We are running version confluence version 3.2 and would like to install afresh and import the data from 3.2 to the latest version, is this possible or do we have to do each patch update?
If you don't have to do a fresh install I wouldn't. I would tend to recommend upgrading the system. You should test this first!!! Make a backup of your system and then upgrade it. Or if you really want to do a fresh install try it out. Install a 30 day trial on another box and then import your 3.x stuff into it ... see what happens. Never do things like this in a live environment without testing first.
The short answer no.
the long one, the storage format has changed from 3 to 4. And even in 5 there are some changes.
You can import your export on a clean 3.5 and then upgrade this version to 4.3 and then to 5.2, then to 5.3 and then to 5.4. I think, that is, at the moment, the correct migration path.
That is correct - trying to upgrade to 4 or 5 from 3.4 or below can be a complete nightmare, you can run into all sorts of vile problems. The path Atlassian (and those of us who've had to try to unpick such failed upgrades) is 3.2 -> 3.5, then you can upgrade to 5.something.
I haven't tried 3.5 to 5.3 or 5.4 yet, so I can't speak for that particular jump, but you should be fine with 5.2 straight to 5.4, and my first test would be 3.5 to 5.4 to see if that would be ok.
You can only import a space which is of the same major release (means only 5.x can be imported into 5.x). I can not imagine that it is different if you export the whole site and want to reimport it.
I would also recommend to install a test system, see what the update does to your content and and move on.
As I've done all that process just today (started from version 3.4.8) I would suggest you this upgrade path:
3.2 -> 3.5.13 -> 4.3.7 -> 5.0.3 -> 5.X (currently 5.4.2)
For problems on startup check your $CONFLUENCE_DATA/logs/atlassian-confluence.log
And search for "ERROR".
I also recommend to open a new topic if any problems occur.
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