ExpressionEngine Docs

Updating ExpressionEngine Manually

General Information

This document describes how to manually update ExpressionEngine 3.0 or later.

Note that ExpressionEngine supports One Click Updates as of version 4.0 or later.

Important: If you are upgrading from ExpressionEngine 2, you must first upgrade to ExpressionEngine 3 using version 3 files and instructions. Once you have completed that update, you may return to this page and upgrade to the latest version. Please visit Upgrading from ExpressionEngine 2.

1. Backup and Prepare

  1. Back-up your ExpressionEngine database and files.
  2. Download the latest release of ExpressionEngine and unzip the files to a folder on your computer.

Note: Check your third-party add-ons to see if you need updated versions for v4. Most add-ons do not need updating from v3/v4, or only need minor changes. Your add-on vendor(s) can let you know what, if anything, you need to do for your installed add-ons.

2. Copy Files

Working either locally with your backed up files, or on the server (not recommended), copy the following files from the newly downloaded release to your site:

  1. Copy admin.php to admin.php
  2. Copy index.php to index.php
  3. Copy system/ee/ to system/ee/
  4. Copy themes/ee/ to themes/ee/

Note: If you’ve moved your system directory, make sure to change both index.php and admin.php to point to the correct directory. And don’t forget to update all admin.php files if you’re running your control panel from multiple Sites!

3. Run The Update Wizard

Go to your site’s control panel URL (typically found at or and follow the on-screen instructions to update ExpressionEngine.

4. Clean up

You’re Done! ExpressionEngine is now fully updated. But before you go…