My father maintains a website for my sisters small business, recently he has been unable to login and the website only gives a blank page. Upon a little digging on my end I have found out his host upgraded to PHP 7, and the Joomla version has never been upgraded beyond its original install version (I think possible 3.4 or maybe even lower, but definitely 3.x).
I have edited the configuration file to show errors, and see the following error now displayed on the home page:
Fatal error: Cannot use Joomla\String\String as String because 'String' is a special class name in /home/[username]/public_html/libraries/vendor/joomla/registry/src/Format/Json.php on line 12
From googling it seems this is due to conflict between old version of Joomla and PHP 7, but my problem is I am unable to upgrade it because administrator area is no longer accessible due to php errors, and the host has not made old versions of PHP available. I have downloaded a copy of the site and made a backup of the database so if need be I can do a fresh install, but if I do that I am not sure how to migrate the content from the old version into the new one.
I did try Akeeba backup using a old backup of the site, but that just restored everything including the old broken version of Joomla. Other than redoing the site from scratch, are there any other options for me? I did try a manual upgrade but after overwriting all the files I still couldn't access administrator area.