The relevant transcript for this video is found here:
Hey there, Joomla fans. Tim Davis here. I'm a Joomla fan too. Thanks for tuning in to this week's Maintenance Monday Live-stream.
The tip for today is don't update your Joomla sites using Installatron.
I'll explain what Installatron is and that it's not a bad product but it's not good for updating Joomla sites. The reason that I picked this topic for today is some new clients I have had their web hosts updating their Joomla sites using a tool called Installatron and it left them in a bad spot where they could not update the site, and Installatron was essentially breaking the site. So we're going to talk about that, and we'll look at what the best tool is for updating your Joomla site other than actually going to the back-end of your Joomla site and updating.
So let's head on over to the screen and talk about what Installatron is. Installatron is in the cpanel. It's a feature that I add to my hosting company and so it's available to my clients. Comparable products would include Softaculous and also Fantastico. I'm guessing that what I say about Installatron and updating Joomla is going to be the same for Softaculous and Fantastico.
Basically, what Installatron and software like it does, is you can go into your control panel on your web hosting account, and you can pick any or all of several different software packages to install with a few clicks. So there's the Joomla one. PrestaShop, Magento, all kinds of things - and you install them with just a few clicks. You pick the product that you want to install and then go and pick the folder that it will go into on your server, where to have it installed. It installs all of it, and even helps you create a username and password for using it. Very handy.
It is a useful tool for installing Joomla. As you'll see here on my basicJoomla.com cpanel account, I have Joomla installed through Installatron one, two, three, four, five times. These are different installs I've used for different tutorials. Basically, when I need to quickly put a Joomla install setup on my web hosting account, I've used Installatron.
Installatron also has some tools that you can set up. I won't show them right now, but you can tell Installatron to backup your Joomla install at a certain period and you have the option of backing it up to your web space or you can send it off to Dropbox.
Now Akeeba does that - Akeeba the free version - backs up Joomla sites from right inside of Joomla you can access it, it backs up to your server and the pro version will update to Dropbox or will send your backup to Dropbox or a number of other products. So, I recommend Akeeba over using Installatron but still Installatron as a tool for backing up Joomla is a useful tool and it does work.
The problem is when you use Installatron to update Joomla, it only updates the Joomla install itself and all of the basic things - the default things that come with Joomla. If you change one extension or add an extension, say Akeeba, or you add RSFirewall, Installatron does not update those. As Joomla versions advance in different releases for security and for patches and for features, it's oftentimes extensions that don't work with the later versions of Joomla. You always need to be updating those too. So the best extension developers are keeping up with the development of Joomla, which is awesome, that's normal, that's what we expect to happen. But Installatron does not look at any of those extensions, not what the latest version is or what else should be updated first. For these two clients, whenever Installatron tried to update their site, one of the extensions would break the Joomla install, and they'd just get the white screen of death - 500 server error - and they didn't know how to fix that. The web host would just back them up to the older version. They were stuck for a long time with the notification to be updating. Installatron kind of jammed them in a place.
It took me an hour and a half to get each site up-to-date to the latest Joomla and latest extensions because things kept breaking. It was the wrong order, and it was so out of date.
So Installatron. A great system for installing Joomla, an okay system for backing it up, not a system to use for updating. Now other than using the update system that's in the core of Joomla, so you go and you update the extensions that you are alerted to, and updating Joomla version. Of course, always backup and do so with Akeeba.
The other secondary or non-core source for updating a Joomla site that I do recommend is Phil Taylor's site myJoomla.com. I've talked a lot about that and shown some of the features of that. MyJoomla.com is different than Installatron because Phil probably knows lots, but I think the big reason here is that in Installatron you're just updating the Joomla install. In myJoomla.com you can go and update the Joomla install but Phil has a lot of checks in place along the way saying, "Have you updated all your extensions?" "Are you sure they're all compatible?" "Do you have a backup?" He really guides you through the process of managing your Joomla site and in that way it's superior to the default Joomla updating core system. It's superiority increases conversely to your knowledge of Joomla or experience in it. Basically, the less you know about updating Joomla, the better off you'll be using myJoomla.com because it's going to give you tips and teach you things to watch out for, so you avoid the problems that can happen. You can avoid a lot of problems by learning from the tips and tools that are on myJoomla.com.
Maybe you get by with the Joomla core if you have a lot of knowledge of Joomla. Or if you want to learn, myJoomla.com is really good too.
But that was the Maintenance Monday tip that I wanted to share with you today, just to help you to avoid a whole host of problems. Just as a tool - and this is maybe more helpful to people that are just beginning out managing their own Joomla sites or just take a go over managing their own Joomla sites maybe you had someone else doing that for you ...
Installatron: don't update your Joomla sites with that. Probably not with Fantastico or Softaculous either. Use the Joomla core updater. Make sure you update everything on your site, update your extensions. You have to keep in mind which extensions don't use the core updater. So for instance there might be an extension that there's an update for but it's not designed for Joomla to alert you of that. Having said that, they might show up when you do an update search using myJoomla.com. But update everything in your site, keep regular backups using Akeeba because it's not only a helpful tool for backing up but it's also a helpful tool for transferring to another server or moving your Joomla site to somewhere else.
And if you're looking for a tool that gives you an advantage, makes some things a little bit easier for you, which tends to be why we gravitate towards extensions like Installatron, or Softaculous or Fantastico, if you're looking for a tool for that, check out myJoomla.com. Go to myJoomla.com and get the free site audit. In fact if you want to see about that, go to the link for the giveaways and check out the video preview of that site audit and that will save you some heartache and some frustration because the white screen of death is a drag and so everything that we can do to take those steps for updating and maintaining our Joomla sites that take away the frustration and the problems that can come from doing it incorrectly or using a tool that's not the proper tool for it then that will avoid frustration and it's going to let us enjoy our Joomla sites.
That's it for today. Enjoy your Joomla sites and we'll see you next time. God bless.