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I am sometimes asked to adopt orphaned Joomla websites when the original service provider is no longer able or available to do so.

What steps should I include in a health check before agreeing to take on this responsibility?

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This is a risk when you don't know how the previous programmer developed the website.

First of all check all extensions installed and if they are updated. If not, check if the extension has an available update and it's still supported... alternatively look for a similar extension to switch with.

Check also the template version (responsive?) and if it contains lot of overrides...

In general you should adopt the website only if the owner understand that the website must be kept updated and it could require spending something on upgrading or buying new extension.

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