How to Upgrade An OpenCart Store (1.5+)

OK, in this blog post I will be giving you a step-by-step guide on how to upgrade your OpenCart store. I will be assuming that you’re running a store which is at least 1.5, for those running 1.4 sites I will be writing another guide for you shortly!

You might have put off upgrading for a while because it is hassle, sorry to be the bearer of bad news but it is rarely simple mainly because of the huge variation in themes and extensions. It’s important though to keep your site secure and enjoy all the benefits which come with a new version.

The very first thing you should do is go through all of the extensions and themes you’ve installed on the site and make sure you get a copy which is compatible for the version with you will be upgrading to. Keep them safe for the moment in a folder somewhere.

The first thing I would suggest is creating a backup of your store and keeping it to one side. It is important to have an untouched version of your store ready to reinstall if anything should happen. Also, since many of my readers don’t have a test server to try it on I will write this guide as if I was working on the live site. However, I would always suggest working on a test site so you can leave customers to go through your live site with no downtime.

Backing Up Your Website

OK, login to your Web Hosting account panel and create a Zip folder with your entire store in it to keep as a backup. Next login to your PHPMyAdmin area and export your entire database to keep as a backup.

Get the latest version of OpenCart

Go to and download the latest version of OpenCart to upgrade to. I would always suggest using the very latest version as it has all the new features and security updates but if for some other reason you’re upgrading to a version which is not the latest, you can find them all listed in the site.

Performing The OpenCart Upgrade

Unzip the folder which you’ve downloaded from and look inside the upload folder within it where you will see the root folder of the new store (the folder which contains the admin, catalog, image folders etc). There will be a file called config-dist.php in both the root and admin folder which will need to be deleted. You will be keeping all of your config files from the live site as it contains the correct filepath and database connection details.

Navigate to the root folder of your live OpenCart store and then upload the new version on top of the current one. You will see a load of overwrite warnings but just dismiss these as you will need to overwrite old files with the new one. Also now upload all of the updated modules and themes you have, overwriting the old ones until you have updated everything. Then you’re done.

Resetting the system

OK, now everything is uploaded you just need to perform the upgrade and edit permissions for your user account. So, go to your store URL followed by “install” so it will look like: www.[DOMAIN-NAME].com/install where you will be greeted by a page detailing the next steps.

Click the “Upgrade” button below and OpenCart will update itself to the new version. Afterwards, it will tell you to login to the admin area so login using the same credentials as before and navigate to System -> Users -> User Groups and ensure that all of the boxes are checked for the permissions of all the user groups you have.

Next, go to System -> Settings -> Click “Edit” on each store name and then “Save”. Even if nothing needs changing, it’s just to make sure everything is saved into the database correctly.

OK, and that’s it! You’ve upgraded your OpenCart store, if everything has gone well then just ensure that you delete your “install” folder as you did when first installing OpenCart and your new store is good to go! If you have done all of this on a test server then see this blog post I wrote detailing how to move an OpenCart store across servers.

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