Why Upgrade to Joomla 2.5

Joomla! 2.5 Current Release 2.5.28 Upcoming Release None
Release Date of Series   January 20, 2011 End of Support for 2.5 December 31, 2014

Why should I migrate ?

A Joomla! migration gives everyone a new opportunity to:

  • Revisit site goals and rethink its purpose
  • Clean up “great ideas” that never saw the light of day
  • Inventory third-party extensions that may have been installed but not used
  • Simplify and clean up old articles, menus and other content
  • Create new functionality on the site
  • Change design and navigation
  • Add accessibility to disabled visitors
  • Make the site mobile-friendly
  • Improve search engine optimization
  • Utilize new features you may have been using third-party extensions for
  • Insure your data against security breaches by having all the latest software

Technology Changes

  • Significant changes have taken place! Major releases of Joomla have restructured the data and require a “migration” as opposed to an update or upgrade. Technology changes have also been made within the versions of PHP and MySQL running on your hosts server. These changes force all content management system (CMS) technology to change with it.

Security

  • When a CMS changes its structure, a migration is required. The old version is no longer supported. This creates potential problems with security as security patches are discontinued and older versions of Joomla are not maintained.
  • Many hosts don’t want older software scripts (Joomla is a script - all third-party extensions are scripts) running on their servers because security is compromised as software ages. They have to update their servers to remain secure. More and more older versions of Joomla cease functioning because of server upgrades on the part of the host.

New Features

  • The most noticeable difference is the totally revamped administrator, which is updated to a modern design with many simpler and more friendly user-interfaces. Also, starting with Joomla! 3.0, Joomla! is now device responsive. Simply, Joomla! is mobile friendly and can be used with any modern device. You can save blank articles and versions of articles.
  • In most cases, you will need to start planning on an upgrade to Joomla! 3.x ASAP. Joomla! 2.5 has reached EOS (end of support) as of December 31st of 2014. Joomla 3 is stable and should be the choice for production sites.
  • · Many user interface improvements
  • · Easy multi-lingual setup for 64 officially supported languages
  • · Built-in Joomla! Extensions Finder as an onsite interface to the Joomla! Extensions Directory (that currently lists over 8000 extensions) providing one-click extensions installation
  • · Increased security with strong passwords and two step authentication
  • · New rapid development framework for new extension coding

Last month, I wrote about the impact of running out-of-date content management systems, such as the old Joomla 1.5, to your site's searchability, security and success. (If you missed that, you can catch up here). While all of that information is still valid, a major recent event in the world of CMS series has made necessary and addendum to that information: As of the end of January 31st, 2014, the Joomla community has ended its support for the long-term release Joomla 2.5. https://docs.joomla.org/What_version_of_Joomla!_should_you_use%3F

So, what does this mean? How bad will this be for websites currently running 2.5 and how immediately will the consequences be felt? The answers to these questions are somewhat complicated, but to sum it up: no one should be panicking right now, but over the next several months we can anticipate the consequences for not updating to become quite bad, exhibiting all of the same problems that already exist for other out-of-date CMS systems.

 At the moment, websites running Joomla 2.5 have been fairly recently updated for security threats, so neither the site owners nor search engines should be terribly concerned about breeches to security, especially with many 3rd party extension developers continuing to support their releases for 2.5. Although some developers have certainly already stopped supporting their old software, the next major step in unraveling this framework is scheduled for March 1st of this year when Akeeba backup cuts off support for Joomla 2.5 (https://www.akeebabackup.com/home/news/1609-announcement-about-joomla-25-support.html). Akeeba backup is one of the most integral pieces of software involved in running a Joomla site. While other security problems could potentially be patched up by running an Akeeba backup restore, a problem that exploits vulnerabilities in an old version of Akeeba is a much more serious concern. Therefore it would be recommended to begin updating from Joomla 2.5 during March at the latest.

Of course, your website may still be fine even in April, but as the lack of security makes the framework less popular, more and more extensions will become permanently unsupported, causing more security holes, reducing popularity and so on and so forth. Before long, as we have already seen, the lack of support generally will cause to search engines to steer users away from websites currently running that software. If you think that being able to be found on Google is important to your business' success, don't panic, but do begin immediately to make a timeline for upgrading your website to the current version 3.3.

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