Let's imagine this situation. When you installed Joomla for your website, you used the latest stable version of Joomla (in example 1.5.9). You developed your website and you are happy with it. However, in just a few months, several new versions of Joomla are released. The current version is, in example 1.5.14, so your website doesn't have the latest Joomla anymore.

Why are the new versions of Joomla released so often? Because Joomla development team find and fix errors and security holes in Joomla code regularly.

Why is it important to run the latest Joomla release? Because if you are running an older version, all those security holes may be used by hackers. So, one day you (and your site visitors) can see just a hacker's message instead of your website.

So, be responsible and prevent such scenarios. Always run the latest Joomla release on your server. If you decide to ask a web design company to do upgrade for you, price can be up to $50 per Joomla upgrade. Save this money and learn how to upgrade Joomla yourself with this tutorial.

Before you start, make sure that you haven't modified (hacked) any of the Joomla core files. If your website is not developed by you, ask developer about it. If you upgrade Joomla that contains modified core files, you may overwrite those files. That's why modifying of Joomla core files is NOT recommened during development process.

It's recommended (but not necessary) to make a backup of your Joomla site before making an upgrade. For this purpose we recommed free JoomlaPack component for Joomla.


1. How to determine what Joomla version you are running? When you are in Joomla Administration panel, look the top right corner. In our example, we are running Joomla 1.5.9.
2. How to find out what's the latest Joomla version? Go to Help > Joomla Help and click Latest Version Check link. Joomla 1.5. version history will open. You can see that the current Joomla version (in our example) is 1.5.14.
3. Open Release Notes link in a new browser window. On modern browsers, click on link with the middle mouse button, or right click and select Open Link in a New Tab.
4. Joomla website will open in a new tab (or window). Click on link Click here to find an update package.
5. You will be redirected to joomlacode.org website. Locate ZIP archive named as Joomla_1.5.9_to_1.5.14-Stable-Patch_Package.zip. As it name says, it should be used to upgrade Joomla 1.5.9 to Joomla 1.5.14, as on our example. Click on the archive name to download it. Save archive somewhere on your computer. You can find tar.gz or tar.bz2 archives with the same name. You can use them as well, but you would need additional software to unpack it, such as free 7zip.
6. Now you need a file manager to unpack the downloaded archive. You may use My Computer, Total Commander, but we will recommend here a free file manager FreeCommander. Unpack ZIP archive on your computer in a temporary folder first. As you can see on the screen shot, we opened folder C:\www\htdocs\159 (where Joomla 1.5.9 website is installed locally) in the left pane. In the right pane you should find and open the temporary folder where you unpacked the archive. Select all files and folders from the temporary folder (right pane) and copy (click F5 in FreeCommander) to the left pane (confirm that you agree to overwrite all files and folders).
6a. If you are upgrading website located on the hosting provider's server, use FTP manager instead of file manager. We recommend FileZilla. Unpack ZIP archive on your computer in a temporary folder first and then use FTP manager to upload files from the temporary folder to the directory on your web server where Joomla is located.
7. Once the files are copied (or uploaded), go to Joomla Administration panel and check the current version, as you did in the step 1. In our example, we see that version is 1.5.14. So, we are done for now. Until the new Joomla release is out. :)


  • Running the latest Joomla version is essential for stability and usability of your website that's based on Joomla.
  • You probably can't upgrade if Joomla core files are hacked (modified). Therefore, avoid hacking whenever it's possible.
  • You can save up to $50 with each Joomla upgrade if you do it yourself.