How to manage multiple Joomla sites and their updates



I have a number of Joomla 3.x sites, which I want to manage centrally, however they are all for different clients, so I cannot share any information between them.

What I want to achieve is to automate updates between them, run them at different versions (mainly to reduce upgrade risks) and be able to install extensions to multiple sites.

What I have done so far is set up a subversion repository with the shared code and I link this into each site with svn externals. However I have not achieved automation between the databases, in terms of structure of the database and updating the details of extensions.

My installation runs on my own dedicated server, which is locked down, so I have to change access rights of folders every time I upgrade Joomla or an extension.

I have at times upgraded Joomla by running the SQL scripts that come with the upgrades myself, at other times I have taken the change access rights/ upgrade/ change access rights route. Both approaches are still quite tedious.

I had a cursory look a these extensions: but none of them look like they may do what I want.

Has anyone done anything in this area and could give me some pointers to build a system myself? - are there code libraries (outside Joomla) that can track the changes to extension and other tables? My list of extensions is likely to stay restricted, I tend to code anything else that is needed in the templates or plugins. - any other ideas?


Posted 2014-04-26T07:58:56.903

Reputation: 773

jdog - Thanks for asking this question - I was just about to ask the same. I've looked at the solution which I'm evaluating, however as REactionFaye mentioned below, I'm looking at building an in-house solution. In the meanwhile, I'm using spreadsheets to keep track of all sites and their correlating extensions (esp. for versions) - and this is certainly something that can be automated. Ideally a solution is needed which alerts for available updates, can push those to mulitple sites with a restore point, has the ability to roll-back specific updates and logs and updates records. – NivF007 – 2014-04-30T15:49:14.450

@NivF007 thanks for the message - what would be your suggestions for coding components to achieve what we want. I have access to a library that can detect changes in database structure and apply them to other databases. I have nothing to track content changes yet. – jdog – 2014-05-01T08:15:58.413

If this is a 'discussion' - (btw - one which I'd very much like to have) - let's start a topic on the Joomla! Forum). – NivF007 – 2014-05-01T22:54:48.827


7 does everything you are asking for:

✔ manage Joomla websites at different versions centrally for different clients

✔ update Joomla

✔ update extensions

plus a great deal more:

✔ scan for malware

✔ restore compromised core Joomla files back to the original files

✔ automate backups

✔ uptime monitoring and alerts

New features are regularly being implemented.

You might also consider which has similar functionality and seems to be more affordable up to 25 websites. For more than 25 websites, the unlimited sites option may be better value.

I am not affiliated with but find it useful for managing the 50 or so Joomla websites I look after: extension update feature

Neil Robertson

Posted 2014-04-26T07:58:56.903

Reputation: 6 576

1Both and are up to the task. I have recommended both to clients and site managers. – FFrewin – 2016-07-11T07:07:32.027

1I have tried both of the above and found, for my needs (10+ sites so far) that myJoomla offers better value for money, although it doesn't currently offer single sign on, i.e. on click sign on from the myJoomla interface, but the support is second to none. Highly recommended, plus has helped me identify and clean a number of hacked sites. – Dtorr1981 – 2017-07-13T00:23:48.230

@Dtorr1981 myJoomla does allow single click login now ;-) – Phil Taylor – 2018-11-05T15:20:30.463


I know this doesn't answer all of your points but for me I have multiple sites all running 3.x

I use Akeeba, which notifies me of updates available, and is set up to create system restore points (basically SQL backups) when Joomla updates. So my routine is:

  1. Backup every site
  2. Check for updates to backup extensions
  3. If there are updates for the above run another backup
  4. Install Joomla update for the least popular site first


Posted 2014-04-26T07:58:56.903

Reputation: 416

same as above, don't you have to do this for all sites? – jdog – 2014-04-26T19:58:42.263


I'm managing 30 Joomla sites some of them are 2.5 some 3.2. On patch I do the following per Installation:

  1. Run a script that makes a copy to a working directory of the files
  2. Copy the database with the current data as postfix
  3. Switch the working directory version to the new database.
  4. let run Joomla update on it, maybe update some other extensions
  5. test website (because an update easily break some functions, thats the reason why I make it manually)
  6. Rename the current site folder with the version tag
  7. Rename the working directory to the name that apache excepts

This reduces the risks to a minimum and the downtime to zero if you make the last two steps atomic (really fast).

Harald Leithner

Posted 2014-04-26T07:58:56.903

Reputation: 1 818

2Ok, I can't see how this automates anything? Don't you have to do the same for all sites? I'm looking to do things not for every site, but automate it. – jdog – 2014-04-26T19:58:23.410


I don't suppose you've looked at yet? We manage 200+ sites on a regular basis with extension and joomla updates. Watchful is designed to help manage this exact scenario pretty well. It's a newer service and they're regularly adding new features.

Out of your listed requirements, does all the things you want: 1) Automated Updates via centralized control panel 2) Remote install extensions 3) Automated Backups via Akeeba 4) custom scripting / plugins possible 5) tons more features

Now a potential drawback I see is that if you're interested in giving clients access to their own closed-off part of this control panel I don't see that being possible yet, but it'd be a good feature to ask them about implementing.

We are in the process of putting about 200 sites on this solution. We have about 50 currently and we're moving more over as we're able. I'm expecting to reduce a lot of our staff time by moving over to Watchful and increase productivity as a result.

Chad Windnagle

Posted 2014-04-26T07:58:56.903

Reputation: 949

We've used Watchful in the past, Chad is bang on. We've moved away from it now because we've built our own system geared to our specific clients, but we still recommend this. – Faye – 2014-04-27T20:06:46.403

Hi Chad, I hadn't seen yet, but some other solutions in this space. Where I am hesitant at the moment is that my super secure file access rights setup has saved my bacon so many times, I would not want a solution that works from within the Joomla interface or framework. – jdog – 2014-05-01T08:13:32.883

What I mean is that any solution that doesn't have access to my server is inherently going to need write access to the Joomla files through FTP or within Joomla. I don't want to open this up at the moment. – jdog – 2014-05-01T08:14:38.037