Ok, so some of you may have noticed the site disappeared for a little while. Why? you may ask - the answer is simply that I wanted to give it a make over and a bit of an update, but as sometimes happens I played a bit along the way and learned some new things about Joomla.
So where did I start - the site is hosted with a company called Easyspace on a LAMP server and has been there for quite a few years, their service I have found excellent. The old site itself was on Joomla 1.5.1 or there abouts and my first thought was to grab something a bit newer and update. Searching around I found a plug-in called jUpgrade - it has good feedback on the Joomla site and has upgrade paths to 1.7 and 2.5 versions of Joomla. Ok I thought let's give it a go.
Step 1 - back up data and then manually upgrade the Joomla version from 1.5.1 to 1.5.26, (the start version of Joomla I had was too old to use jUpgrade so this manual update was needed) - easy to complete no issues
Step 2 - install jUpgrade and update to a 2.5 version of Joomla - should have been easy, but first failure was found. jUpgrade needs Joomla's Moo Tools to be active for it to work, every time I switched on Moo-Tools the site crashed and I had to use myPHPAdmin to manually turn it off in the database. Ok so let's dig a bit deeper - issue found, PHP version was too old, the server the site was on (one of Easyspace's older set ups) had version PHP4 running. One support ticket raised and a few hours later the site was shifted to a new server with PHP 5. Moo Tools activation no longer caused the site to wipe out.
Step 3 - use jUpgrade to upgrade to Joomla 2.5 - nope didn't work, images hosted outside of the Joomla file structure (but still in a folder in the site root) didn't transfer to the new 2.5 site - it was all pretty messed up. So much for that tool, adding in that my old site template also didn't work on 2.5 (I knew this would have to be adjusted), I decided just to go whole hog and do a fresh install, and if doing that why not go all the way to version 3.1?
Step 4 - Delete all the old data form the site and the database - I note that myPHPAdmin now gives a warning about PHP versus mySQL version - mySQL version is also too old for Joomla 3.1, another ticket raised with Easyspace and a few hours later the db was moved to a new server and everything was looking ready to go.
Step 5 - Joomla 3.1 uploaded using FileZilla and install via the installation PHP can commence. Only it can't it - it won't progress from the first screen and switching to a different language dies too. Joomla gives a couple of errors:
Warning: session_start(): open(/vhost/vhost4/n/e/t/netscribes.co.uk/www/session//sess_vdvru5f6sca7ft0oginderoid6, O_RDWR) failed: No such file or directory (2) in /vhost/vhost13/n/e/t/netscribes.co.uk/www/libraries/joomla/session/session.php on line 654
Warning: Unknown: open(/vhost/vhost4/n/e/t/netscribes.co.uk/www/session//sess_vdvru5f6sca7ft0oginderoid6, O_RDWR) failed: No such file or directory (2) in Unknown on line 0 Warning: Unknown: Failed to write session data (files). Please verify that the current setting of session.save_path is correct (/vhost/vhost4/n/e/t/netscribes.co.uk/www/session/) in Unknown on line 0
Ouch, so a bit of research shows this to be an issue with PHP sessions rather then a direct Joomla issue - fix can be done via changing the '.htaccess' file to ensure that the session path is valid. I check with PHPinfo to grab the correct path and still can't get it to work - guess what another ticket - the nice folk at Easyspace fix the error in the .htaccess file (stupidly I had gone in a circular route, I was reading that PHPinfo was telling me that I should point to the wrong server) and bingo we are go.
Thank you very much to the great staff at Easyspace - not only fixing the issues, but also helping me understand the server set up that I'm hosted on far better.
So next thing - let's get some funky looks sorted.
A bit of searching and I found the combination of free template and slideshow that I rather liked - JoomSpirit76 and Flexslider both from JoomSpirit.com and some more searching on Joomla.org pointed me in the direction of the eventGallery gallery plug-in from svenbluege.de. So all installed and looking good on desktop and mobile (part of the reason I selected a responsive template like Joomspirirt), now I've added a couple of articles back in and some piccies to the gallery. More content to follow and some tweaks to how things look - especially with the Gallery.
I'm feeling pretty happy with the updates