For many Joomla! webmasters and developers, updating is a painful and complex business. But with a good procedure and the help of some awesome extensions, it doesn't have to be. We have a certain procedure when updating our clients Joomla! websites, which makes sure that updating is quick, painless and without errors.

I want to share that procedure with you.

Get notified about a new Joomla! update

First off all, make sure you are notified when there is a new Joomla! 1.5 release. To do so, subscribe to the Joomla! security newsletter on joomla.org, or register to our Chill Creations newsletter (in the footer of this website).

Get the details about the new Joomla! version

When you receive a notification, immediately check out the corresponding post on joomla.org. For yourself answer the question: "How important is this new Joomla! version?". Releases containing security issues should be updated to all Joomla! websites within days, and regular maintenance releases have a lower priority (if its not broken, don't fix it). Depending on the importance, continue updating below.

Wait for the first feedback on the Joomla! forums

Joomla! experts know: whatever you do, don't upgrade right away! Yes, you heard me right! Unless the security issue is already being exploited by script kiddies/hackers on a large scale, wait. Wait a few hours, maybe even a few days, and make sure there are no issues or new major bugs with this release. Then check the Joomla! forums and joomla.org. If there are no new issues introduced in the new Joomla! release, you can again continue updating.

Inform the other site administrators and managers

You don't want any other site administrator to start updating the site, just while you started creating the backup. So send a general note to all the sites administrators that you will be updating to the new Joomla! version. You also might want to tell all other important people, like the client and site managers.

Set the to be updated Joomla! site offline

In the administrator go to the Global Configuration in the "Site" menu, and set the website offline. Don't forget to add a custom offline message, with an estimate of when the site will be back up. By the way, you can customize the Joomla! offine page later (add your own logo!).

Use Akeeba Backup to backup the Joomla! site

Always make a backup. You can use Akeeba Backup (also known as JoomlaPack) to effortlessly create a backup. Make sure to download this backup to your computer. If you use the Akeeba extended version, you can easily restore the site to this backup if anything goes wrong.

Update with the Joomla! Update Manager

Install Sam's update manager. Go to Extensions > Update Manager and start updating! Follow the steps until the update is done. Refresh the administrator dashboard and check in the top right that the version number is changed. Upgrading is now done. Set the site back online (in the Global Configuration) and do a quick test. Is everything still working?

Inform the other site administrators and managers

Always immediately inform all administrators after the upgrade is done. Ask them to also do a quick  site and administrator check of the website to make sure all is still OK. The more eyes making sure the update didn't break anything, the better.

Well, that is actually it! Wasn't that easy?

Disclaimer

Others will tell you that you need to upgrade immediately if a Joomla! security release is made available, not days later. Or that you need to create a backup, restore that on a test site, update there, test and then move the test site to the production location. These are really good tips, but our procedure never gave us any large issues, so save yourself some time. Off course, updating using our procedure is at your own risk, and we can't be held accountable for any issues you might encounter. But hey, you use Akeeba Backup, so whats the worst thing that can happen? The official explanation on upgrading Joomla! 1.5 can be found here.