Transfer database from Elgg 1.8 to latest stable release

Would appreciate some advice on transferring my database from Elgg 1.8 to latest 2.0 version. Should I expect a lot of problems? Existing site has performed flawlessly as a closed site since 2013, but now I'd like to make it more generally accessible  in order to increase traffic.

Am also wondering if partial public access will bring me headaches in terms of site vulnerability. Is v. 2.0  less open to potential abuse than v. 1.8 ? Posting and uploading would be confined to registered members and what content was viewable by general public would be limited.

Thanks, Jon


  • I would upgrade your site from 1.8 --> 1.9 --> 1.10 --> 1.11 --> 1.12 -->2.0 just to be safe.

    Are you worried about spammers? My site has public access on by default but nothing bad ever happened. Only bad thing was the spam bots registering and spamming my site. I fixed the bots by using the spam login filter plugin.

  • Thanks Cim. I'm running lots of plugins. Would I need to upgrade them with each step from version to version or wait till I got to 2.0 and then upgrade the plugins?

  • You have to follow, the intermediate versions in between as Cim said. You can find full instructions here

    Regarding the plugins, turn off third party plugins before initiating upgrade. You have to find new versions of these plugins at the end of upgrade and replace your copy with these. But the compatibility of third party plugins are not guaranteed, unless the developers have released new versions of these plugins.

  • Also make sure the custom plugins you're using is available for each upgraded versions. 

  • Upgrading one minor Elgg version at a time is not just a suggestion but a requirement.

    With plugins it isn't a requirement necessarily but some plugins also contain upgrade scripts (to make the plugin data stuff in data directory or database compatible with the corresponding Elgg version if you have used the plugin on a previous Elgg version). For example, Tidypics does some updating when upgrading to Elgg 1.8 and again when upgrading to Elgg 1.9. I've tried to get the Tidypics upgrade scripts working also when running them only on the last / highest Elgg version you have upgraded to (after you have finished all pending Elgg core updates). Nevertheless, I would still recommend to do the upgrade of plugins in steps (together with Elgg core), too - especially as some plugins might really not work otherwise.

    Even more important: while you can upgrade to a newer Elgg version the downgrade is NOT supported. If you skip upgrading the plugins with each minor Elgg upgrade and only upgrade them for the last Elgg version you want to stay with you might end with a non-working site. Before starting the upgrade you should make sure (testing!) that all the plugins you use are really working correctly on the desired version of Elgg (a bonus might be testing on the intermediate Elgg versions, too). Once you made sure that the plugins are supposed to work, upgrade Elgg + plugins to the next major release. Then make sure that the upgrade was successfull (Elgg core and plugins still working) before doing the next upgrade step. Make backups before starting (install directory, database AND data directory). Especially, before upgrading to Elgg 1.9 a full backup is important because the upgrade to 1.9 will require some long running upgrade processes to run (including a complete workover of the data directory). On Elgg 1.9 I would make yet another full backup (after finishing the pending upgrades). With this backup you won't have to repeat to long running upgrade process to 1.9 in case anything goes wrong when updating to 1.10 and further (these steps are really short running ones then).

  • the problem of updating Elgg in my opinion, is in appearance, after updating the site will become standard again, will not have to customize, it's all standard with the bundled plugins.

  • @lorena that's why you need to check out which plugins are available for the next Elgg version that you're going to upgrade to.

  • Many thanks to all who provided this very helpful information. Makes me wish I'd done the upgrades as they happened! Too bad it's the only solution if one wants to preserve one's database and have it work with the latest version. I may have to leave it till the dark days of winter return and I'm looking for something to do!

    Again, many thanks to all.