Goal: To update Concrete5 using the Concrete5 built in automated updater

Difficulty: Easy

Prerequisites: Your PHP settings must support CURL requests. This guide assumes that you are an administrator of the concrete5 website you are trying to update. While no FTP access is directly required for the upgrade, in the event your upgrade fails you will need access to directly modify files. 

Note: These screenshots were taking from an instance of concrete5 running on version 5.5. If you are using Concrete5.4 or older the administration interface may appear drastically different and may require you to go through other upgrade steps before being able to update your site. Also, please note that recovering from a failed backup is not included in this tutorial, however it does prepare you for that scenario.

Introduction

One question we never hear people stop asking is "Should I upgrade my Concrete5 website to the latest version?" Our answer is almost always "It depends". We typically recommend that if it is feasible, you stay on the most current release that has been available for at least 3 weeks. Why this 3 week waiting period? Unfortunately, nobody is perfect, and this includes the developers working on the Concrete5 core. There have been countless times where the core has become corrupted or something was broken due to a human programming error, and that can cause your site to break. Waiting for a release to become a little more stable than bleeding edge is generally what we recommend to those clients of ours who don't have programming expertise to fix a bug themselves when it occurs. Typically, if a release has been available for 2-3 weeks and no new release has followed, I would consider that pretty stable. On the other hand, if you are having issues with your current version of Concrete5 that you know was fixed in a release, it may be beneficial for you to upgrade right away.

Regardless, we do think that keeping your site up to date and doing at least annual upgrades is a good idea. This helps to ensure that going forward you won't have to go through several iterations of upgrades in one shot. This is a bad thing to do because then if something does break, and you don't discover it right away, you have to try and deduce what actually caused the issue, was it the first upgrade? the second? the third? So there is a bit of a balancing act here with waiting and upgrading. If you have questions you can certainly reach out to our development staff or the Concrete5 community for expert advice or opinions.

Step One: Backing Up Your Concrete5 Website

I cannot stress enough how important it is to back up your Concrete5 website prior to doing any updates (including when you do add-on updates). While 99% of the time Concrete5 upgrades without any problems, there's always that 1% of the time where you find out that the database server crashed during the upgrade, or PHP ran out of memory halfway through, or perhaps you had a developer who thought they knew what they were doing and ended up modifying the Concrete5 core files, breaking any upgrade ability you might have had. Several of these reasons often happen on shared hosting due to lack of resources or conservative settings.

  1. The first step of backing up your Concrete5 website is to access the system section of the dashboard. This can be done by going to http://www.example.com/index.php/dashboard/system/. It can also be done by hovering over the "Dashboard" icon in the toolbar, then selecting the "System & Settings".
    C5 Dashboard Systems & Settings

  2. From the Systems & Settings page we now want to look under the "Backup & Restore" section, and select "Backup Database". You can access the backup database by using the following URL directly: http://www.example.com/index.php/dashboard/system/backup_restore/backup/
    Concrete5 Dashboard Systems & Settings - Backup Database

  3. Next click the "Run Backup" button.
    Concrete5 Systems & Settings Run Backup
    Note: As stated int he important information section, you should not keep these backups any longer than necessary. Having .sql backup files in your web root is generally a bad idea in general due to possible security implications. Also, these files can take up a lot of disk space depending on the size of your website, adding to your site backup times and possibly exhausting your disk quota with your web host.

  4. Once this completes you should now have your backup listed in the "Existing Backups" section.

Previously I stated that you do not really need to back up your file system, this is because Concrete5 doesn't overwrite any "core" files when the upgrade happens. However, it does modify your files in the /config/ folder on the root of your site. It may not be a bad idea to back these files up, since in the event you need to revert your site you would essentially just need to restore your database and the files in that directory. That said, if you don't it's usually not overly difficult to rebuild those configuration files assuming they weren't completely deleted.

Step Two: Downloading the Next Version

  1. Back on the Dashboard "Systems & Settings" page, you should select the "Update Concrete5" link. This can be accessed via http://www.example.com/index.php/dashboard/system/backup_restore/update/.
    Concrete5 Systems & Settings Update Concrete5

  2. This page may look slightly different to everyone depending on what version you are on, and what future versions are available. However, you should have a "Check for Updates" button and a "Download" button if updates are available. In this case we will select the "Download" button.
    Concrete5 Systems & Settings Download Update
    Note: Downloading is not the same as upgrading, you can download your files and come back later to do the upgrade. This is often a good idea if you don't have time to commit immediately to doing testing right after you do the upgrade, especially if your web server does not have a high amount of bandwidth available or you are testing from your home connection. If you do wait for a period of time after downloading the update, please make a new database backup just in case something changed.

    Also, on this page there are often release note highlights indicating what has changed and a link to more detailed notes. These are often a good thing to read through if you are considering moving to the most current version of Concrete5.

Step Three: Running the Updater

  1. Finally, we're to the updating part of things. After you downloaded the update, it should have redirected you to http://www.example.com/index.php/dashboard/system/backup_restore/update/. Which looks like the screenshot below. If not you can use the link posted above, or go back into the Systems & Settings page, and click on "Update Concrete5" again.
    Concrete5 Install Local Update

  2. Next, click the "Update" button showing on screen. Afterwards you should be presented with a screen saying that the update is completed. At this point, you should review your website to make sure everything is working as expected.
    Concrete5 Upgrade Complete

    Note: In the event that you received a PHP memory error or other odd error, you can re-run the update by going to http://www.example.com/index.php/tools/required/upgrade?force=1.

Step Four: Cleanup

Please make sure that post-upgrade you clear your cache. 

  1. This can be done by going to the "Systems & Settings" section of the Dashboard and clicking on "Clear Cache" option under the optimization.
    Concrete5 Dashboard Clear Cache

  2. Next you will be presented with a simple interface screen. Click the "Clear Cache" button and you're all set to start using your newly updated Concrete5.

  3. Once you are comfortable your install is working properly, go back to the "System & Settings" page and into the "Backup Database" page. Here you should make certain that you DELETE your backup. Alternatively, if you really want to keep this around, you should download the file, save it into some nice safe spot on your computer, and then delete it off the server.

Need Additional Help?

In the event that you need additional help with your update there are several resources available to you.

  • First and foremost the Concrete5 community. Create an account on www.concrete5.org and post to the forums with any problems you might run across. This helps alert the developers of problems people are having so that the product can be made better or more user friendly in the future.
  • Secondly, contact your web host. Often times the installer may error due to php not being configured with enough memory or perhaps it's not running the right version. These are things that your web host should be able to help you address.
  • Thirdly, please feel free to contact ExchangeCore's development team. I list us as the last option because while we know what we're doing, but we also come at a price and we hate to see you throw money away when there are other options. If you do need our help, we can be reached by visiting our Development Contact Page.

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