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Upgrading WHMCS
Posted by Chris W. on 27 November 2013 03:46 PM

Performing an Upgrade

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The steps needed to upgrade WHMCS stay the same from version to version. However some updates may require additional steps which are unique to them. Should these be required you will find them in the Release Notes. Please always refer to the release notes for a version before attempting any upgrade.

Full Release distribution contains all the files of a WHMCS product installation. It can be used to perform a new install or update an existing installation (regardless of previous version).

Patch Sets contain only the files that have changed between the immediate, previous version and the latest version, (ie. a patch set for version 1.1.2 is valid for a 1.1.1 installation and nothing else). We provide these to make updating both quicker and easier for those of our customers who stay current and up-to-date with the latest WHMCS releases. By including only the changed files, patch sets have less files to upload which makes the upgrade process quicker and simpler for you to perform.

More information on our release types and distribution types can be found on our Releases page.

Upgrade Steps

For a Full Release Version

A full release version is denoted by the presence of _full within the zip folder filename and "Distro Type: Full Version" within the included README.txt file. If the zip file you have instead contains _patch, please refer to the below Patch Set Upgrade Stepsinstead.

Make a Full Backup - We cannot stress enough how important it is to *always* take a full backup before attempting any kind of upgrade. Both for WHMCS and any other software you use. A full backup should be taken of both the WHMCS files and the database.

  1. Begin by obtaining the latest full release download of WHMCS either from our client area or from your license provider (if using a reseller)
  2. Unzip the contents of the WHMCS zip file download to a folder on your computer
    1. If you have renamed your "admin" directory, be sure to rename the /whmcs/admin directory in the new files to match.
    2. Similarly, if you have customised the location of the /crons/ directory, be sure to upload that to the custom location
  3. Upload the new files to your existing installation folder replacing any existing folders & files
  4. Visit your WHMCS installation and you should then be automatically redirected to the upgrade process. If you see a message saying WHMCS is not installed, this indicates you have overwritten the configuration.php file for your installation. Stop and restore that file from your backup before continuing.
  5. Agree to the WHMCS End User License Agreement and follow the steps on screen to upgrade your database.
  6. When prompted, delete the install folder from your server.
  7. Your upgrade is now complete.

At this stage, the installation update is complete. However, if you have custom template files you will want to review the Release Notes again so that you know which templates, if any, were updated and act accordingly to propagate these changes to your customised template set.

For a Patch Set

A patch set version is denoted by the presence of _patch within the zip folder filename and "Distro Type: Patch Set" within the included README.txt file.

IMPORTANT: Before you begin please ensure you are running the version required by the patch. Patch Sets contain only the files that have changed between the previous release and the Patch Set Version. Therefore they should only be applied if you are running the immediately previous version.

The previous release version that these patch sets are designed for is clearly indicated as the first and smaller number in release notices providing the patch set download link.

  1. Download the patch set using the link provided in the release announcement
  2. Unzip the patch set files
    1. For patches that have updates for the “admin” directory: If you have renamed your "admin" directory, then make sure you rename the /whmcs/admin directory to match.
  3. Upload the files from the /whmcs/ directory to the root directory of your WHMCS installation
  4. Visit the admin area of your WHMCS installation to trigger the version number bump and complete the process

No install or upgrade process is required.

Confirming a Successful Upgrade

To confirm an upgrade has been successfully applied, login to your WHMCS admin area and check to make sure that the Version Number displayed either on the admin homepage (in the sidebar of all default templates) or in Help > Check for Updates is the version you attempted to apply. If it has not incremented, then one or more of the files has not uploaded successfully. You should double check file permissions and attempt the steps again from the beginning.

Helpful Hints


If you have customised templates, please ensure you always follow the recommended method for creating a custom template folder to ensure your changes aren't overwritten during upgrades. Similarly for language file customisations please ensure you use the Language Overrides feature vs editing the language files directly.

Bad Formatting

If when you first login you see a display where formatting is mixed or unclear, this can indicate your browser cache has not updated. Try clearing your browser cache or performing a hard refresh (typically Ctrl + F5) and delete the contents of the template cache directory (templates_c by default) to ensure you see the new templates and styling.

What to do if you get a Down for Maintenance or Upgrade in Progress message after uploading a patch set

If after uploading the files from a Patch Set you see a "Down for Maintenance" or "Upgrade in progress..." warning message then this indicates that the patch set files you attempted to apply are not compatable with the version of WHMCS you were previously running. To complete the upgrade you will need to download the latest Full Release version and upgrade using the regular upgrade process as described above.

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