6kites | Expert Tips for a Smooth Confluence 6 Upgrade

Is your organization living on Confluence?

Company news announcements. Project planning and execution. Team collaboration. Product documentation. And everything in between. Confluence powers the entire ecosystem of teams from front to back office, including distributed and remote teams.

So, if you are still running older versions (5.x or earlier), it’s highly recommended that you get Confluence 6. Not just for the shiny new features that will make you look like a Confluence wizard. This upgrade will gear your system up for the next big platform release. 

Yet, even early release of 6.x does not contain all of the valuable features that you will find in the current, 6.13.x and above. At a glance, you wouldn’t want to miss out on these key updates that come with version 6:

  • Collaborative editing
  • Data center edition
  • Mobile app release
  • Improved attachment editing

We understand that dealing with the myriad upgrade requirements can be intimidating, especially if you are entrusted with an enterprise-scale system. But don’t ignore the significant updates that will help to facilitate borderless collaboration across the enterprise.

In this blog post, we have (nearly) all your upgrade questions answered. Even better, you can walk away with a free step-by-step process infographic to ensure a smooth Confluence upgrade.

Which Version of Confluence Best Suits Your Team?

We always recommend our customers to shoot for the latest feature release. That means, ideally, you should be running Confluence 6.15.x.

To determine the best version to upgrade to, however, you should look at your business needs and priorities as well.

For example, if you schedule a new feature version upgrade only once a year, you would want to go for an Enterprise release (Confluence 6.13) since it comes with a 2-year support window.

Read the release notes to make sure you understand how the new changes affect your instance cadence, especially if you consider platform upgrades.

Deciding to upgrade: Key considerations

  • New features – Every release note describes the features and improvements coming to Confluence. Refer to the upgrade matrix to compare versions and select the one that best suits your team.
  • Bug fixes – It’s a good practice to stay updated on Atlassian’s community tracker on issues and suggestions. If you are experiencing similar bugs or desire certain features, you can see if the improved features have been shipped and determine the right version to upgrade to.
  • Performance improvements – Upgrades go beyond minor technical fixes; ongoing performance improvements power up your teams with speedy indexing and loading times. Experiencing system slowdown? You might just be an upgrade away from getting things up to speed.

You should communicate all this information with your teams, especially if it introduces important changes. As an Atlassian Gold Solution Partner, 6kites will prepare a detailed upgrade plan that best fits your organization so that you can get the most out of Confluence in no time.

Confluence 6 Upgrade Guide

Congratulations on your bold move!

Upgrading to Confluence 6 will bring powerful new capabilities to your teams. But don’t rush it. Follow this guide to make sure you don’t (accidentally) break the system.

Important Pre-Upgrade Exercise

First, let’s validate your Confluence license support period (1).

Go to Setting > General Configuration > Licensing Details; you will be able to see the following license details:

atlassian licensing

This lets you know the exact timeline for upgrading (before the support end date).

Next, map out the upgrade path. You can refer to the recommendations from Atlassian below:

Your versionUpgrade path to Confluence 6
2.7 or earlierUpgrade to 2.7.4 then upgrade to 3.5.17, and follow paths below.
2.8 to 3.4Upgrade to 3.5.17, and follow paths below.
3.5Upgrade to 5.0.3 then upgrade to the latest version of Confluence 6.
4.0 to 4.3Upgrade to 5.10.x then upgrade to the latest version of Confluence 6.
5.0 to 6.xUpgrade directly to the latest version of Confluence 6.

Once you have set up the upgrade path, it’s time to perform a health check on your Atlassian system to confirm license validity and database requirements.

Don’t forget to check the compatibility of your Marketplace apps with the version that you are upgrading to. They should be updated prior to the Confluence upgrade and after if needed. If an app is incompatible with the new Confluence version, you can disable it and proceed with your upgrade. But if the app is critical to your use of Confluence we recommend upgrading to the Confluence version where the app is supported or waiting until the vendor updates the app, before proceeding with your upgrade.

Most importantly, create a test environment for your Confluence upgrade before you push it to production. You can also run unsupported apps or customizations and proxy configurations in this staging version.


Related: Expert Tips for a Smooth Jira 8 Upgrade


Infographic: Step-by-Step Confluence Upgrade Process

confluence upgrade guide

Once you have successfully launched the new Confluence version, go ahead and update all the compatible apps.

If you encounter any errors, immediately restore the backup that you have created previously.

Common Confluence Upgrade Issues

Don’t panic if you run into problems during the upgrade. Some of these are common, with documented solutions. Below are common upgrade issues with documented solutions from Atlassian.

  • Fail to start Confluence: Potentially caused by incompatible Marketplace apps, you can disable all installed apps and restart Confluence.
  • Long upgrade time: Confluence automatically runs backup and recovery of your files in case of failed upgrade. Hence, it is common to experience a slow database backup if you have substantial data. If you have a manual backup process in place, you can disable this setting to avoid delay. All you have to do is configure confluence.upgrade.recovery.file.enabled system property to ‘false’ to solve this.
  • Recovery file generation failed: In the event that no backup process is in place, Confluence will generate a recovery file based on partial database dumps. If this process fails, you may not be able to recover your database in the event of an upgrade failure. To ensure a smooth upgrade, ensure that your home directory has sufficient disk space. You can also disable the recovery file generation if there are backup procedures.

For a complete procedure for troubleshooting Confluence upgrades, you can check out the Confluence Knowledge Base

Need immediate answers? 6kites’ team of Atlassian-certified consultants is here to help–contact us below.

What’s Next? Confluence 7 Release Plans

It’s been two years since the release of Confluence 6, and we can expect the next platform to launch in the coming quarters. As of now, you can join the Confluence Early Access Program to take it for a test drive.

For more detailed updates on new features and improvements, check out the Confluence 7.0 development release.

Exceptional Support for Your Atlassian Systems

Atlassian software is the backbone of innovation and collaboration in organizations everywhere. Leaders who are serious about innovation understand that it’s not good enough to just use the tools. They’re constantly looking for ways to take them to the next level to unleash the full power of their teams.

Beyond upgrades, it’s important to establish clear Atlassian governance, conduct routine health checks to keep systems in tip-top shape, and constantly monitor performance to ensure that your teams and systems are operating at their best. 

6kites’ team of certified Atlassian Professionals can help with everything from the day-to-day running of your systems to complex configurations and upgrades. Our Exceptional Support and Governance Plans give you a convenient way to ensure that your systems are healthy, your teams are taking advantage of the latest best practices, and Atlassian tools are always up to date with the latest Atlassian enhancements.

Get in touch with us today to learn how we can help take Confluence and your other Atlassian tools to the next level.  

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