Joomla site today.

Get your free Joomla audit today >


Joomla 1.5 and Virtuemart Solutions payment gateways License support dropped

Written by Luke Best on .

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Support dropped for J1.5 payment gatewaysAs of July 2014 the popular payment gateway plugin developer Virtuemart Solutions has terminated its support for anyone using their extensions, and whilst the current versions of Joomla and Virtuemart (2.5.x and 2.x respectively) will continue to work with their payment gateway plugins, unfortunately older Joomla 1.5 sites using extensions by Virtuemart Solutions will no longer work.

At Channel we have been fans of the Virtuemart Solutions extensions as affordable and reliable methods of integration for our clients' online shops and payment gateways, such as Sagepay and Worldpay.

Whilst we encourage our customers to keep their websites up to date, some of our customers still running Joomla 1.5 sites were unfortunately affected by this termination of service for which we had to move quickly to develop a patch to mitigate any disruption in the taking of online payments. We were very pleased to be able to roll out this patch on the same day of the termination following some very speedy coding by our lead developer Tim, so hats off to him!

If you have a Joomla 1.5 site that is using a Virtuemart Solutions product and have been effected by this issue, then please do get in touch with us and we can help you find a fix for your product, we already have patches available for the Sagepay VSP forms and Worldpay gateway plugins so we can help you resolve those instantly.

Similarly, if you are still running a Joomla 1.5 website and would like any help and advice in updating that then just give one of the team here at Channel a call and we'll be happy to help.

Happy Joomlaing!

Is getting a Google penalty really as bad as it sounds?

Written by Mandi Brooks on .

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In this article Channel Digital’s resident SEO chick Amanda Brooks discusses Google manual penalties, websites blacklisted from Google's search results and negative SEO being a reality. How to deal with negative SEO and running one of her blogs directly into a manual Google penalty and getting it revoked in less than two weeks.

Recently Google have been clamping down on any activity that goes against their quality guidelines in regards to link building especially paid link building. There have been numerous sites that hold their business models solely on sharing guest posting opportunities whether paid or unpaid modules and all have been recently hit hard or are now frantically changing their sites to avoid the wrath of Google.

On the 19th of March Matt Cutts head of web spam at Google tweeted that Google had taken action on a large guest blog post network. 

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