February 11, 2022

The Great Joomla 4 Migration

It's been a long 5 years since plans were first unveiled to develop Joomla 4.

Now, six months past the official Joomla 4 launch, it is time to look at what this workhorse of a content management system can do at the ripe old age of 17 years. 

First off we need to realize that Joomla 4 (J4) will truly be ready to deploy when all of the extensions you use are compatible with J4. At this point in February of 2022, about 90% of the extensions we use for our clients are compatible. We expect to be at 100% and ready to develop and deploy J4 websites for our clients in the 2nd quarter of 2022.

So what’s the big deal with Joomla 4?


Joomla 4 is the next major release of the Joomla CMS. It is a complete rewrite of the code and is designed to run your website for the next 5 years. The Joomla developers didn’t just focus on adding new functionality, they improved the quality and optimized the code to reduce software bloat and improve the performance of your website. Support for PHP 7 and 8 along with the use of the Bootstrap 5 framework further future-proofs your website investment. 


As always, the security of your Joomla website is a paramount concern for us. The efforts made to rewrite Joomla’s codebase and remove obsolete code makes for a safer and more secure Joomla website. J4 also includes the following new built-in security features: 2-factor authentication, HTTP security headers, and WebAuthn passwordless login system that allows for public-key authentication (biometric, hardware token, etc) that is ideally suited for security-sensitive, large scale, and enterprise class web projects. 


Joomla 4 was built from the ground up with ADA accessibility in mind. Out of the box, Joomla 4 is WCAG 2.1 AA compliant. All your visitors will be able to access and benefit from your website’s content. 

User Interface

Your website administrators will surely appreciate the new backend interface that’s easy to use and easy on the eyes. The admin user interface moves the main admin menu from the horizontal top position to a left column vertical position that is similar to how WordPress does things. This simple user interface change really speeds up the management of your content. Thankfully J4 includes a brand new media manager that allows you to drag and drop file uploads, edit images like crop, resize, rotate, and perform file management tasks like renaming files. 


Joomla continues to be a powerhouse when it comes to SEO. Now with Joomla 4 and the above-mentioned admin user interface changes, access to all the SEO tools are at your fingertips, with built-in tools such as structured data (schema), index control, page slug/url, titles, and meta descriptions, etc. 


Joomla 4 has a new default search extension that actively indexes the content of your website and automatically updates when new content is added or edited. There are a number of ways to configure your search index so it can understand the different kinds of content you want to index. Your website visitors want more accurate web search results and Joomla 4 delivers.

Important FAQs for Migrating to Joomla 4

Q: If I have a Joomla 3 website, when do I need to move to Joomla 4?
A: Joomla 3 will stop receiving security and stability updates on August 17, 2023. This is called the End of Life (EOL) date. Your J3 website will continue to run after its EOL date, it just won’t receive security patches. You should start to plan the move J4 well in advance of this date. 

Q: Can I upgrade my Joomla 3 website to Joomla 4?
A: Yes, but it is called a migration not an upgrade because the code for Joomla 4 is completely new. There is a migration process that Joomla has defined to move your website to Joomla 4. How complex and expensive this migration will depend on how your J3 website was built and how old it is. You should talk to an experienced Joomla web developer to get an estimate.

Q: Do I have to migrate my Joomla 3 website to Joomla 4?
A: Eventually, yes. At some point long after August 17, 2023, your Joomla 3 website will be so out of date that it will become a security threat to itself, your visitors, and the service you use to host your website. One or more things will happen at that point: Your website will stop running properly, hackers will disrupt your site, or your hosting service will shut your website down. 

Q: How long will a new Joomla 4 last before I have to migrate it to the next version? 
A: We estimate that the end of life for Joomla 4 will be around the end of 2025 or the beginning of 2026. Basically around 4.5 years from the launch of Joomla 4.

Q. Am I able to keep my content when I migrate to Joomla 4?
A: In most cases, absolutely yes! However, for some old J3 websites where content is stored in an extension that is no longer supported and not compatible with J4, you might run into an issue. You should talk to an experienced Joomla web developer to help you figure this out. 

Q: Can you make my Joomla 4 website look like my Joomla 3 website?
A: We can get it pretty darn close, but you should ask yourself why. Why would you want a website that looks 5 or 10 years old? 

Q: What’s the difference between a one-to-one migration, redesign, or rebuild. 
A: If your website is fairly new and was built properly, then we can do a fairly easy migration where we keep the look and functionality of your site when we migrate to J4. If your website is over 3 or 4 years old, you should seriously look at a redesign that will change the look of your website, or a rebuild that will change the look and functionality of your website. Either way, we can move your content over during the process.

Q: Wouldn’t it just be easier to move my site to WordPress?
A: Not really. We do A LOT of WordPress websites. Moving your website to WordPress still means you have to build a WordPress site. We can certainly do that for you AND move your content over. However, you should know that we put our clients into a Joomla website for a reason. We match the CMS to the needs and abilities of the client. WordPress is wonderful to use but for some clients, it can be very confusing. 

Tick Tock

The clock is running to migrate your Joomla website to Joomla 4. It’s best to talk now to an experienced Joomla web developer to plan your move to J4.

TDG is a client-centered marketing and web agency that has been developing and hosting Joomla websites for over 15 years. We are Joomla experts. We’re based in the Black Hills of South Dakota and work with clients throughout the United States.

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