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How to update Joomla! and third party extensions

In this article we will cover how to update the Joomla! Core and third party Joomla! extensions in a number of different ways. The extensions that we will be updating use a number of techniques to provide updates to their extensions and we hope to cover the majority of different ways.

How to update core Joomla!

Updating Joomla! is easy, especially in the later version of Joomla! (J!2.5.6+) - it's a 'push button affair'. When you login to the administrator area - Joomla! performs a check to make sure that your website is running the latest version - making sure that your website is as secure as possible.

Joomla! 2.5 Core update checker - no update available

In the early version of the core Joomla! update checker - it would report that your Joomla! Core was up-to-date even though it wasn't. This caused a number of websites being compromised and webmasters becoming concerned regarding the Core Joomla! updater and it's lack of ability to report the correct information.

What happens when there is a Core Joomla! update?

Within the Control Panel view of the administrator area, the button displayed in the image above - will change to tell you that 'an update is available'.

Joomla! 2.5 Core update checker - update available

When you click on the 'Update available' button - you will be taken to the Joomla! Updater component which will list the latest version information. To update - simply click the 'Install the update' button. If you have Akeeb Backup Professional installed - a mini backup called a 'Restore Point' will be taken, just in case anything goes wrong. The update process will start by downloading the update package from Joomla! Code - a centralised location for all Joomla! updates - and even some third party extensions. Once the update has been downloaded, the zip archive is extracted and the updated files are either placed in their new location or they overwrite the previous version.

Joomla! Updater component

Downloading the Joomla! update

Akeeba Backup creating a restore point

The updating of your website

Joomla! Core update successful

Joomla! Extension Manager Update Tab

As of Joomla! 1.7, you are able to update third party extensions via the 'Update' tab within the Extension Manager. Unfortunately, you could only do this for extensions that added an 'update server' location within their 'extension.xml' file.

Normally when you first login to the administrator area of your website - Joomla! will perform a number of checks to see if there are any third party extensions that need updating - this is shown within the Control Panel view (see links below). If there are any extensions that need your attention, you can simply click on the link and you will be taken directly to Joomla! Updater so you can update the required extensions.

Joomla! 2.5 Extension update checker - all extensions up-to-date

Joomla! 2.5 Extension update checker - updates available

Within the Extension Manager's Update tab - all available extension updates are listed so you can easily update all extensions at once. To update any extensions, simply follow the images below.

Joomla! 2.5 - Available updates

Joomla! 2.5 - Update all extensions - step 1

Joomla! 2.5 - Update all extensions - restore point

Joomla! 2.5 - Update all extensions - step 2

As of Joomla! 2.5.19+ (and Joomla! 3.2.2+) and with the assistance from Nicholas K. Dionysopoulos, you are now able to update commercial extensions via the Joomla! Updater providing that the extension developer has allowed for this within their extension.

Akeeba Live Update

Live Update is a set of files that an extension developer 'ships' with their extension. Live Update is a great way to provide updates for commercial (and non-commercial) extensions. Prior to Joomla! 2.5.19 - there was no way for commercial extensions that required a 'Download ID' to integrate with the Joomla! Updater.

One issue with Live Update is that the user had to manually go into the extension to see if there were any updates available, if the user didn't go into the extension - the extension would never get updated - possibly leaving the website vulnerable.

In this example we will be updating Akeeba Backup Professional via Live Update.

Akeeba Backup Professional Control Panel

Once you have clicked on the 'Update Found! Click to update.' icon - you will be taken to the main Live Update view, as seen below. Two options are available in this view - you can 'Update to the latest version' or 'Refresh update information'.

Inside Live Update

Update to the latest version

Once clicked, Live Update will download the update from the developers server and extract it - replacing all of the files of the previous version and in turn updating the extension.

Refresh update information

This option will send a request to the developers server 'asking' for up-to-date information.