Upgrading - Basic instructions
READ THIS FIRST: How do I rebuild my site on the new version, instead of upgrading?
Detailed upgrade instructions that help you retain your customizations while upgrading to new features, can be found in this related article.
Before you begin, remember to make a complete backup of your files and database.
Be sure to familiarize yourself with the content of the release (and any prior releases you are upgrading through to get to the new release). You should review
A. If you want to PRESERVE YOUR CUSTOMIZATIONS, use these instructions upgrading and preserving customizations
B. If you have NO CUSTOMIZATIONS (or don’t wish to preserve the ones you have), here’s a high-level overview/summary of a slightly shorter process:
Back up your site from the server as well as the copy on your computer.
Backup your database
Create a new directory and copy your site into it
Then create a new database and load your old database in it
Do any database conversions necessary - only necessary if you have custom date fields
Next, change the two configure.php files to utilize the new directory and database This way … when you attempt to upgrade you are “practicing” to see where the problems, if any will happen
Make sure all appears to be working on your temp site.
Now load the “new” version files to your new temp directory from latest downloaded ZIP
Run the installer at
Choose the Upgrade option
Note: Do not select Clean Install or you will overwrite your database.
If the “Upgrade” button does not appear, then the installer was unable to connect to your database to determine its version. Check your configure.php settings and be sure the DB_* fields correspond to your new database, including that the DB_PREFIX matches the DB_PREFIX in your old site.
Process each suggested step one at a time … leave the first checkbox that the upgrader picked checked and uncheck the others.
-Advantage is that you can see your problems step by step
-Each time it completes it will recheck the boxes left to go.
-Continue in this method until all boxes are unchecked.
If you find you have issues, you are not hurting anything and can always start over without damage to your existing shop and live database.
QUESTION: “Why is this process so long?”
ANSWER: Another way to look at it is this: An “upgrade” is essentially a rebuilding of your site.
The steps outlined above are the recommended way to do it so that you rebuild your site in a temporary location, letting you resolve all potential problems before you ever touch your actual live site. This gives you time to sort out whatever needs sorting “just in case”, and allows you to keep taking sales while you’re preparing the upgrade. It also helps take some of the pressure off and makes it less urgent to do it all in one fell swoop.
The process of comparing your site against the original code for the old version is, in one sense, to simply help you quickly identify what customizations you need to make to put those same capabilities into your new site. It simply speeds the process and creates a sort of checklist of things for you to re-do on your new site.
Then, after you’ve got it all built in the temporary location, you put your live store down for maintenance, quickly redo the upgrade there, and then bring it online … meaning your actual live store’s downtime could be as short as 5-10 minutes depending on complexities etc.
So, follow the guide, and while there may be some learning involved and remembering of things you did awhile back, it’s all time well spent.
QUESTION: “I have a very old version. Do I upgrade in stages, or all-at-once?”
ANSWER: You can upgrade to the latest version directly. When you do the database-upgrade step in zc_install it will show you all the database-version-levels which need upgrading, and will pre-check the checkboxes for you and will take care of upgrading through all those steps automatically. Usually you can just leave those boxes checked and put in the admin password and proceed with the upgrade, which normally will take just a few seconds.