I've done lots of CiviCRM upgrades over the years in Drupal but I've had CiviCRM complain in the past if I skip too many versions so I'm being a little overcautious maybe.

I have a Drupal 7 / CiviCRM 5.0 site that I'd like to upgrade tomorrow to 5.7 and I wonder if I need to upgrade in increments or whether I can just jump ahead and let the upgrade script upgrade the db all in one go.

What's the best practice for this?

Thanks, Andrew

3 Answers 3


The 5.x series has a new point release every month, with a focus on stability (generally, large new features go into extensions).

So upgrading 5.0 -> 5.7 is the equivalent of upgrading 4.7.20 -> 4.7.27, a minor upgrade and generally considered safe to do at once.

  • This - you’re upgrading within a single major release so you should be absolutely fine to just upgrade! Nov 18, 2018 at 18:39
  • Oh cool. I will do so at once then. Nov 18, 2018 at 19:52
  • 1
    Just a follow up. Yes. The update from CiviCRM 5.0 - 5.7 went without a hitch. That was nice. We updated from PHP 5.3.x to PHP 7.1.x over the weekend which is why I pulled it off the LTS CiviCRM 4.6.38 and now we'll be on the regular releases going forward. Thanks for all the help folks. Nov 19, 2018 at 17:47

In my experience it varies widely, often do to the amount of custom functionality, and contrib extensions, modules, and plugins that create data in the database, and may not do so exactly as CiviCRM's standard forms do.

I've upgraded at least 75 different websites over the years, with a wide variety of starting points and custom features.

Often we can upgrade large jumps in versions and it works. Sometimes it takes three or four increments. Recently I upgraded a site from 4.6.8, to 5.7 . I had to upgrade first to 4.7.31, then to 5.2, finally to 5.7. I could not get to 5.7 from 4.7.31. Conversely I also upgraded a different site recently from 4.7.13 to 5.7 without incremental steps, smooth as silk.

Generally it is best IMO to upgrade when there are security releases, which two or three per year is common. The exception to my rule is if I specifically need a feature.

I find upgrading with each minor version when it comes out tedious and time consuming... especially if the site has many extensions / modules / plugins, and customs, because it's not worth the risk of a feature breaking unless the new minor release has a feature I actually need.

  • Wow... 75 websites with CiviCRM. My hat is off to you. I have been maintaining 5 Drupal/CiviCRM websites and the oldest has been for 8 years, the others have been 5, 6 years. When I upgraded from 4.x to 5.x, I upgraded CiviCRM 4.6.38 LTS to 5.0 and then from 5.0 - 5.7. It worked well. I'm changing our policies to upgrade on a monthly basis as per the new CiviCRM release Schedule. Dec 3, 2018 at 6:49

I too have run into too many issues if I skip some. I just go ahead and do them all and find that I run into a lot less issues.

  • Thanks Jenni. That would have been my process too. Nov 19, 2018 at 17:48

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