This is getting so frustrating! It is a real PITA to update CiviCRM every single time there is an update.

We use several extensions. According to the documentation, I have to disable each extension (which you can't do in bulk, you have to disable them one at a time), back up the database, make a copy of the site, delete all CiviCRM files, download the update, unpack it twice (.gz and then .tar), upload it to the hosting provider, run the update script, figure out why the system still thinks it it's in update mode (causing many things to not work!), re-enable each extension individually, then try to find out why this stupid unserialize error at line 153 keeps popping up (I have yet to figure out what table is causing this, but I have determined it does have something to do with the database, I even downloaded an extension that is supposed to tell me, but I can't seem to get it to work).

We are on a shared hosting plan (non-profit so cheap cheap cheap), so sometimes the admin side is painfully slow and it is not unusual for it take 4 hours or more to do a simple update that should be able to happen like updating any other module through the Drupal panel and take about 15-20 minutes.

Is it every going to happen this way, or will I always have to do this manually?


3 Answers 3


I feel your pain.

There is no way to do it through the modules panel.

However, I believe the instructions you are following are unnecessarily complex. What we do is back up, then delete the civicrm directory, upload the new version and then run the update script. We don't bother disabling and enabling extensions. We use maintenance mode if it's during working time - you don't need to unless you expect people to try and use the system during the upgrade.

To be fair we do have a test system that we do it on first. But we have not had any trouble (sometimes things don't work after upgrade but this has always turned out to be the result of bugs rather than anything we did), and in any case you are already backing up first so if something did go wrong you could restore.

I think this is quite a common approach, see for example https://civicrm.stackexchange.com/a/11436/465

As for the error that you say appears after upgrade - usually one or two clears of the drupal cache will fix such things http://www.inmotionhosting.com/support/edu/drupal-7/configure-caching/clear-caching


It sounds like you're using some very old-school approaches to system management. You can probably make your life easier by adopting some newer practices.

  • Always run upgrades on a test server. I like to run it on my own laptop. You can use a virtual machine for that.
  • Ideally, use a version control system like git, so you can push your upgrade from your fast local machine to your slow shared hosting.
  • Most tools will unpack a .tar.gz file in one go. Consider using another tool.
  • You'll probably get the most bang for your buck if you take 1-2 hours to learn the command line and start using drush. If you have to do ANY Drupal-related administration, drush will save you hours and hours of work. If you take the first two lessons at https://www.codecademy.com/learn/learn-the-command-line, then find a drush tutorial online, you'll be much less frustrated by Drupal - and CiviCRM! For instance, to disable multiple modules at once, you can type: drush dis civicrm views mymodule myothermodule.
  • I got the impression that the OP did not have command line access to the server.
    – naomi
    Dec 9, 2016 at 13:13

I can't answer the specific question of if/when there will be an easier GUI-based upgrade process, but two possibilities to alleviate the current pain:

  1. If you are using Drupal and have ssh access, then 'drush cvup' from the command line is easier.
  2. Consider a Civi hosting provider that does updates for you.
  • In general cheap hosting does not provide command line access.
    – naomi
    Dec 9, 2016 at 13:14
  • Naomi is correct. And being that it's an NPO cheap is the key.
    – Rod W
    Dec 17, 2016 at 23:11
  • Yes, cheap hosting generally doesn't give you as much access/memory/diskspace/databases/bandwidth etc compared to more expensive hosting. My point is that if you do have command line access, then there are other options besides the GUI approach. OP did not specify whether they have command line access. What monthly budget are you looking at for your hosting?
    – Aidan
    Dec 19, 2016 at 17:19

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