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How do I upgrade to the latest version of DNN?

By Rich Campbell

We here at Engage are often asked about upgrades, so I thought I would write out how to do a simple DNN upgrade. For more complex upgrades or for information on changing your platform edition, please email jstone@engagesoftware.com, and he’ll be happy to help you sort this out. Here are the steps to perform a simple upgrade:

  1. Check dnnsoftware.com 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 down time for your production website. If you're not comfortable with creating a test version of your website, consider the DNNBackup module from Evotiva..
  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. The upgrade path is a general guide of the best ways to upgrade DNN without causing conflicts. You should be able to upgrade directly from DNN 7.x to DNN 9.x without having to stop in the middle (though if you have issues, performing the upgrade in small steps can help you find which issue causes you trouble).
  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> (for DNN 8.x and later) or CodePlex (for versions before DNN 8)
  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.

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!

Planning a DNN upgrade? Download our guide