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Upgrading CiviCRM for Backdrop CMS

Use this document to upgrade CiviCRM installations on Backdrop CMS to the latest CiviCRM release.

Before upgrading

Make sure you have done the steps listed in before upgrading first.

Download the latest code

  1. Go to the CiviCRM website
  2. Select the latest currently available CiviCRM tarball for Backdrop.

    Example: civicrm-x.x.x-backdrop.tar.gz

  3. Save this file in <backdrop_root>/modules.

If using localization, also download the latest version of the localization files. See the CiviCRM Localisation page about how to install files for running CiviCRM in languages other than American English.

Prepare Backdrop

Take the site offline

When upgrading a production site, it is recommended that you take your site offline during the upgrade process. From the BackDrop menu bar, go to Configuration » Development » Maintenance mode

Ensure that CiviCRM is not your Backdrop homepage

Due to changes in Dashboard files from 3.0 to 3.1, you need to ensure that your Backdrop homepage is not the CiviCRM homepage. If your site does use CiviCRM as its front page, change it from the BackDrop menu bar, by going to: Configuration » System » Site Information Then ensure that the "Default front page" value is not civicrm (change it to node if necessary). If you made a change, click Save configuration


There are a variety of modules that may affect the Backdrop homepage. Consult the appropriate module's documentation if you are using them to set the homepage to civicrm for the administrative action required to change to a different non-CiviCRM homepage for the upgrade process.

Disable all CiviCRM integration modules

If you have Backdrop modules installed in your site that integrate with or extend CiviCRM's functionality, you should disable them prior to running the upgrade script. This will prevent modules that are not compatible with the new version from triggering errors in the upgrade process.

  1. From the Backdrop menu bar, go to Functionality » List Modules

  2. Note which modules in the CiviCRM section of the modules listing are currently enabled (taking a screenshot is one easy way to do this). Now un-check the Enabled box for ALL modules in the CiviCRM section of the modules listing except for CiviCRM itself. Click Save.


    Do NOT disable CiviCRM itself. Only disable other modules in the CiviCRM section of the modules page. The upgrade will NOT run if CiviCRM is disabled.

Upgrade the filesystem

Delete all previous version code files

CiviCRM will not run properly if files from previous version are present after the upgrade.

  1. Make sure you have a good backup of your complete previous version installation


    Be sure that your backup copy of the previous version codebase is not located below the <backdrop_root>/modules directory. For example, placing your codebase backup in <backdrop_root>/modules/civicrm.bak ... will cause errors (Backdrop executes any *.module files that are found in the modules or /modules directory tree).

  2. Make sure you have logged in to Backdrop before deleting the old files. Do not log out until the entire process is complete.

  3. Delete /modules/civicrm.

Unpack the latest package

Unpack the new files into <backdrop_root>/modules/.

$ cd <backdrop_root>/modules
$ tar -xzf <civicrm_download_file>.tgz

You should now have a new civicrm directory tree under the <backdrop_root>/modules/ directory.

Verify permissions

Ensure that your Backdrop files directory is writeable by the webserver.

$ cd <backdrop_root>/files
$ chown -R www-data: .
$ find . -type d -exec chmod 0755 {} \;
$ find . -type f -exec chmod 0644 {} \;
$ chmod -R u+rw files

Clear cached files

Delete all files in files/civicrm/templates_c/

Upgrade the database

Choose one of the following methods:

  • Run the following cv command from within your site:

    $ cv upgrade:db
  • Or, run the following drush command from within your site:

    $ drush civicrm-upgrade-db
  • Or, point your web browser to the following URL and follow the on-screen instructions.


    This page loads on a Backdrop maintenance page. If you use a custom maintenance.tpl.php file you may wish to temporarily disable that file and use Backdrop's default.

Clean up

Re-enable compatible CiviCRM integration modules

  1. From the BackDrop menu bar, go to Functionality » List Modules

  2. Go through your list of CiviCRM integration modules and confirm compatibility with the new release if applicable. (If you've downloaded the module from - check the module's page for compatibility information.)

  3. Re-enable all compatible modules by re-checking the Enabled box. You may want to do this "one at a time" if you're unsure of compatibility.

  4. If you wish to use a different theme for CiviCRM administrative pages than the public pages on your site, enable the CiviCRM Theme module that now is included and then set the theme at admin/appearance.

Review and update Backdrop permissions settings

It's a good idea to verify Backdrop role-based permissions which were added in recent releases. You can review and update from the CiviCRM menu bar, go to Administer » Users and Permissions » Permissions (Access Control) » Backdrop Access Control:

Clear the views cache

If you were using Views integration prior to this upgrade, from the BackDrop menu bar, go to Structure » Views » Settings » Advanced and press "Clear Views cache" for Views to capture changes in the CiviCRM Views integration code.

Restore CiviCRM as the Backdrop homepage if appropriate

If you changed the default Backdrop homepage from CiviCRM, now is the time to restore it. From the BackDrop menu bar, go to: Configuration » System » Site Information then change the Default front page to civicrm, and click Save configuration.

Put the site online

Toggle the following feature, and put your site back online. From the BackDrop menu bar, go to: Configuration » Development » Site Maintenance

Post upgrade

See these steps to take after upgrading.