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Six Things to Consider Before Upgrading DotNetNuke

In case you haven’t heard, DotNetNuke 6.2 was released a couple weeks ago.  DotNetNuke 6.2 is just the same as any other release from an upgrade perspective.  For this particular blog, I’m going to assume that you have been a good DotNetNuke user and have been keeping up-to-date with all the releases.  It’s okay if you are behind by one or two point releases.  If you are still running DotNetNuke 4 or anything less than DotNetNuke 5.6 then I have another blog for you to read so you can learn about the pitfalls of not upgrading.  

Upgrading DotNetNuke isn’t hard.  Of course I’ve upgraded more DotNetNuke sites than I can count, but I know of plenty of other people that have never had problems upgrading from one version to another.   Upgrading DotNetNuke is really nothing more than overwriting the files in your existing site with the new files in the zip package then browsing your site and clicking a button.  Right?  Well, really that is all it takes.  What happens after you click that button really depends on your site and how well you have planned.   The six tips below will help you get up and running on the latest version of DotNetNuke in no-time!

  1. Contact your module and skin vendors

    One of the main problems that people encounter upgrading DotNetNuke is related to incompatible modules and skins.  While we are committed to backwards compatibility, we can’t enforce development standards or police the thousands of extensions in our ecosystem.  We have some very good vendors in our ecosystem that usually download the beta and CTP releases to test their products early, but they still need to test against the recent RC and of course the final release.  Take a few minutes and review the modules on your site.  Contact each vendor and ask them if their module or skin is ready for the latest version of DotNetNuke.

  2. Verify your backup and restore strategy

    You hosting company says they are backing up your site daily, but do you see the back ups?  Can you easily restore without going through support?  Make sure you have a recovery plan validated and ready before starting the upgrade process.  The last thing you want to hear is that your backup files are corrupt or that your last backup is several days old. 

  3. Learn about the product

    Take a few minutes to become familiar with the new release before upgrading your site.  Start with a new install and use the our default template.  The default template may not include every new feature or module, but it will allow you to see the product in the default state.  This will also make it easier for you to identify skin or layout problems with your existing site after you upgrade.  There are also plenty of other ways for you to learn about the new release.  You can attend a webinar, read a blog post, watch a video or review the wiki. 

  4. Read the forums, but use your best judgment

    Usually within the first 2-3 hours of any major release you will start to topics in our community forums related to upgrades.  Usually they are by people that didn’t follow the steps above, but we aren’t perfect either.  Once a release goes out the door, many members of our Product team will already be monitoring all of our various community channels.  This is where using your best judgment comes into play. If you see a topic about a failed upgrade, please read all the replies.  The forums are a very good way to call out failed upgrades due to problems with 3rd-party modules.  Keep in mind, every DotNetNuke upgrade is unique in some way.  Use your best judgment when reading community feedback.

  5. Plan Your Upgrade

    Planning your upgrade really depends on how important your site is to you or your company.  I believe every DotNetNuke website is important!  Make sure that your support resources are available at the time you plan to upgrade.  If a 3rd-party module is critical to your operation you want to make sure they will be available if something goes wrong.  This would also be a good time review your support agreements if you haven’t already.  Also, part of planning your upgrade is testing the upgrade process.  I always recommend testing the upgrade process on a local development or staging site.  You don’t want your first upgrade test to be your live site if you can help it.

  6. Ask for help

    This doesn’t mean run to the forums and tell everyone your website is down.  Ask questions before the upgrade.  We have numerous resources in our ecosystem to help you along the way.  If you think you have a unique upgrade challenge; create a topic in the forums.  If you have a question about the upgrade process; post your question in the community exchange.  If you want someone to guide you through the upgrade process or handle everything for you; contact one of our amazing partners.


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