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Upgrading very old JIRA instance

Hello community,

I searched for similar topics, but I could not really find all the answers I am searching for.
I hope that this topic will be useful for someone later, also.

Long story short:

Very old JIRA server (EOL reached) needs to be upgraded to the latest version. Server is CentOS with MySQL, virtualized.

Current JIRA version: 4.0.1 , build number 471

I know that, because of compatibility issues, I need to do upgrade this way:

Jira 4.0 >> Jira 4.4.5 >> Jira 5.1 >> Jira 6.4 >> Jira 7.0 >> finally upgrade to Jira 8.6.0

I do not have any experience upgrading old instances like this one, and, according to JIRA 4.0 documentation, there are two possible ways upgrading it:

  1. "XML backup/restore" method (recommended)

  2. "Connect JIRA to a copy of your old database" method

I would go with recommended solution (XML backup/restore), so this is what needs to be done:

"With this method, you back up your data as an XML file from your existing JIRA instance, back up your attachments, and then restore that data into the new JIRA instance. The new JIRA will create the database structure (tables and indexes) before importing the data."


So far, on recent upgrades with newer versions (Jira 7+), I used to download new version in tar.gz form, replace old installation directory with new installation directory, modify required files (server.xml, etc) to reflect changes from old installation, and that would be it.

In the end, my question will be:

Is this really the only way to go: Install totally new server on separate VM, install newer JIRA 4.4.5, connect blank MySQL DB and do XML backup/restore? Repeat these steps for every upgrade hop.

Would be also thankful if someone who experienced similar situation write recommendations, tips or anything that could be useful.

Thanks in advance.

2 answers

1 accepted

2 votes
Answer accepted
brbojorque Community Leader Dec 23, 2019

Hi @Zlatko Šimurina ,


Install totally new server on separate VM, install newer JIRA 4.4.5, connect blank MySQL DB and do XML backup/restore? Repeat these steps for every upgrade hop.

Except use PostgreSQL instead of MySQL save yourself from troubleshooting MySQL related errors.

Don't forget to look up the Compatibility table, whatever the version of PostgreSQL that is compatible to 4.4.5 and so on...

Hi Brayan,

Thank you for your answer.

In that case, I will not even need test server, just a brand new server where I will install newer version of JIRA (next upgrade hop) and try to import current production data.

brbojorque Community Leader Dec 23, 2019

Hi @Zlatko Šimurina ,

Yup, that should work.

And also every upgrade always test the basic functionalities and the add-ons.

If there are issues with the add-ons and you can't start it, it helps if you can enable safe mode this will disable all add-ons and you can then troubleshoot each add-on in the UPM by upgrading them to the compatible versions.

Good luck, you will learn a great deal about the Jira by doing so :)


1) Until the mysql connector is suitable for the next jira versions, we can just install the new jira version and point the jira with home installation directory.

2) If the mysql connector doesn't suit with the jira version, then download the suitable driver and place it in the <installation-directory>/lib.

3) Take a note down of the files that are been edited such as

  • server.xml
  • dbconfig.xml
  • / setenv.bat

and files like any templates that have been created for email so on.

Edit all these files before restarting the final upgrade version.

4) Try to have a back up after an upgrade.

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