Upgrade Confluence without downtime

If you run Confluence Data Center in a cluster, you may be able to upgrade Confluence without any downtime for your users. This method is known as a rolling upgrade. 

In a rolling upgrade, your site is put into upgrade mode, which temporarily allows nodes running different Confluence versions to join the cluster. As you take each node offline to upgrade it, the other active nodes keep your Confluence site available to users. Once all nodes have been upgraded in turn, you finalize the upgrade and turn off upgrade mode.

On this page:

Can I upgrade without downtime? 

Whether you can upgrade your Confluence Data Center cluster without downtime depends on the version you are upgrading from, and the version you are upgrading to. Learn more about the different types of releases.

Upgrading fromUpgrading to
Confluence 7.8 and earlier(error) Requires downtime(error) Requires downtime(error) Requires downtime
Confluence 7.8 to 7.13(tick) No downtime
(for example, from 7.12.0 to 7.12.2)
(error) Requires downtime(error) Requires downtime
Confluence 7.14 and later(tick) No downtime
(for example, from 7.14.0 to 7.14.2)
(tick) No downtime when upgrading to the next feature version
(for example, from 7.14.x to 7.15.x)
(error) Requires downtime if the upgrade spans more than one feature version
(for example, from 7.14.x to 7.17.x)
(error) Requires downtime

Before you begin

Before you start planning a rolling upgrade, there’s a few questions you need to answer.

Does my Confluence deployment support rolling upgrades?

You can only perform a rolling upgrade with no downtime on a multi-node Confluence cluster. Clustering is only supported on a Confluence Data Center license. In addition, a rolling upgrade involves enabling upgrade mode, which is only available in Confluence Data Center.

Learn more about multi-node clustering in Confluence 

Do I have enough nodes to support user requests during the rolling upgrade?You need to take a node offline to upgrade it. During this time, other active nodes will take over the offline node’s workload. Make sure you have enough active nodes to handle user traffic at any given time. If possible, add a node temporarily to your cluster to compensate for offline nodes.
Is the version compatible with rolling upgrades?

Whether you can upgrade without downtime depends on the version you are upgrading from, and the version you are upgrading to. 

The pre-upgrade check will confirm whether you can upgrade without downtime. 

Prepare for the rolling upgrade

1. Complete pre-upgrade checks

  1. Check the Upgrade Notes for the version you plan to upgrade to (and any in between). 

  2. Go to  > General Configuration > Plan your upgrade then select the version you want to upgrade to. This will run some pre-upgrade checks

  3. Go to  > General Configuration > Troubleshooting and support tools to run the health check. 

    License expired?

    If the software maintenance period included in your license has expired you can keep using Confluence, but you'll need to renew before you can upgrade.

    Go to  > General Configuration > License Details and follow the prompts to renew your license.

    Still using the embedded database?

    If you are using the embedded (trial) database you should migrate to a different database before upgrading. See Embedded H2 Database for more information.

    Database character encoding incorrect?

    Database character encoding must be set to UTF+8 (or AL32UTF8 for Oracle databases). You will not be able to upgrade to current Confluence versions unless you have the correct character encoding.


  4. Go to   > Manage apps and scroll down to the Confluence Update Check to check the compatibility of your Marketplace apps.

  5. Choose the version you plan to upgrade to then hit Check.

    If you have incompatible add-ons...

    If your users rely on particular Marketplace apps, you may want to wait until they are compatible before upgrading Confluence. Vendors generally update their apps very soon after a major release.

    Good to know:

    • You can disable an app temporarily while you upgrade if it is not yet compatible.
    • Compatibility information for Atlassian Labs and other free apps is often not available immediatley after a new release. In many cases the app will still work, so give it a try in a test site before upgrading your production site.

2. Prevent the installation or upgrade of apps during the upgrade period

If you manage Confluence with a team of admins, schedule the rolling upgrade with them. Notify them to postpone any app installs or upgrades until after the rolling upgrade. Installing or upgrading apps during a rolling upgrade could result in unexpected errors.

3. Back up Confluence Data Center

Site Backup and Restore lists useful resources, along with recommendations for manual and automated backups. In particular,  Production Backup Strategy recommends specific methods for backing up larger Confluence sites.

If your deployment is hosted on AWS, we recommend that you use the AWS native backup facility, which utilizes snapshots to back up your site. For more information, see AWS Backup

4. Set up a staging environment to test the rolling upgrade

We strongly recommend that you perform the rolling upgrade on a staging or test environment first. 

  1. Create a staging copy of your current production environment. 
    See Create a staging environment for upgrading Confluence for help creating an environment to test your upgrade in.
  2. Follow the steps below to upgrade your test environment.  

  3. Test any unsupported user-installed apps, customizations (such as custom theme or layouts) and proxy configuration (if possible) before upgrading your production environment.   

Perform the rolling upgrade

There are three methods for performing a rolling upgrade, depending on what orchestration tools your deployment uses.

Manual upgrade

A manual upgrade is suitable for deployments that feature minimal orchestration, particularly in node upgrades. If your deployment is based on our Azure templates, you'll also need to perform a manual upgrade.

Upgrade a Confluence cluster manually without downtime
AWS CloudFormation

If your deployment is defined by an AWS CloudFormation template (like our  AWS Quick Start), then you can use the same template to orchestrate your upgrade. 

Upgrade a Confluence cluster on AWS without downtime
API-drivenYou can orchestrate the entire rolling upgrade process through API calls. Upgrade a Confluence cluster through the API without downtime
Last modified on Nov 24, 2021

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