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Migrating your old Kunena forum from Joomla 1.5 to Joomla 3.x

1979 hits Updated: 01 May 2015


Project Plan

Indicative cost

As a general background to this subject, there are many topics on the Joomla and Kunena discussion forums that help people who want to know how to migrate from J! 1.5. Basically there are three things that need to be moved from your existing website:

  1. Joomla users;
  2. Kunena forum messages; and
  3. Kunena forum attachments.

Migrating from J! 1.5 is not the easiest thing to do and requires good planning beforehand. J! 1.5 is completely different to J! 3.x—the user tables are different, the Joomla articles are different, and the source code used in templates, components, plugins, languages and modules is completely different. Add to this that J! 3.x uses a different security model to J! 1.5 and you can see that you could spend days or weeks trying to update your old website.

For those people who are prepared to spend as much time as it takes to migrate their old J! 1.5 website, this article may not be for you. This article describes the service I can provide if you decide that you do not have the time or skill to this job yourself.


The main objective is to upgrade Kunena. This means converting the old J! 1.5 user accounts, Joomla articles and forum data so that those things can be used on J! 3.x. This does not mean that everything you were using on your old J! 1.5 site can be moved over. Migrating from J! 1.5 is like rebuilding your site from scratch except that your new J! 3.x site will have users, articles and the forum to begin with.

What is included in the service?

  1. a fully-functioning Joomla 3.x site based on the default J! 3 Protostar template, with users, Joomla articles and forum (plus any attachments that your users uploaded) using the latest version of Kunena;
  2. a basic menu: home page and forum link;
  3. native Joomla SEO;
  4. Akeeba Backup software;
  5. access to forum categories controlled by the “standard” Joomla usergroups (i.e. registered, authors, editors, publishers, administrators); and
  6. the standard, default Blue Eagle template designed for the latest version of Kunena.

What is not included in the service?

  1. reapplying any customised software or CSS changes you may have used with your old forum;
  2. retaining avatar images that were distributed with the original Kunena avatar gallery;
  3. fixing broken images or links resulting from the move;
  4. integration with third-party components used in your original forum (e.g. JomSocial, Community Builder, AlphaUserPoints, uddeIM).
  5. installing, updating or replacing other Joomla extensions—components, languages, templates, plugins or modules—designed for J! 1.5 that you may have used.

Project Plan

The work will be undertaken in accordance, and subject to the conditions set out below, with the following project plan.


Your current J! 1.5 site must be working—not broken—and running on the internet.

I would like to look at the site to familiarise myself with its size so that I can give you an indication of the expected time (and possible additional costs) involved. There is no charge for this part of the service.

Your site must be in English.

You should be familiar with the use of Akeeba Backup and Kickstart software in order to backup and restore your site.

All costs are in Australian dollars[1] and payable within 7 days from date invoice.

The project will be undertaken under a fixed-price contract arranged before work commences. If you would like to see a copy of the draft standard contract, please login and return to this page..

The contract will be for one month[2] and the cost of establishing the contract is AUD 65.00.

Stage 1 Preparation: check for minimum technical requirements

In order to make sure that the migration from J! 1.5 to J! 3.x works properly, I recommend J! 1.5 is upgraded to the last release available (i.e. J! 1.5.26). For me to do this for you[3] an extra fee of AUD 40.00 will apply.

In order to make sure that the upgrade of your forum works properly, I recommend Kunena is upgraded to the last version compatible with J! 1.5.26 (i.e. K 2.0.4). For me to do this for you an extra fee of AUD 25.00 will apply.

In order to make sure that the migration from J! 1.5 to J! 3.x works properly, your site cannot be running in “legacy mode”; if your site is running with the System – Legacy plugin enabled (and you do not know how to disable this plugin properly) I will do this for an extra fee of AUD 65.00.

You are responsible for making a backup of your website and providing me with a link from which I can download the backup of your site to my development environment.

After successfully restoring your site on my development environment, I will assess if any of the conditions outlined in 2.1, 2.2 or 2.3 apply and, subject to your agreement to undertake that work, you will be invoiced for that work. If I am unable to successfully restore your site on my development environment I will inform you; you can then decide if you do not wish to continue. If you decide not to continue then the contract will be terminated and you will not be liable for any further costs.

Depending on internet connection speed, the estimated timeframe for this stage is 4 to 8 hours.

Stage 2 Preparation: creation of J! 3.x website.

A new website will be created using the latest stable version of Joomla. This site will use the Joomla Protostar template and Joomla SEO will be implemented. This usually takes about one hour to complete but there is no additional charge for this service.

Create a new Joomla administrator account for the new J! 3.x site.

Install and configure Akeeba Backup component.

Migrate old user accounts and Joomla articles.

Create a “home page” using one of these articles.

Copy and upgrade the Kunena forum.

Export the Kunena database tables from old J! 1.5 site, import the tables into the new J! 3.x site and rename the table prefixes.

Copy all forum attachments from the old site to the new site.

Install Kunena and enable the default forum menu item.

Reset all Kunena category permissions to their default values.


Demonstrate that the Joomla accounts, articles and forum data have been moved to the new test site.

Remedy any outstanding access issues.

If you are satisfied with this stage of the work you will be invoiced for remaining balance owing on the contract.

Delivery and post installation support

On payment of outstanding money owing, I will provide you with a link from which you can download the backup and restore it on your own webhost.

I will do my best to answer any questions you may have about your website.

Indicative cost

As mentioned earlier, migrating from J! 1.5 is like rebuilding your site from scratch except that your new J! 3.x site will have users, articles and the forum to begin with. Depending its size and complexity, designing a new website complete with menu, site template, policy documents and whatever other components you would like to have, the cost of building a fully-functioning website can range from several hundred dollars to several thousand dollars.

It typically takes between one and two days for me to complete the kind of work outlined in the project plan.

□ Migration (incl. con­tract setup)
$260 (minimum)
□ Upgrade to J! 1.5.26
□ Upgrade to K 2.0.4
□ Disable “legacy mode”

In order to keep the costs as low as possible, my minimum fee is about $260.00; this fee is usually enough to handle the “average sized” website (e.g. 500 users with 5,000 forum messages) In addition to that minimum cost, there could also be $40 fee to upgrade to J! 1.5.26, a $25 fee to upgrade to K 2.0.4 and a $65.00 fee if you are running J! 1.5 in “legacy mode”. It all really depends on how important you feel it is to do this migration/conversion work.

You can, of course, always decide that it’s not worth the cost of upgrading your site.


[1]  Please check the current exchange rate between your currency and Australian currency (for example, see http://www.xe.com/currencyconverter/convert).

[2]  The initial term of the contract is for one month but this can be extended by mutual consent between the parties.

[3]  I will not make any changes to your current site. Your current site will continue to operate as it always has. All work will be done on my own development environment from a backup copy made from your site. It is recommended that you prevent people adding new content on your current site while I am doing my work.

About the author:

is a Joomla professional and former member of the Kunena project for more than 8 years—a substantial contributor to the original Kunena documentation project with over twenty thousand messages posted at the Kunena forum. The opinions expressed in this article are entirely those of the author. View his profile here.

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