How to Migrate your Articles to Joomla 2.5 with J2XML

Written by Scott Greenwald Posted in Joomla Extension Reviews, Joomla Tutorials, SEO Tips

Follow along as I migrate a site from Joomla 1.5 to Joomla 2.5. Although there is no all-in-one solution to migrate your site (and rightfully so, as Joomla 1.5 and 2.5 are completely different systems), there is a great tool out there for importing your content into 2.5. Content, as in your articles, categories, images and authors.

J2XML is the perfect component for exporting and importing your content. Its actually two separate components. The process is simple. First install the J2XML Exporter on your Joomla 1.5 site. This allows you to export your articles or entire categories, including images and authors, into an XML file. Then, install the J2XML Importer on your Joomla 2.5 site to simply import the XML file. That's it! J2XML will create the categories, images, users/authors and all other info associated with the articles you exported.

Among it's powerful features, the J2XML Importer allows you to maintain content ID's. This is extremely helpful in terms of SEO, since Joomla includes content ID's in your site's URLs. Most likely, the search engines have already indexed the URLs of your Joomla 1.5 site. So making sure the content ID's remain unchanged ensures that your URL index will remain intact, with minimal dead ends or 404 "Page Not Found" errors.

Overall, J2XML is a solid solution for helping you migrate to Joomla 2.5. A big Thank You and two thumbs up to Helios Ciancio and the folks at for making such a useful tool!

Have you used J2XML, or another tool to help migrate to Joomla 2.5? Leave a comment, I'd love to hear your story. 

Scott Greenwald

Scott Greenwald

Scott Greenwald is designer and front-end developer. He's been a Joomla addict since 2007 and a contributing author to the Joomla! Community Magazine.
Follow Scott on Google+ and Twitter. Subscribe on YouTube for exclusive video tutorials.

Comments (50)

  • Goyat LLC
    Goyat LLC
    24 April 2012 at 03:07 |

    Scott, your tutorial video is very good. I was not realized this site belongs to you.

    Norito from Yokohama
    Goyat LLC

  • uxg
    26 April 2012 at 16:26 |

    Thank you Scott. Neat tutorial.

    I tried to follow this link,
    & export users, but got an Invalid Token error.

    The suggestion is to export data in portions as the error is due to large data, but that did not work either.
    Would appreciate any suggestions ?

    Thanks !

    • Scott Greenwald
      Scott Greenwald
      26 April 2012 at 16:57 |

      In this video, I did only export a few articles at first. I did get errors trying to export sections. But I ended up exporting each category successfully. Some of the categories had over 100 articles. I'd suggest the forums if you need help from the developer.

  • Maximilian
    02 May 2012 at 01:31 |


    very good tutorial! I tried it myself and everything works fine except one thing: It didn't keep the ids which are very important. i tried it again excactly the way you did but it aint work. whitout correct ids every link on the page is wrong since they are connected to the id...

    • Scott Greenwald
      Scott Greenwald
      10 May 2012 at 07:47 |

      Make sure you're using the latest version of both the Exporter and Importer components, and that the 'Export Id's button is checked. I had a similar problem at first, then realized I had accidentally installed an older version of the component.

  • Janis Keim
    Janis Keim
    16 May 2012 at 16:56 |

    I am loving these two extensions! They are working better than anything else I have tested when "upgrading" from J15 to J25. When importing, if I get a message that says Invalid Token, I assume I can simply re-export those articles. True assumption?

    Also, do Menus get exported/imported in the same process? I think that's the only thing left for me to check off the list, aside from reconfiguring modules/components (assuming the same template is being used and is compatible with J25)

    Great extensions - best I've found so far!


    • Scott Greenwald
      Scott Greenwald
      17 May 2012 at 02:30 |

      Hi Janis! I've gotten the Invalid Token message when trying to import large xml files, in the 20mb range. Excluding images helped to reduce the xml's size. And yeah, it's a bummer that J2XML doesn't export Joomla's menus. I ended up having to manually change the menu IDs in my database.

  • Anne Marie Notarthomas
    Anne Marie Notarthomas
    20 May 2012 at 07:29 |

    Thank you! Very clear directions. Helped me better understand issues with one upgrade I need to tackle!

  • Joseph
    11 July 2012 at 02:12 |

    Hi Scott,

    I started my site with Joomla 1.5, and upgrade to 2.5 using jUpgrade. I guess I have some issue in my database (lots of other people also complain in the forum) and would like to start a fresh Joomla 2.5, but would like to transfer all the articles.

    Is there any tool that I can use? Or could you make tutorial how to transfer Joomla articles manually from 2.5 to 2.5?

    • Scott Greenwald
      Scott Greenwald
      13 July 2012 at 06:59 |

      I've heard a lot of people have had trouble with jUpgrade, sorry to hear you're in that camp. As far as transferring articles between Joomla 2.5 sites goes: I'm not sure if the new version of J2XML includes this feature. But I would probably go about it manually, by exporting the relevant tables from the mysql database, and importing them into the source site's database. This can be done easily using phpMyAdmin. Maybe a good idea for a future tutorial.

  • Royal
    13 July 2012 at 05:50 |

    You are great man...i looked for how to transfer my articles from 1.5 to 2.5...God Bless You!

  • sahar
    09 August 2012 at 04:20 |

    hi, icant install j2xml in joomla 1.5.26
    the error is:
    Error! Could not find a Joomla! XML setup file in the package.
    please help me

  • sahar
    10 August 2012 at 01:22 |

    hi again , now i have problem with importing articles , i have a lot of errors that is shown below:
    User شقایق کاشانی not imported. An error occurred.
    User name in use
    Category Products/ویدیو کنفرانس not imported. An error occurred.
    Category YOOtheme/ATcom scroller not imported. An error occurred.
    Category YOOtheme/Grandstream scroller not imported. An error occurred.
    Category YOOtheme/Snom scroller not imported. An error occurred.
    Article IP Phones Snom not imported. An error occurred.
    Another article from this category has the same alias
    Article IP Phones ATCOM not imported. An error occurred.
    Another article from this category has the same alias
    Article IP Phones grandstream not imported. An error occurred.
    Another article from this category has the same alias
    Article تخفیف ویژه سال نو میلادی not imported. An error occurred.
    JTableContent: :store failed

  • Sophie Johansson
    Sophie Johansson
    10 August 2012 at 16:56 |

    Thank you so much. I have been messing around all day, trying to get it working with JUpgrade. This is much cleaner!

  • sam
    25 September 2012 at 15:47 |


    I dont have the old joomla website now but i have the old database, the sql file in my hosting php myadmin... is it possible export the jos_content table as an XML file and then import using this component?

    if so how should i export the data and and how can i import the data?

    • Scott Greenwald
      Scott Greenwald
      25 September 2012 at 17:00 |

      I'm not sure, but you can try searching for a SQL command that will convert your tables to an xml file, which basically is what J2XML does. Try contacting the developer for more details. Another option is to set up a dummy site to import your sql database into. Depending on the version of your old Joomla site, you can check the Joomla archives for the installation package. If that works, you should be able to use J2XML as it was intended.

  • Carlos
    02 November 2012 at 16:06 |

    Hello!! Im migrating articles from joomla 1.5.11 to 2.5, but a got this message "Category Mensajes/Mensajes not imported. An error occurred.", all other fields are imported correctly. It's J2XML merging category + section in 1.5 to section + subsection in 2.5??

    • Scott Greenwald
      Scott Greenwald
      02 November 2012 at 16:25 |

      Are you exporting from a section or a category? And is it possible the category was already imported?

  • Sascha
    11 November 2012 at 14:32 |

    Hi all,

    i had the "invalid token" error too. Compressing the xml file solved the problem. the original file had a size of 8 mb, the compressed one only 1.3mb.

  • Lena
    12 November 2012 at 09:34 |

    Great tutorial!

  • Sean
    14 November 2012 at 13:59 |

    Hey scott, thanks for the great article really came in handy although my server is a bit slow so im having to export bit by bit.
    Just wondered if you knew about an easy way to export my comments i was using jomcomment may move to disqus? any help really appreciated!

    • Scott Greenwald
      Scott Greenwald
      14 November 2012 at 16:16 |

      Yeah, J2XML only exports Joomla core items. Check with the developers of the Disqus extension for an import utility.

  • Manos
    12 December 2012 at 18:08 |

    I did exactly what you described but when importing articles I get the following message :

    64 - XML declaration allowed only at the start of the document
    File format unknown. Impossible to import file.

    • Scott Greenwald
      Scott Greenwald
      12 December 2012 at 18:55 |

      I’m not sure what that means. Contact the extension developer, or checkout forum posts on his site:

      • Manos
        13 December 2012 at 00:32 |

        Thank you Scott for your reply, There is a solution to this problem I found in the but I can't really understand what I have to do. Can you please check what they exactly mean in this link ? >>>
        Thanks a lot !!

        • Scott Greenwald
          Scott Greenwald
          13 December 2012 at 17:13 |

          In that post, it looked like a problem with google analytics on the 2.5 site. If you dont have google analytics installed, then I'm not sure what the problem is. Try posting on the developers forum, he seems like he will provide personal help.

          • Manos
            14 December 2012 at 00:56 |

            I have already posted the problem in the forum just below the same topic since they had the same problem and it was solved.
            But as you will see the answer was not so clear again , it was saying that I have to delete the characters before the tag .
            and i asked them again (where and what to delete) as you will see below.


            Waiting for their answer.

            • Scott Greenwald
              Scott Greenwald
              14 December 2012 at 03:50 |

              If you don't get a reply, try email the developer from his contact form. I did that a couple times and got answered faster.

  • popllama
    13 December 2012 at 15:43 |

    Thanks for the clear simple presentation. very helpful and has played a significant role in our decision path. Well done...

  • Manos
    14 December 2012 at 03:50 |

    64 - XML declaration allowed only at the start of the document.
    File format unknown. Impossible to import file.

  • Daniel
    22 January 2013 at 06:03 |

    Maybe it is a little help for someone who has the same problem that i´ve had with "File format unknown. Impossible to import file."

    I tried to export and import only 5 articles and it worked.
    Every XML-file wihich was bigger than 2,5mb did not work.

    Sorry for my bad english - hope i could help somebody...

    • Scott Greenwald
      Scott Greenwald
      22 January 2013 at 09:22 |

      Thanks for the tip Daniel!

      What you experienced is normal. Most shared servers don't have enough memory to export or import large xml files. Exporting and importing in smaller batches should solve most problems. Also keep in mind that images in the articles will significantly increase the size of the xml file.

  • yuri
    02 February 2013 at 19:31 |

    I can export and import user whit that component?

    • Scott Greenwald
      Scott Greenwald
      03 February 2013 at 09:55 |

      If you want to import registered users, who are not article authors, then it might be simple enough to do this straight from you mysql database. Just export the '_users' table. Then import this table into your new database.

  • omaster
    24 March 2013 at 10:00 |

    Great tutorial! thanks!!

  • Thomas
    02 April 2013 at 22:48 |

    Please make an Importer for Joomla 3...

  • alexanderf
    29 May 2013 at 16:17 |

    Hi there!
    Thank you for this tut!
    Actually, i'm not tech savvy enough perform the upgrade by myself. So, i stumble upon cms2cms tool which upgrades content automatedly.It's possible to move some articles for free to check how this tool works and it allows to upgrade Joomla from 1.5 to 3.0 directly. Probably, i will give a try to this service and inform you about the result.

  • sling
    30 May 2013 at 15:04 |

    Hi there, thanks for your tutorial. i am trying to follow your tutorial to export articles for joomla1.5. however i am facing a problem that when i try to export 2000+ articles, it gave me an error message which state the URI is too large for server.

    Any idea on it?

    could i export the my categories one by one, then import to joomla2.5 after that.?

    your advice is much appreciated. thanks!

    • Scott Greenwald
      Scott Greenwald
      31 May 2013 at 21:24 |

      Yes, for large amounts of articles like that you would have to export them in batches. Check the J2XML site & documentation for more info.

    • miamiman
      01 November 2013 at 03:22 |

      Did you ever find a solution to " URI is too large for server" ??

      I'm running into the same problem and would prefer having to do it in batches.

  • sling
    08 June 2013 at 17:06 |


    i tried to import those articles batch by batch, however after i done import the first batch, i get "Invalid Token" msg.

    anything i miss out? Please HELP

    • Scott Greenwald
      Scott Greenwald
      08 June 2013 at 22:58 |

      I've never had problems with J2XML, so I can't offer much help. Try contacting the developer on his site.

  • dirk
    27 June 2013 at 15:55 |

    Hey Scott,
    I have installed the component on my 1.5 website.
    After that I tried to install the plugin, but I got an error: Fout! Kan geen Joomla! XML installatiebestand in het pakket vinden. (error: can not find Joomla! XML installation file in the package)
    Can you help me to solve this?

    • Scott Greenwald
      Scott Greenwald
      27 June 2013 at 21:13 |

      Are you sure you installed the correct version for Joomla 1.5? Try contacting the developer of the extension on

  • Sarah
    17 September 2013 at 13:51 |

    Thanks for the great tutorial! I saw it and thought I'd watch before asking my question... I've already done the import and everything was successful, but I have an issue with the imported articles.
    Every one of the 311 articles as well as all of the Categories have no "Access" listed on them and they don't seem to be indexed...

    The last time this happened I had to go into each item and "Save & Close" it to bring the Access up (in the backend Article or Category Manager)...
    Once the items have been "indexed" the "Public" or "Special" access appears and the articles show up on the site's front end and everything is fine.

    I'm just hoping there is a quicker solution than going into each article and saving them.
    I've tried Global Check-In and I have all the settings, set to match those in your video and the J2XML site...
    Has anyone else run into this issue?

  • eric
    21 March 2014 at 10:00 |

    this was a great tutorial. Really appreciate it. Id like to run something else past you. When i go to my plug ins to enable the j2xml plug ins, they will not dispay at all. I just get a blank screen. I wonder if you have ever heard of anything like this.


  • Mário Ferreira
    Mário Ferreira
    21 July 2014 at 01:43 |

    Hi. I'm having some issues with this. I install everything like the deployer said.
    I want to migrate 1.5 joomla articles to 2.5 version, but i have problems with the xsl.
    The developer said to follow manual if that occurs. But i haven't experience to follow xsl manual php.
    What i have to change and where to put it to works?
    My website is live.
    Can you help me?

  • Mário Ferreira
    Mário Ferreira
    21 July 2014 at 01:50 |

    To make even more clear, i export one article from version 1.5, want to import in 2,5 version, but it prompt a error saying that the version is not supported i have to install xsl, following xsl manual php.
    This note is in the installation tutorial.
    Thank you

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