Joomla 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;
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! (http://php.net/eol.php)
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.
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 a free audit to help you find out what's involved in upgrading your Joomla 1.x series website to the latest Joomla! version.
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.