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How do I upgrade to the latest version of DNN?

By Rich Campbell

At Engage, we are often asked about DNN upgrades, so I thought I would write out how to do a simple DNN upgrade. We're specialists in everything DNN. 

Services we provide:  

For more complex DNN upgrades or for information on changing your platform edition, please reach out to us using the Contact Us Form and we’ll be happy to help you sort this out. Here are the steps to perform a simple DNN upgrade:

  1. Check Github for the latest version.
  2. Create a test environment to test the upgrade. Having a test environment will help establish possible issues, so you’ll be able to troubleshoot them without downtime for your production website. If you're not comfortable with creating a test version of your website, please reach out to us for assistance.
  3. Take an inventory of third-party modules and check their compatibility against the new version of DNN. Often when upgrading DNN, third-party modules will need to be upgraded as well.
  4. If you're coming from an old version of DNN, review the suggested upgrade path below. The upgrade path is a general guide of the best ways to upgrade DNN without causing conflicts. 
  5. Once you have studied the upgrade path, and know which version to upgrade to first, download the upgrade package of the correct DNN version from GitHub. The file can be found in the Assets section (scroll down the page) for the desired release version and will have a naming convention like DNN_Platform_9.10.2_Upgrade.zip.  *You will have to do this for each version upgrade.
  6. Unzip the upgrade package to a separate file location on your computer.
  7. (Optional) Open your web.config file, and change the value of <add key="AutoUpgrade" value="true"> to false. This will ensure that you are the person that is running the upgrade. Read this wiki article for more information.
  8. Back up both your site’s file system and database.
  9. Copy the contents of the upgrade package over the site’s files.
  10. Browse to https://yoursite.example.com/Install/UpgradeWizard.aspx to begin the upgrade.
  11. Once the upgrade is finished, perform testing to ensure the functionality of your website and all its modules.
  12. If you are satisfied with the functionality of the website and modules, then perform steps 6-11 on your production website.
    1. You can also overlay the production site with your newly upgraded test site.  We highly recommend putting the production site under a content freeze during the entire upgrade process because any changes made on production that were not captured on the test site will be overwritten.

Having a DNN upgrade fail can be frustrating. There may not be any obvious error message. To start looking for details, you can navigate to /Portals/_default/logs in file explorer, open the most recent resource file, and view any exceptions that were thrown during the upgrade. If that still didn’t help, you can check the Event Log table in your database for errors as well. If you still haven’t figured out what is causing the upgrade to fail, I suggest restoring your backups and starting over from the beginning, ensuring that you are following the correct upgrade path. You may also want to check for any extra tips from DNN's Evoq upgrade documentation. Happy upgrading and please reach out if you need help.

DNN Upgrade Path

We are not going to go back to 2002 with the beginning of DNN as we hope most sites have been through DNN upgrades since then.  So we will start with more recent versions at DNN 7.

  • Starting at DNN 07.04.02, upgrade to 08.00.04.
  • From 08.00.04 upgrade to 09.01.01
  • From 09.01.01 to 09.03.02. 
    • Before performing this upgrade, please note in DNN 9.2.0, multiple APIs were removed that were deprecated in DNN 7 and before. Most of the core modules have been updated since and you can find them at https://github.com/dnncommunity. If you have other modules installed, please check for updates before upgrading to DNN 9.2.0 or later.
  • From 09.03.02 to the latest and greatest 09.10.02
    • ​DNN 9.4.0 introduced a minimum requirement of ASP.NET 4.7.2.
    • DNN 9.8.0 (and above for the 9.x series releases) brings the OPTIONAL (but HIGHLY RECOMMENDED) Telerik Removal.

DNN Evoq Suggested Upgrade Path

Upgrading your DNN Evoq site is similar to upgrading DNN Platform meaning that you would follow the same basic upgrade steps.  Like platform, you need to stair-step the upgrade going from small version to small version and not going from a small version to a major one since there could be breaking changes.  We also recommend upgrading approximately once a year, but that is dependent on the releases and any 3rd party module dependencies.  

  • 08.05.00 to 09.00.02
  • 09.00.02 to 09.01.01
  • 09.01.01 to 09.02.02
  • 09.02.02 to 09.03.08
  • 09.03.08 to 09.06.18
  • 09.06.18 to 09.10.2
  • 09.10.2 to the latest 09.10.6

For more information about the changes between each version and breaking changes, please refer to the DNN Support doc.


Need DNN Development help or a DotNetNuke Developer? Engage can help!  We're specialists in everything DNN.

Planning a DNN upgrade? Download our guide