Upgrading JIRA applications manually

If you're upgrading from a version of JIRA earlier than 7.0, you should consult the Migration hub. The release of JIRA 7.0 contained functionality that affects your user management, application access and log in permissions, and your JIRA installations setup, and it's very important that you understand the requirements and the implications before you upgrade. The Migration hub has all this information in one handy space.

This page describes how to upgrade JIRA installations that don't support the rapid upgrade method or fallback method. You should use this method to upgrade JIRA if you meet any of the following criteria:

  • You use JIRA 4.0.0 or later on Solaris.
  • You use JIRA 4.0.0 – 4.2.x on Windows or Linux.

See Upgrading JIRA applications for more information on the methods you can use to upgrade JIRA.

On this page:

1. Before you start

  • Read about the new version - Review the release notes and upgrade notes for the version of JIRA that you are upgrading to. See our Release notes for JIRA Server. If you plan to skip a few JIRA versions during your upgrade, we strongly recommend that you read the upgrade guides for all major versions between your current version and the version to which you are upgrading.
  • Check your license - Verify that your license support period is still valid.
  • Check for known issues - Use the JIRA Knowledge Base to search for any issues in the new version that will affect you.
  • Check for compatibility:
    • Confirm that your operating system, database, other applicable platforms and hardware still comply with the requirements for JIRA 7.3. The End of Support Announcements page also has important information regarding platform support for future versions of JIRA.
    • If you have installed JIRA plugins (i.e. not included with JIRA), verify that they will be compatible with the version of JIRA you are upgrading to. You can find a plugin's compatibility information from the plugin's home page on the Atlassian Marketplace.
    • Some anti-virus or other Internet security tools may interfere with the JIRA upgrade process and prevent the process from completing successfully. If you experience or anticipate experiencing such an issue with your anti-virus/Internet security tool, disable this tool before proceeding with the JIRA upgrade.
  • Prestaging and testing your new version of JIRAWe strongly recommend performing your upgrade in a test environment first. Do not upgrade your production JIRA server until you are satisfied that your test environment upgrade has been successful.
    • If you have any problems with your test environment upgrade which you cannot resolve, create an issue at our support site so that we can assist you.
    • If you have any problems during the upgrade of your production JIRA server, do not allow your users to start using this server. Instead:
      • Continue to use your old JIRA server — this will help ensure that you do not lose production data.
      • Also create an issue at our support site so that we can help you resolve the problems with your upgrade.
      Instructions for prestaging and testing
      1. If you want to use a copy of your production data when you test the upgraded JIRA system, make a copy of your production database using your native database backup tools. See Backing up data. You can alternatively skip this step and use a new database for testing.
      2. Install the version of JIRA you want to upgrade to onto a system you can use for testing (use either a test server or a separate directory on an exisitng system). This will become your new production system after you complete the upgrade process. Follow the instructions here to install a new version of JIRA: Installing JIRA applications.

      3. Migrate any customizations you use in your production system. Follow the instructions in step 3.4 (Migrate your existing JIRA configurations over to your new JIRA installation) in the "Migrating JIRA to another server" page.
      4. Connect the new version of JIRA to the copy of the production database (not the existing production database) or a new testing database. See Connecting JIRA to a database.
      5. Start the new version of JIRA. See this Knowledge Base article about how to test mail settings without accidentally sending notifications to users from the test system: How to Prepare a Development Server's Mail Configuration.
      6. Install any plugins that you use in your existing production version of JIRA. Some plugins have different compatibility for different JIRA vesions, so this step will ensure that your plugins are updated for this new JIRA version.
      7. Re-index JIRA so the new plugin information is captured in the index.
      8. Check out the features and functionality you use in the new version to understand how they behave and how any changes will impact your team. It can be very helpful to have a group of users look at the new system and carry out their usual tasks to make sure they won't run into any issues when the new version is in production.
        When you are ready to begin the process of migrating your production data to this new version, shut down JIRA (for example, by executing either the /bin/stop-jira.sh or \bin\stop-jira.bat file in your JIRA application installation directory, or by stopping the JIRA service).


2. Backing up

Before you begin the JIRA upgrade, we strongly recommend that you back up your existing JIRA installation.

2.1 Stop users from updating JIRA data

During the upgrade process, you'll export JIRA's database from your existing JIRA installation (via an XML backup) and then restore this backup into a new JIRA installation. To ensure that the data in the XML backup is consistent with the latest data in the system, you must temporarily restrict access to JIRA so users can't update the data. Refer to the Preventing users from accessing JIRA applications during backups page for more information.

(warning) Be aware! Inconsistent XML backups cannot be restored!

2.2 Back up your database

Perform an XML backup of your existing JIRA installation's external database. For large JIRA installations, this process may require several hours to complete.

tip/resting Created with Sketch.

The 'embedded database' is the H2 database supplied with JIRA for evaluation purposes only. If you accidentally use the H2 database in a production system, perform an XML backup of this database and continue on with this procedure.

2.3 Back up your JIRA home directory

  1. Shut down JIRA.
  2. Locate the JIRA home directory. You can find information about the location of the directory by navigating to the <jira-application-dir>/WEB-INF/classes/jira-application.properties file in your JIRA application installation directory. Alternatively, you can open the JIRA configuration tool to see the directory that is set as your JIRA Home.
  3. Navigate to the directory specified in the configuration file and create a backup of it in another directory.
  4. (error) Delete the file <jira-home>/dbconfig.xml from the original folder as soon as the backup is complete.

2.4 Back up your attachments and index directories if located outside your JIRA home directory

If the attachments and index directories are located outside of your JIRA home directory, you must back them up separately. These pages describe how to find out where these directories are located in your implementation:

  • Your attachments directory — Refer to Configuring file attachments page in the documentation for your version of JIRA.
  • Your index directory — Refer to Search indexing page in the documentation for your version of JIRA.

Also refer to Backing up data for more information about backing up attachments in JIRA.

2.5 Back up your JIRA installation directory

The 'JIRA Installation Directory' is the directory into which the JIRA application files and libraries were extracted when JIRA was installed.

3. Setting up your new JIRA installation

If you are running a 'mission-critical' JIRA server, we highly recommend performing the remaining steps of this guide in a test environment (e.g. using a separate test JIRA database and a copy of your JIRA Home directory) before performing the upgrade in production.  

3.1 Install the new version of JIRA

Download and extract the JIRA distribution you require to a new directory. Do not overwrite your existing JIRA installation. Ensure this has been shut down and install the new JIRA version to a new location.

Follow the installation instructions Installing JIRA applications.

3.2 Point your new JIRA to (a copy of) your existing JIRA Home directory

If your new JIRA 7.3 installation is on a new server, copy the backup of your existing JIRA Home Directory from the old server to the new server before proceeding.

To set up a distribution:

  1. Open the JIRA configuration tool.
  2. Click the JIRA Home tab.
  3. Update the JIRA Home Directory field:
    • If your JIRA 7.3 installation is on a new server, update the JIRA Home Directory field to the path of your copied JIRA Home directory.
    • If your JIRA 7.3 installation is on the same server, update the JIRA Home Directory field to the path of your existing JIRA Home directory.
      (info) For more information about this directory, see JIRA home directory.

(tick) You can also set your JIRA Home Directory's location by defining an operating system environment variable JIRA_HOME. This value of this variable takes precedence over the value of the jira.home property in the jira-application.properties file in your JIRA installation directory. See Setting your JIRA home directory for details.

3.3 Connect the new version of JIRA to a new, empty database

Create a new, empty database that your new JIRA installation will use to store its data.

Follow the appropriate 'Connecting JIRA to...' instructions for your database from stage 2, although from stage 4 of that procedure, be aware of the yellow note below:

If you are using a database (called jiradb, for example) with your existing JIRA installation and the database for your new JIRA installation is running on the same machine or database server, create your new database with a different name (e.g. something intuitive like jiradb_440 for JIRA 4.4.0). However, ensure the new database has identical access permissions to the old JIRA database. Consult your database administrator if you need assistance with this.

(info) You do not need to create a new database if you are using the embedded H2 database.

3.4 Migrate your existing JIRA configurations over to your new JIRA installation

If you have modified properties in configuration files of your existing JIRA installation, make the same modifications in your new JIRA installation. However, because the properties in the configuration files may have changed between versions, you cannot simply copy the configuration files from your existing installation and replace the equivalent files in the new installation.

For each file you have modified in your existing JIRA installation, you need to manually edit each equivalent file in your new JIRA installation and re-apply your modifications. If a file is not present in your new JIRA installation (for example, osuser.xml in recent JIRA versions), then simply copy that file over to your new JIRA installation.

The table below lists the most commonly modified files and their locations within your JIRA Installation Directory:


Location in 'recommended' (formerly 'Standalone') JIRA distributions




Location of the JIRA Home Directory and Advanced JIRA Configuration in JIRA 4.3.x and earlier.

Any custom property values defined in the jira-application.properties file of your existing JIRA 4.3.x (or earlier) installation must be migrated across to the jira-application.properties file of your new JIRA 7.3 installation before you start your new JIRA installation.

Upon starting your new JIRA installation, any custom property values in the jira-application.properties file will automatically be migrated across to either the JIRA database or jira-config.properties file. jira.home is the only property of the jira-application.properties file subsequently used by JIRA.

setenv.bat (Windows) or setenv.sh (Linux)


Increasing JIRA Memory

(not required if upgrading from JIRA 4.3.0 or later)


Modified if you have integrated LDAP with JIRA, integrated Crowd with JIRA, or if you are using a custom form of external user management or user authentication.



Modified if you have integrated Crowd with JIRA.



Modified in the following situations:

(tick) The version-specific upgrade notes contain details on properties which may have changed in these commonly modified files.

In addition to the files above, you should also consider and/or perform the following configurations as part of the upgrade process:

  • Using JIRA with Atlassian's Crowd? — If you are using Crowd with JIRA, configure your new JIRA to talk to Crowd as described in Integrating Crowd with JIRA.
    • Remember to configure Crowd to grant JIRA's new hostname/IP access.
  • Allocating additional memory to JIRA — If you had previously allocated additional memory to JIRA, do the same for your new JIRA instance. For more information refer to Increasing JIRA memory.
  • Plugins — For any plugins that you had installed in your old JIRA, download the plugin version for your new version of JIRA from the http://plugins.atlassian.com site.
  • Character encoding — Ensure that character encoding (i.e. locale) is the same on the new and old locations. Your new version of JIRA may not function correctly if attachments are moved between two system with incompatible encoding.
  • Customizations — If you had made any customizations (code, templates or configuration files), copy over compatible versions of these changes to the new JIRA. (The developers within your organization who made the customizations to your old version will need to build and test equivalent changes for the new version, and provide you with the files to copy to your upgraded JIRA installation.)
  • (Optional) Running JIRA on a different port — If your new JIRA is installed on the same machine as your old JIRA, you may wish to make sure it runs on a different port (in case you ever need to restart your old JIRA). See Changing JIRA's TCP ports for details.

3.5 Start your new version of JIRA

  1. Verify that your old JIRA installation is shut down — if this JIRA server is still operating, shut it down.
  2. Start up your new version of JIRA by follow the Starting JIRA instructions.

Do not restart your old JIRA installation...

If your new JIRA 7.3 installation is on the same server as your old one, it may still be configured to use the same JIRA Home directory as your new JIRA installation. Running two separate JIRA installations which share a common JIRA Home directory can lead to serious data corruption.

Nevertheless, we recommend that you do not delete any aspect (or backed up component) of your old JIRA installation, until you are satisfied that your upgraded JIRA installation is functioning as expected.

3.6 Import your old JIRA data into your new JIRA

After you start your new JIRA installation, JIRA launches its setup wizard. This happens any time JIRA starts with an empty database. From here, you can import your backup file and populate the database with your XML backup data. You will need the backup of your previous version of JIRA that you created in the backing up step

To import your old JIRA data into your new JIRA:

  1. Restore the attachments directory that you backed up previously into the attachments directory of your new JIRA. (See Restoring data.)
  2. Start JIRA.
  3. In the setup wizard, select Import existing data.
  4. In the File name field, specify the XML backup file you created previously during the export process (above). The zipped file should contain two xml files: activeobjects.xml and entities.xml. Both of these files must be included in the zipped file for the import process to work.
    (info) Avoid passing through a proxy when performing an XML restore, especially if your JIRA instance is very large. Using a proxy may cause timeout errors.
  5. Access JIRA via your web browser again and log in using a username from your previous JIRA installation.
  6. Take a quick look around your JIRA site to confirm that your projects and issues are present and everything looks normal. You should see the new JIRA version number in the page footer.

4. Post upgrade checks and tasks

It is strongly recommended that you perform the following checks and tasks after you have started your new instance of JIRA:

  1. Check your server logs for error messages, even if JIRA appears to be running correctly. If there are any errors there that you cannot resolve, create a support case, attach your log file, and we will advise you on the errors.
  2. If you were previously using External User Management, enable it in the new JIRA instance.
  3. If you changed machines when upgrading, change the paths to the indexes, attachments and backup directories, from within the Administration section of JIRA.
  4. Enable email, if you disabled it during testing.
  5. If you migrated any customizations from your old JIRA to the new JIRA, ensure that they are tested thoroughly.
    1. If you had downloaded plugins for the new version of JIRA, install the downloaded JAR file(s) in your new JIRA version and carry out any other required installation for the plugin.
    2. If the plugin has a properties file, apply the same changes to it as you had in the old properties file (don't just copy over the old properties file).
  6. Once you have confirmed that the new server is working correctly, ensure that the production license is updated for the new server ID, as follows:
    1. Log in to https://my.atlassian.com.
    2. Locate the appropriate license.
    3. Edit the Server ID, as per the new production Server ID, and save it.
    4. Update the production license in the new server.

Congratulations! You have completed your JIRA migration/upgrade.

See also

Restoring data
Upgrading JIRA applications
Switching databases

Last modified on Jan 9, 2017

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