3CX tech support answers: Upgrade to 3CX v16 from previous versions

In the new year with a new telephone exchange! True, there is not always time or desire to understand the intricacies of the transition between versions, collecting information from different sources. In this article, we have collected all the information necessary for a simple and quick upgrade to 3CX v16 Update 4 from older versions.

There are many reasons for updating – you can learn about all the features that appeared in v16 from the training course. Here we note the most important improvements noticeable to ordinary users – new mobile applications, a communication widget for the site and VoIP-softphone in the browser.

Before upgrade – check license

First of all, keep in mind that the transition to the latest version of 3CX requires a license with an annual subscription or a perpetual license with an active subscription to updates. Without an active subscription to updates, your new system simply will not activate. You can check the current status of the subscription in the section Options> License. You can also check for updates in the 3CX User Portal.

Please note that the correct subscription information in the PBX interface is available only starting with v15.5 Update 6 and higher.

If the subscription is expired

If you have a perpetual license, you need to find out if you are on a grace period during which you can renew your subscription. To do this, contact the 3CX partner that serves you (or the selected partner in your area), or write directly to the User Support Department. By the way, you can renew your subscription to updates at any time, and not just when it has already expired. Moreover, you can get a 10% discount for purchasing updates for 3 years and 15% for buying for 5 years (we are talking about subscribing to updates for perpetual licenses).

If it turns out that the grace period has already expired, you can exchange your perpetual license for a license with an annual subscription for free. After that, you get a year of free use of the converted license, starting from the moment of exchange. After a year, you simply acquire an annual license for the next year.
The exchange is made in your user portal in the section Buy> Trade-in.

Please note that during the exchange you will not receive a new key, just your existing key becomes annual. There is no need to change anything in the system! The only action: after receiving the e-mail with the confirmation of the exchange, go to the 3CX interface and in the section Options> License click the Update license information button (but this will only work in 3CX v15.5 and higher). If you have an older version installed, see below.

Update from v15.X to v15.5 SP6

Before upgrading to v16, you must upgrade your v15.X (and later) system to v15.5 SP6. Only in this case, the correct transfer of the PBX configuration from the backup is guaranteed. The easiest way to upgrade is by following this guide. However, if you have an even older version of 3CX, you will have to go through the entire path of updates sequentially, installing them sequentially.

Be sure to make backups at each stage of the update!

Update from v15.5 SP6 to v16.X

It is important to note here that the 3CX update process for Windows and Linux is slightly different due to the architecture features of these OSs.


Unfortunately, 3CX v15.5 SP6 cannot be "directly" upgraded to v16, as it can be done on Linux. You will have to backup the PBX and restore it during the installation of the v16 distribution kit.

In the 3CX interface, go to the Backup section, click + Backup, specify a backup name and options.

Wait for the notification by e-mail of the PBX administrator that the backup is completed, and then download the backup file.

Please note – you can use the created backup when installing the PBX on both Windows and Linux – the backup file is used without problems for both OSs!
After the backup, uninstall 3CX, download 3CX v16 and start the installation. On the first screen of the Configuration Wizard, specify the backup file, and then continue the installation according to the instructions.


3CX update "in place", i.e. immediately on top of the existing installation is only available if the PBX is installed on Debian 9 Stretch (Debian 8 and 10 are not supported in v16). If you do not see the availability of updates in the 3CX interface, check the Linux version in the SSH terminal (command sudo lsb_release -a)

Debian 9

Installing the update here is very simple. In the 3CX interface, go to Updates and install all available updates. Be sure to wait for the update completion email. After that, go back to Updates and install all available updates again – etc. until there are no notifications.

Debian 8

3CX v16 is not compatible with Debian 8, which was running v15.X. Therefore, you will have to back up the configuration and deploy the new installation from the Debian for 3CX ISO image.

Please note that you can migrate from a local installation to a cloud PBX using your backup copy and the 3CX PBX Express cloud installation wizard.

Install 3CX on various cloud platforms here.

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