911 Website Repair Blog

Tips and tactics for better website performance and security.

website version updates - Joomla 2.5 and Virtuemart 2.0 updates


We have been getting a lot of calls about updating joomla, wordpress and drupal to their latest version. 90% are about failed updates and sites that no longer work. It seems it is not the simple process that many developers promise it will be. Many are failing, and worse of all, the sites cannot be reverted to the working old versions because the developer updated the live master site. There is not much that can be done except fix the upgrades and move forward.

Before you upgrade your site there are a few things that you need to know. Many CMS system are insisting that you upgrade immediately for security. Well, yes and no to that. Yes, the new versions are more secure, but there are many steps that can be taken to secure the older websites. You may not have to upgrade immediately.

The next concern is that every one thinks that their website will suddenly stop working when a CMS company no longer supports the version your website is built with. That is absolutely not true. You site will continue to function just as it always has. What they are saying is that they will not longer support or upgrade that CMS within that version.

Our upgrade concern is that the older versions of the popular CMS systems may cease to work should your hosting company upgrade their LAMP stack. They can do this without warning. This is not under your control, and they may upgrade. For instance, the host upgrades your servers version of PHP and now your site will not work because all the protocols have changed. This is the main reason right now to update your site. cant afford to upgrade right now, that is fine, there is no immediate rush. What you do have to do though is secure it, and there are many components and plugins available for joomla, wordpress and drupal that will secure your old site quite well. And these should have been installed and configured all along.

When getting quotes for your site upgrade, there are some simple questions that need to be asked by the developer, and many are not asking the right questions, leaving unsuspecting customers in a lurch. Many of these are freelancers who under priced, do not spec the project and do not have the skills or experience. Thats is why we are getting calls about failed upgrades. They did not ask the needed basic questions below before taking the project.

 We have a process that we adhere to when it comes to upgrading websites quotes. Customers don't want to hear them or give the answer because they know it will take time and cost money. They want the quick cheap response. That will always take longer and cost more in the end and is not working out for anyone.

So, for our quoting procedure we have a few simple questions

1) what version is your current site.
we need this because if it is several versions old, we may not be able to upgrade directly to the newest versions, we may have to upgrade in stages.

2) we need a list of all components, modules and plugins
not all of these have been upgraded to work with the newest CMS versions, thus you will lose functionality and/or features your old site may have had. You will either go without, or we can quote to create that functionality for the new site. The customer will be responsible for purchasing any commercial  components, modules and plugins needed for the new site to work. This way everything is in your name and you own these and can get support directly from the developers of the  components, modules and plugins in the future if needed. Our quote does not include your out of pocket costs.

3) upgrading shopping carts
we need to know what shipping and payment option you use on your site as they may not be available for the new versions. We also need to check on any 3rd party cart addons, such as coupon managers etc.

4) Templates
Does your site have a commercial template, or is it highly customized  or a built from scratch one of a kind. Sometimes templates need to be re-created from scratch for the new versions.

 5) Customizations
If you have customized your website, your site may not be readily upgradeable. All those customization may be lost with 1 click upgrade programs. We need to know about ALL of your customizations. Sometimes the old code will work on the new upgraded site, but many times those customizations need to be done again from scratch as the new versions have different protocols and architectures. Updating custom code is quit time consuming. Any customizations not reported in the final quote, will be considered new work and will commence after the updated site is live.

 6) Expectation
Your website will look and operate differently. New versions are new architectures and new GUI's. It will layout different. Even your websites look may need to change, expect this. The administrator management will also look different, have functions in new locations, old functions may be gone and new functions added. Even setting parameters and the adding of editing of content may change. Sometimes basic functionality is even left our by mistake or buggy in a newer version. This is not the fault of the programmer or developer, the CMS systems are constantly being updated. Sometimes for the better, sometimes not.

7) Omissions

At times potential customer think that if they omit or lie about customizations they can save money. They have actually received quotes prior to coming to us, and could not afford. So they learn to omit when providing us with the details we need, and then sticking us later. Any customizations not reported in advance we will adjust the quote for.

Our procedure is to acquire all of this information and create a plan for updating so there are no surprises, for you or for us. Just as you want to hold the cost down, we want to make sure we quoted properly and can finish the project within the quote.

Also, we may not upgrade after all. For our upgrade services, we actually may build a completely new website site and import all your content into it. We do this to eliminate any problems or “bugs” that your current site may have. This also eliminates the need to make several version upgrades to get to the newest version. This will make for a more stable website with better coding. If we upgrade directly, than any existing issues with your old site will also be transferred to the new site. No one wants that.

Since we have adopted these protocols, we have not failed to upgrade any website, regardless of the CMS system used. Upgrades are by quote only, please click here for a quote or call us at 860-294-2444 M-F 10am to 4pm M-F.

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Tuesday, 19 January 2021

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