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As an open source project, Joomla frequently updates its code with new releases. Often these have important security patches in then, so its really important to keep up to date.
If you consider yourself a skilled Joomla! user and have a little confidence in your technical skills then you may be able to save yourself some time if you're updating your Joomla! installations by FTP. This article will help you greatly speed up the process.
The first thing you'll need to do is send your web host support agent a request to enable SSH access (if available). Some web hosts require you to give an explanations as to why you would want to enable SSH, because it is a command line based way of managing your server and can really screw things up if you enter a command not knowing exactly what it does.
Here is a simple email you can use as a template to request SSH access for your server:
Hi, I would like to request SSH access be enabled for my user account on (yourdomain.com).
I need this in order to perform various security updates and upgrades to the Joomla! CMS on my server.
Once SSH is enabled, you can login to your server using a client such as PuTTY (PC). If you're a Mac user you can simply use OSX's native Terminal utility (located under /Applications/Utilities).
After launching PuTTy/Terminal, the first thing you want to type is:
(Hit enter to submit each command)
You should be asked for your password. For security reasons, you may not see it appear on the screen as you type it.
If all goes well, you should be logged in now. Servers are set up differently depending on your hosting environment, so once logged in you'll need to find your location.
Type ls to show your current location. In most cases you'll need to type cd ../ to get to the main directory listing. (the cd command means "Change Directory").
To find out exactly where your Joomla! installation is located, you can login to your Joomla! administration, navigate to Help > System Info (J!1.5). Look under "Open basedir" and note its location (excluding :/tmp)
Let's say your Joomla! installation is located in /home/username/public_html/. Type cd ../home/username/public_html/ to go inside the public_html directory.
It is highly recommended that you back up your installation before moving forward. To do this, just type:
tar -cvf site_backup.tar public_html/*
This will create a file named site_backup.tar of your entire public_html directory and its contents.
Now, let's say you're running Joomla! 1.5.3 and you want to update to Joomla! 1.5.7
You can access the Joomla! update listing at http://joomlacode.org/gf/project/joomla/frs/. Copy the link location to Joomla_1.5.3_to_1.5.7-Stable-Patch_Package.tar.gz and type:
wget is a command to download a package file from another server to your server.
gzip -d Joomla_1.5.3_to_1.5.7-Stable-Patch_Package.tar.gz
The tar.gz file now has a .tar extension so type:
tar -xvf Joomla_1.5.3_to_1.5.7-Stable-Patch_Package.tar
The package is extracted and Joomla! is updated. If all goes well and Joomla! appears to be stable, you can delete the site_backup.tar file form your server.