The following post might be a little upsetting if you are in the midst of realizing that your site is very messed up after being migrated by Bluehost. You probably won't want to read it. Rather, just contact me.

If you have received a notification from Bluehost but they haven't yet done anything on your account, I highly recommend you move your site to a new host immediately. A couple of hosts that will let you have a 1.5 site on their servers are in the right sidebar.

I had been hearing rumours of Bluehost forcing Joomla 1.5.x sites to migrate. I have only 3 Joomla 1.5.x sites left - the rest have all migrated. These few just don't have the wherewithall to migrate and indeed, they are hosted at Bluehost.

Even still, within a day of the rumour I heard, I decided to email one of my clients and find out if they got a notification from Bluehost. Indeed they had, but they didn't send it to me.

That client told me that Bluehost had sent them instructions on how to migrate from 1.5.x to 2.5.x. Huh? Migration isn't exactly the most straightforward of tasks. It's not like adding a hyperlink to an article.

Today, I received an inquiry from my website stating that she needed to migrate one or two sites from 1.5.22 to 2.5.17 (Bluehost sites). Further investigation with the prospect gave me this blurb from the Bluehost notification email to the customer:

"Throughout next week we will be migrating users found to be using Joomla less than 2.5.17, to 2.5.17. We strongly encourage you to perform the upgrade ahead of schedule to avoid any possible unforeseen issues."

They had received the email on Friday, January 17th. So not a lot of time there.

It seems there are a lot of variations on these notifications Bluehost is sending. Some say they only received one. One said they got a notification even though they're on Joomla 3. They had to call Bluehost and clear it up. Be proactive.

So I called Bluehost to find out what is going to happen with this migration

I wondered what Bluehost really meant by "...we will be migrating..." Were they really going to do a Joomla migration for these people? What exactly was going to happen here?

Here's what I learned on my call with Tech Support at Bluehost:

  • They will be running an automated script to migrate Joomla 1.5.x sites to Joomla 2.5.17
  • This will be a gradual process to ultimately include all servers at Bluehost
  • They have been sending notifications to their customers running 1.5.x sites for over 4 months to warn them of this impending event (some since September of 2013 - so if you're just now getting the last one that is unfortunate)
  • They will be taking backups as they always do (Jenn note: you should never depend on your host for backups!)
  • The instructions they sent to people is from the Joomla documentation on Migrating from 1.5 to 2.5.

My deduction from this is that probably, the following is also the case:

  • Third-party extensions (that includes your template) will probably not be migrated
  • No, they don't typically login to the backend of your Joomla site to fix anything

Why is Bluehost doing this?

Bluehost is a hosting provider. They have servers. They like to update their servers. They like to run current technology. Old technology presents security vulnerabilities that affect their servers and their ability to provide support.

Joomla 1.5.x has been end of life (EOL) for over a year now. Joomla 1.5.x runs on PHP 5.2.x which has been EOL for three years. Many third-party extension developers are no longer patching or supporting 1.5 extensions.

Bluehost doesn't want that kind of risk on their servers.

I hear you say:

I don't care about the new features or technology. The site is working fine.

For now - but at fewer and fewer hosting companies. It's more difficult to fix broken things when they do break. And they will.

I don't have the money to migrate the site.

Do you have the money to fix it after Bluehost runs their automated script and forces you to go to 2.5.x and the site doesn't function? ...and in emergency mode too? The whole thing is unfortunate indeed.

Here's how I predict this automated script from Joomla 1.5 to 2.5 run by Bluehost is going to go (this is a prediction and I could be wrong - I hope I am):

Bluehost will run their script and get the 1.5.x site to 2.5.x. It will bring the core Joomla data. Unless you are using a default Joomla template, when you go to your website:

  • Your template will probably not show
  • Your menus will probably not show
  • Your modules will probably not show
  • Your third-party components that were visible on the frontend (like a store or an events calendar) will probably 404 (not show)
  • Your 1.5 plugins will probably not work (not show)

Help! Bluehost migrated/updated my site to 2.5.17 and now xyz doesn't work! Now what do I do?

First of all, take a deep breath cuz you probably have a current backup, right? Even if you don't have a current backup, still, take a deep breath. Admit that taking action sooner would have been a good idea and then forgive yourself. Do take note of this feeling though because it's probably not the last time you'll have to make a decision not to ignore the notifications that your host sends you.

Because I have not yet experienced exactly what is going to need to happen, I don't have an exact step-by-step for you. What I do have is "in theory."

In theory, most of your data was just migrated for you by Bluehost. In theory, the first thing you will want to do is replace the template with something more attractive for your site (go responsive!). In theory, the second thing you will want to do is select new module positions for the menu and any others that "go" with your new template. Then people can navigate your site. In theory, you should be able to find new third-party modules and plugins for your 2.5 site. In theory, you will be good to go. Unless you have third-party components that held a bunch of data. In theory, you could ask Bluehost if they will be willing to restore your 1.5 site in a subdirectory with password protection (both front and backend) so that you can get the data from the 1.5 site to the 2.5 site.

What I don't know is if their script will create any messed up assets. So you may have a few problems that wouldn't have occurred had you been able to do the migration "properly" or before someone forced you to. I will have to update this post as the problems start up. I predict a nightmare for the good of the server environment.

I like Bluehost

So you know, I like Bluehost. I'm an affiliate for Bluehost. I don't blame them for wanting 1.5.x sites (really, the third-party extensions that are out of date) off their servers. They aren't even taking them off, they're migrating them for you. It's just better if you were to do it first without them. They are creating a total disaster and I think it's drastic.

Sadly, I don't think I can recommend Bluehost to clients anymore unless they are totally committed to keeping their site up to date. Even then, I have a hard time supporting this level of drastic action and the results it will bring for many and never want to have to think about it again. I've moved them to the bottom of my list and am further saddened by the fact that I will have to recommend my clients change hosts at some point. Probably when it's time to go to Joomla 3.x.

If you want help, I may be able to help you

Contact me if you would like help getting your site put back together again. Let's see what we can do. Every migration is different because every site is different. Thus, the automatic migration script cannot be a "one-size-fits-all" script. There are bound to be issues. Hopefully, it all gets figured out one site at a time.

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