I've got an old client that's still on EE1 (I know!). They need to move server and will likely have to be on PHP7 which obviously means an upgrade.

What's the best approach here? I guess I need to upgrade EE1 > EE2 > EE3 > EE4? And how do I even get a copy of EE2?!

The site also uses a bunch of third-party plugins that I expect will be tricky too (NGen file field, Freeform, SL Google Map etc). Would I need to upgrade each of these at each step to a version which works with each EE version?

And finally, is this going to be insanely time-consuming – would I be better off rebuilding and trying to export/import data (if I can find an EE1 export plugin...)

Thanks for any tips!

1 Answer 1


This will be very time-consuming if you proceed.

Since most of the third party add-ons for EE1 are either out of development with no updated version or hard to obtain, you either own those old add-ons yourself and upgrade them yourself (so lots of development time), or you refactor your installation to not use them (lots of development time).

Basically, updating a CMS that old will be a rebuild anyways.

As for updating third-party addons with EE upgrades, please read the documentation:


That site has documentation for all versions of EE that includes when you should upgrade third-party add-ons when jumping EE versions. For each individual third-party add-on, you'll have to try and dig up their documentation on how to update them, although most add-ons are updated in similar ways.

As for where to get EE2, if you own a license for it or buy a new license, you can download EE2.9.11 from the Purchases section of expressionengine.com after you log in.

  • Thanks, that's kind of what I was expecting but good to know for sure. I think looking for an EE1 export script, then starting from scratch on EE4 will probably be the best approach... Commented Sep 28, 2018 at 15:06

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