How to upgrade OJS from version 3 to the latest version » Open Journal Theme

How to upgrade OJS from version 3 to the latest version

It is nice to know that the OJS version is always improved from version 1 to version 3. The majority of the user of OJS 3 is using version 3 that is not the latest version, as OJS administrator we need to update the OJS as it released. By using the latest version of OJS, our site would become faster, secure, and can utilize many of the new features.

The latest version of OJS right now can be downloaded here. Using the latest version of OJS is highly recommended because it always reported by the user that the previous version that released by PKP has many bug and security hole. Please download the OJS only from the official link from PKP. 

However, if you need to use the features that already developed by the OJS team let us upgrade the OJS version from the previous version to the latest one. If you are curious about the bugfix and the new features, you can check the list here.

Important :
Before you initiate the upgrade process please backup your OJS sites and database to the external drive.
We don’t provide any guarantee or responsibility of the result of the OJS upgrade 
OJS upgrade should be done by a professional and experienced since failed upgrade can make your OJS and its database corrupted


  1. Backup your current OJS file and the database, download it, and keep it if on the process it gets failed.
  2. Increase the PHP max_execution_time and Apache/Nginx TimeOut set it 2 hours.  Restart both your web server and PHP service
  3. Increasing the PHP and Webserver parameter cannot be done on OJS that using a hosting account.


Upgrading OJS 3 to the latest version

1. Download the New OJS version  package from this link

2. Upload the downloaded file to your server name the folder OJS_New

3. Copy this file/folder from the previous OJS version (previous) to the new version (OJS_New)

– public/

4. Enter your OJS 3.1.2 folder find the file. Change installed config in the file

From On to Off


5. Access your OJS site with your browser and find the section shown in the image below then clicks the word on the yellow highlight :


Next, you need to confirm upgrade action by clicking the button as shown below :


Wait until finished.

  1. Return the configuration on the file to On again.

ojs upgrade setting


If you are using our Professional Academic Pro Theme or another theme you may find that your site would look messy after the upgrade process.

after ojs upgrade successful

Your OJS index site would be get messed. ?

No, I am kidding.

Fix the theme Appearance

We would fix the theme since the new upgrade not recognize the cache of your template.

  1. Log in to your administrator
  2. Access Dashboard
  3. Download the theme (make sure it is the right version – Academic Pro theme version 2.+)
  4. Place the folder as you previously downloaded to the /plugins/themes/
  5. Extract there
  6. Enable the theme on the dashboard – plugins – theme section
  7. Select the theme on the Appearance page.
  8. Just click the Save button on the appearance page after the theme is selected.
  9. Refresh your journal index page and see the result

Congrat: We had finished the upgrade process.


OJS Upgrade Services by openjournaltheme


If you need a more professional and experienced team to implement this upgrade, we provide service to implement this upgrading service.  By using our service many of the data will pertain, the process will be done with multiple checks, the DOI record will not get changed.  Please check the below link for more detailed information about our service : 

OJS Upgrade Service

openjournaltheme have a few standards in the process of upgrade the site by implementing a staging process and Creating a backup of your current OJS to ensure that nothing goes wrong with your current OJS site.

9 thoughts on “How to upgrade OJS from version 3 to the latest version”

  1. Maybe i’m missing something, i end up with two folders 3.1.1 and 3.1.2, should is simply delete 3.1.1 folder/instalation?
    And what about SEO, and what about future upgrades 3.1.n, isn’t bad to change base url?

    1. 1.should is simply delete 3.1.1 folder/instalation?

      Answer :
      Please read again our post carefully

      2.Does change of base url have side effect to seo?

      Yes and it is negative effect for the SEO of all your articles except you also doing procedure to change the url on the google console (it is outside of this tutorial scope).

      It also would break your DOI record. On the short It is not recommended to change base url.

      3.What about the future update?
      You should plan and execute the ojs update periodically to patch some security hole or to get new features on every release.

      1. Hi Dr. Salwa

        Regarding your question, as our experience, you need to upgrade your OJS step by step from the next version to the latest version. 

        After you have done it, you should check on each journal for the process of submission, reviewer, check any tab on each of the journals, plugin, download pdf/asset from the article, and other functionality of OJS on each journal. The problem may persist different from each journal on your OJS. 

        You also need to backup the first working version which is the ojs files, database, and the working ojs source code.
        It may happen like this, on the second step after you update it you get the failed version so you need to start it all over again.


  2. Hi,
    we are using OJS version is 1.4.4 and we want to upgrade to to the latest or minimal version how do we do that? do we have to go up version by version or straight to the latest version? please advise.

  3. We just published an issue and our Index page does not show up again. The backend works. I checked the error log and this is what it says:

    [12-Feb-2021 15:21:30 America/Chicago] PHP Fatal error: Uncaught –> Smarty: Unable to load template ‘app:frontend/objects/issue_toc.tpl’ in ‘frontend/pages/indexJournal.tpl’ <–
    thrown in /home/cmqjoiax/public_html/lib/pkp/lib/vendor/smarty/smarty/libs/sysplugins/smarty_internal_template.php on line 195
    [12-Feb-2021 15:21:40 America/Chicago] PHP Deprecated: Non-static method PKPApplication::getRequest() should not be called statically in /home/cmqjoiax/public_html/plugins/themes/academic_free/ on line 67
    [12-Feb-2021 15:22:20 America/Chicago] PHP Deprecated: Non-static method PKPApplication::getRequest() should not be called statically in /home/cmqjoiax/public_html/plugins/themes/academic_free/ on line 67
    [12-Feb-2021 15:22:32 America/Chicago] PHP Deprecated: Non-static method PKPApplication::getRequest() should not be called statically in /home/cmqjoiax/public_html/plugins/generic/customHeader/ on line 112
    [12-Feb-2021 15:22:52 America/Chicago] PHP Deprecated: Non-static method PKPApplication::getRequest() should not be called statically in /home/cmqjoiax/public_html/plugins/generic/customHeader/ on line 112

    Please any advice?

    1. Hello Joshua,

      Regarding the issue you are facing, and the error log information that you have notified, to solve this problem please clear data cache and clear template cache on your OJS.
      If this problem persists please contact us at for a faster response.


        1. Everything is fixed as we have contacted with a direct email. Your problem actually is not related to the OJS upgrade.

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