I have a website hosted on Hostgator with over 100 pages that’s about 10 years old and uses version 1.6.9. The aim is to upgrade ExpressionEngine without breaking the website, then I can move on to re-designing the templates. I’ve looked initially to upgrade to v2 and have seen instructions for replacing system/core folder etc, but I can’t see where on Hostgator I get access to these folders. Anyone any experience of this that could point me in the right direction please?
Also, does anyone know if running this many upgrades will be backward compatible, or is it likely the website will break?
You should have access to all your folders via the Control Panel. You’d have to log into it. From the Control Panel go to Icon labeled “File Manage” and that’s where you can access it. You can also SFTP into your website and view, modify your website files that way. I am in the same boat as you with an older 1.69 version of Expression Engine. It’s my biggest website. I have tried to upgrade 2.x websites to 3 and even that was like pulling teeth and did not work. It broke my website. ExpressionEngine needs to be more like WordPress where the content in in certain folders and the look, update of WordPress do not break a website. I love ExpressionEngine because I can create the fields and look that I want. But updating is something that only those involved in the dark arts of sysadmins could love. It upsets me that they made it so hard up until version 4. I was about to leave ExpressionEngine completly, but it’s free now and I can create what I cannot create in WordPress. There should a way to export data and then import it after an upgrade to a fresh install.
Hi Jose. Thanks for your reply. It doesn’t sound like I’m going to have much luck migrating 100+ pages. I’m thinking this will need a new site and fresh install of Expression Engine and then someone (not me thankfully) will have to decide which pages they want enough to make it worth their while adding them. This is for a friend of mine who is used to setting up templates and adding pages so I imagine when faced with the choice she will stick with Expression Engine over WordPress. I’m grateful for your reply, which confirms my suspicions that something 10 years old isn’t going to upgrade and migrate easily.
Upgrading native EE from 1.x isn’t that bad, though a little tedious. You get on the latest v1, then upgrade 1-2, 2-3 and then you can go straight to v5. What makes an updgrade difficult are the add-ons. If you’re using something that doesn’t have a v5 compatible version, then you have to replace it. The difficulty will really come down to the add-ons.
That said, so much has changed since v1, if the time is there, I do like the idea of builing out a fresh site on v5 and then importing the content. I’d build a site using layouts today, and with shared fields and new field types, my structure would likely be very different as well. It will take more time, but if you’re doing a design refresh as well, it’s worth considering.
Then use DataGrab to import the old content: https://expressionengine.com/add-ons/datagrab
Hi Robin. Thanks for your reply. Very useful to know that add-ons are the thing to watch out for when upgrading. The DataGrab utility sounds really useful too!
I must admit I’m favouring the second approach of a fresh site layout. I’m a complete newbie to ExpressionEngine so that too makes it feel like this is the right way to go.
On hosting - the current website is with HostGator - although Jose kindly responded with details of how to get to the folders for upgrading I don’t see these in FileManager within cPanel, and HostGator’s support doesn’t look great. Googling Hostgator ExpressionEngine suggests it’s not something they invest resources in. a2hosting however clearly do, so I’m thinking of starting a fresh build with them and going from there. If you have any other suggestions they will be gratefully received!
For only 100 pages I’d go for a fresh install the import data with Datagrab.
Full rebuild would allow you to take advantage of newer field types and also assess any old pages that are no longer needed.
> I’m a complete newbie to ExpressionEngine so that too makes it feel like this is the right way to go.
If you’re wanting to learn EE and you aren’t under a time/money constraint, I’d take my time and build fresh. A 1.x site just won’t have had the same features available as a v5. And if you’re going to learn, might as well learn properly.
Now if you’re charging clients and doing a lot of upgrades, a lot of times it will be faster to just ‘go with it’ where possible, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But if you have a choice and you’re updating the look anyway, I’d say build fresh.
If you’re building fresh and using DataGrab to import the old entry data, you don’t need to upgrade. Leave 1.x alone as long as it’s working- go build your new site in v5.
BUT if you were going to upgrade from 1.6.
First- I’d read over this blog overview on upgrading: https://expressionengine.com/blog/make-upgrades-easy-with-these-simple-tips. It starts assuming you’re on v2, but it’s a good thing to start with.
Second, upgrade to 1.7.3 AND make sure any third party add-ons are also up-to-date for v1. To get the v1 files, drop a note to firstname.lastname@example.org. And the docs for updating within v1 (rather than upgrading to v2) are here: https://docs.expressionengine.com/v1/installation/update.html
Third, upgrade from 1.x- 2.x. The upgrade instructions are here: https://docs.expressionengine.com/v1/installation/update.html
You can download v2 and v3 from github:
Each step, you need to make sure to update the third party add-ons as well- and get the ones that work for that version. Like I say- this is generally the more difficult bit. How difficult the upgrade is depends almost entirely on the add-ons.