Do I Have To Upgrade To Joomla 4

Unlike the monthly security and bug fix upgrades for Joomla, the Joomla 4 upgrade is a major upgrade.  This means that you may find some of your site plugins and even your site template may not be compatible. So do you really need to upgrade?

The short answer is no, there is not an immediate imperative to upgrade to Joomla 4.  Joomla 3 will continue to be supported with security updates and bug fixes for 21 months after Joomla 4 is released.  On the other hand if you have a Joomla 2 or 1.5 website you probably shouldn't consider updating at all because for business purposes your site is so out of date you probably should be scrapping it altogether and starting over. In any case, we would always recommend waiting for a couple of bug fix releases before updating.  Let someone else find any bugs before you do.  Despite a team of volunteers heavily testing Joomla 4, there will always be some minor bugs that are missed.  Even if you are keen to update, I would suggest waiting for 4.1 at least.

In the medium term however you should be planning to upgrade.  Joomla 4 brings a number of major improvements and extension developers will not continue to support Joomla 3 indefinitely.  Most businesses find that they need to do a major refesh/redesign of their website every two to three years so the upgrade to Joomla 4 can be planned into that cycle unless there are specific benefits for your business that might mean an earlier update is beneficial for you.

What are the benefits of upgrading to Joomla 4?

One of the major advantages of major upgrades is that old, outdated code can be dropped which makes the platform faster.  Joomla 4 will score better than an identical Joomla 3 website on Googles speed tests.  Joomla 3 was substantially faster than Joomla 2 and so on.  This is a significant factor in Googles ranking algorythm. 

Usability is also improved.  I can remember my first experience with Joomla 1.06.  By the standards of the time it was incredibly user friendly.  Every major update, from Joomla 1.0 to 1.5, to 2.5 and to 3.5 improved the user interface, keeping it current with the trends of the time.  Joomla 3 introduced a mobile friendly backend which was a big step forward and ahead of other cms but user expectations continue to change as experience with other software lifts expectations.  The Joomla 4 allows you to customise the desktop with icons so you can hide much of the stuff you rarely use, and easily access the things you use often, presenting a much cleaner and simplified experience. 

Joomla 4 Desktop
Joomla 4 Desktop


The extension developer Phoca has already produced an icon based menu system for the Joomla backend that gives you an experience more like using a tablet or Windows desktop.  You can add or remove icons depending on what functions you access most and add a custom background image.

Joomla4 DesktopJoomla 4 Phoca Desktop

Other Benefits Of Upgrading to Joomla 4

Joomla 4 offers a number of other features that may benefit your business.  The include improved accesibility, even higher levels of security, a content workflow system, customisable emails and enhanced search functionality.  We will be expnding on these and other upgrade information in future articles.



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