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A Simple Script to Upgrade ExpressionEngine

Last week I showed you how to rebuild an EE sandbox using a simple shell script that pulled from a database dump and tarball of ExpressionEngine files to create a fresh install of ExpressionEngine. Well, here’s another shell script that I think you might find very useful.

This shell script makes it dead simple to upgrade your EE site to the latest version. It copies over the necessary files and directories and then sets the proper permissions. The script was originally created by Timothy Kelty, but I made some very minor enhancements (some status output while the script runs).

Running the EE updater script from the Terminal on Mac OS X

To use the script, follow these simple instructions:

  • Copy the contents from this “gist” on GitHub into a shell script file (ends with .sh) and make the script executable.
  • Save the file to the root of the site that you want to upgrade.
  • Download the latest ExpressionEngine update from the Downloads page at
  • Edit the variable RELEASE_PATH in the script and set it to the full path to the location of the EE update (unzipped) you just downloaded.
  • Run the script, inputting the name of your system directory when prompted.
  • In your web browser go to to run the EE update wizard.

Please use this script at your own risk and test it on a backup of a site before upgrading for real!

Posted on Jan 26, 2009

Filed Under: How-To, ExpressionEngine Development,

Ryan Irelan
About Ryan Irelan

Ryan Irelan is the Technology and Development Director at Happy Cog, a web design and development firm. He is a noted ExpressionEngine expert, having created a wildly popular video training series on ExpressionEngine. Additionally, Ryan is the publisher of EE Insider, a well-known news and information site for the ExpressionEngine community. In his spare time, Ryan is the production director of A List Apart Magazine, which is one of the most popular ExpressionEngine-powered sites on the web. Recently, Ryan published a book on ExpressionEngine 2 called "ExpressionEngine 2: A Quick-Start Guide."