Joomla 1.5 to 1.6 1.7 2.5 Upgrade

Should I Upgrade To Joomla 1.7?

I will point out the benefits of migrating / upgrading to Joomla 1.7 from Joomla 1.5, I will also highlight some of the drawbacks.

If you are reading this article as a site owner and cost is a major factor, please follow this link for: reducing the cost of Joomla 1.5 to Joomla 1.7 upgrade.

Joomla 1.0 has not had a new release since 21st February 2008, this was the first version of Joomla which came into existence after a split/fork from Mambo.  Joomla 1.0 is old technology and any 1.0 site is at risk of being hacked with no further support.

1.5.24 is the current release of the second version of Joomla, this version will continue to be supported up until April of 2012.  All new releases of Joomla 1.5 will be for security reasons only.

Joomla 1.7 was released on 19th July 2011, this is a follow-on from joomla 1.6 which was released on the 10th January 2011.

Joomla 1.7 - Reasons to upgrade

Website Security

Obviously the best reason to migrate/upgrade is for security.  You would not believe how many times people contact us with a hacked site and have no backup, site owners seem to think their site will always be there and requires no backup routine, this ends up costing them, just to get the site up and running again will cost around £900, add to that securing the site/server so it does not happen again £250, then upgrading the site to the latest version possible for their branch of Joomla £150, this does not guarantee that you will have a fully restored site, some old components may not be available anymore.

Adding up the figures shows you how much it can cost and at the end of all that, you still have an old out of date website.
£900 + £250 + £150 = £1,300

Access Control Layer

Joomla 1.6/1.7 best new feature is the Access Control Layer ( ACL ).  If you want to allow certain users to be able to access pages specific to them, Joomla 1.6 onwards is for you.

Here is an example:-

User groups:

a, b, c, d, e, f

Content types:

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

a can access 1, 2, 3 but not 4, 5, 6
b can access 1, 2, 3, 4, but not 5, 6
c can access 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, but not 6
d can access 4, 5, 6 but not 1, 2, 3
e can access 5, 6 but not 1, 2, 3, 4,
f can access everything

This can be set out in any way you want, and has long been needed in the Joomla community.  This carries through to any component installed in your site for full control.

Restricted areas of a site that either cost or are accessible to clients only, is needed by most websites these days.

Redirect Manager

Joomla 1.7 has an inbuilt redirect component that picks up on 404 errors and logs them in the back-end of your site, you can view how many 404's you get per month etc, but the real power of the redirect manager is that you can send the traffic for missing or unpublished articles, to any page on your site that is relevant.  This stops site users from getting annoyed and is a powerful tool for SEO as 404 errors will be logged by Google and hurt your listings.  The redirect manager is simple to use and very effective.

Latest and Best Joomla Extensions / Add-ons / Apps

Currently has nearly 8,500 extensions over 90% of which are for Joomla 1.5.  There are no extensions still listed for Joomla 1.0 and as time goes by there will no longer be 1.5 extensions listed.  Extensions are the life blood of Joomla, the core CMS has incredible features and would cost in the region of $13,500,000 if you went to developers and asked for the features joomla 1.5 has, but the shear number and quality of add-ons / extensions is mind blowing and truly Joomlas strength.

As developers move forward and concentrate all their efforts on building Joomla 1.7 or Joomla 2.5 ( the next long term release )  extensions, they are not monitoring their current releases and things will slip, the safest path is to migrate/upgrade to Joomla 1.7 as this will help developers concentrate their efforts on new and improved components, modules, plugins, etc.  Joomla 1.7 is stable and a great step forward with still more to come.

One Click Upgrades

Updating / Migrating to Joomla 1.7 will carry a cost, some website owners / webmasters might be better off going for a new build as this will cost less and give you a better end product.  From now on there will be little to no cost involved in upgrading as Joomla 1.6/1.7 onwards has a one click upgrade button, no more need to migrate content, components, etc.  Always make a backup first but from here on out one click is all it will take.

Joomla 1.6/1.7 Nested Categories

Joomla 1.0 and 1.5 used sections with single or multiple categories but only one level deep, this meant that you could not have child categories within a category, this has limited many Joomla site owners / webmasters from building their site structure the way they wanted.

Joomla 1.6/1.7 has nested categories going as many levels deep as you want ( no more sections ), combine this with the new ACL and Joomla truly can now compete with custom coded websites but at a fraction of the cost, and I do mean a fraction of the cost.

Greater Control of Modules

Start and end publishing times for modules with more control over where they display.

Joomla 1.5 has the ability to publish articles automatically, if you want Christmas articles to go live annually on the 1st December, Joomla 1.5 did this for you and you can also set a stop publishing date.  Now Joomla 1.7 has the ability to do this for modules as well, this means that anytime of the year your site can transform itself, Christmas, Easter, Spring, Summer, Halloween, etc, minimal work saves time and money.

Streamlining Workflow and Productivity

Additional features to help streamline workflow and productivity:

  • Save and New - save an article and open another new article in one click
  • Save and Copy - save an article or module and have it create a copy to continue working on
  • Reverse Module Assignment - automatically assign modules to all new pages created
  • Check in - now you can check in single items not just globally
  • Search Links - predefined search fields


Upgrading / migrating at the moment is probably the best time, developers have not had enough time to fully find out the difficulties and barriers that will undoubtedly exist, some sites will migrate smoothly and some will hit obstacles, get in early and be the one who gets it done cheaper than when all the issues come to light.  History shows us that the longer you wait the more it will cost.

Drawbacks of upgrading to Joomla 1.7

Joomla 1.5 - Joomla 1.7 Template Issue

The main issue relates to templates, your template from a Joomla 1.5 site will not work in 1.7, if you have a custom made template and want to keep it be prepared to put your hand deep into your pocket, it would cost as much as starting again with a new template approximately £1250.  Best option is to have a new design base on a Joomla 1.7 template and heavily customise it.

Trusted Components Not Ready For Joomla 1.7

Simple answer don't upgrade yet, but be sure to check that this trusted and loved component will be made for 1.7, some major stalwart add-ons will not come back for 1.7

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