Joomla is a free and open-source content management system (CMS) that has its humble beginnings as a fork of the now dead CMS called Mambo. Joomla is written in PHP and uses object-oriented programming with data being stored in a MySQL database. It has features like RSS feeds, page caching, printable pages, blogs, search, news flashes, and multiple-language support built right in by default.
While it may seem like Joomla would be difficult to install, its installation process is almost as easy as WordPress, another popular CMS that is known for its ease of use. However, Joomla has a natural speed, simplicity, and consortium in design that many web developers prefer over WordPress, especially when designing large corporate websites.
This article will detail how to install Joomla, common issues you may encounter during installation, and how to fix them.
How to Install Joomla Using Softaculous
Many web hosting providers make a one click installer called Softaculous available in CPanel. It is hands down the easiest way to install Joomla, and is the preferred way to install it if you have it available to you.
To install Joomla via Softaculous, first open Softaculous and do a search for “Joomla”.
Next, click on the “Install Now” button.
The version you want to install should be set to the latest version under “Software Setup”.
If you have an SSL certificate installed, select “https://” as your protocol under “Choose Protocol”. If you don’t have an SSL certificate installed, select “http://”.
Choose the domain you want to use for Joomla.
If you would like Joomla to be placed in a directory under your domain, for example http://domain.com/directory, the “In Directory” setting will allow you to do this.
Next, fill out your website’s name and a description of what it’s about under “Site Settings”.
If you would like your website to be filled with sample content, you can select what kind of sample content you would like it to use under “Database Settings”, or leave it set to “None” if you want your website to start out empty.
Under “Admin Account”, set up a username, secure password, and enter your real name and email address. This is the account you will use to login to Joomla.
Under “Choose Language” select the language you would like to Joomla to use.
Under “Advanced Options”, you can change the database name and prefix Joomla uses to store data (not necessary in most cases). You can also disable update notification emails, set Joomla to auto upgrade, and change the default backup location as well as set up automated backups. At the bottom of this menu, you can enter your email address to have installation details emailed to you.
When you are finished with the setup menu, you can click the “Install” button to install Joomla. The following screen will tell you what URL to use to login to Joomla using the admin username and password you set up in the setup menu.
That’s all there is to it!
Installing Joomla Manually
First start by downloading the Joomla package from downloads.joomla.org. This should be the only place you go to download Joomla. If you download Joomla from somewhere else, you risk there being malicious code in the installation.
When you have finished downloading the Joomla package, extract it to a folder on your hard disk. After you have extracted the files to a new directory, you will need to upload those files to your server via FTP. If you don’t know your FTP username and login (usually they’re the same as your CPanel login), obtain these details from your web hosting provider. If you need an FTP client, try the free & open-sourced Core FTP.
Once you have uploaded the files to your server via FTP, you will need to create a database as well as a username and password for that database. To start doing this, go to “MySQL Databases” in CPanel. Next, select a name for your database under “Create New Database” and click the “Create Database” button.
Make note of the name of your new database. Then scroll down to “MySQL Users > Add New User”. Create a username and password, and make note of them. Finally, click the “Create User” button.
Make sure you have written down the database name, username, and password before proceeding. You will need this information to install Joomla.
Next, go to your domain in a browser (http://mysite.com), or to your domain plus the directory name if you have placed the Joomla installation files in a directory on your server (http://mysite.com/directory). This will take you to the Joomla Web Installer page.
On the first page, you just need to fill out information about your website and create a username and password for logging into Joomla. Make note of this username and password, and do not get it confused with the database name and password you created earlier – this part will come later.
On the following page, make sure “MySQLi” is selected. Your database is usually under the same IP address as your server, so you can leave “Host Name” to localhost. However, if your database is located elsewhere, you will need to fill out the IP address of it here. For the username and password, fill out the information you took note of earlier when creating the database. Do the same for “Database Name”. You don’t need to put anything in “Table Prefix” in most cases. You can also select if you would like to backup the old database from a pre-existing Joomla installation or remove it completely.
On this next page, select what sample content data if any you would like to populate the Joomla database with.
The following page will check to make sure you have everything you need to run Joomla installed and ready. If everything is not here, consult your web hosting provider for further assistance.
Now you’ve got Joomla installed! On this following screen, it is advised you remove the installation folder since it is no longer needed.
Common Joomla Installation Issues
If you’re seeing red “On” entries in the Joomla “Recommended Settings” page, don’t panic. Most of these can be ignored and your Joomla installation will run just fine. However, if you would like to fix this, you will need to access the PHP.ini file on your server. This commonly is the PHP entry under Software in CPanel. You may or may not be able to edit this file, so if you aren’t able to edit it, consult your web hosting provider to get the appropriate changes made.
If this setting is set to “on”, you can generally ignore it. However, if you would like to change it, there’s several ways you can go about this. First of all, you can set this to off in your Global Configuration settings in Joomla. If that doesn’t work, you can edit this in the php.ini file by changing the 0 to a 1 or changing the word “on” to “off”. If you don’t have access to the php.ini or this doesn’t work, you can edit it in .htaccess by entering the following line:
When the error reporting is set to strict, you may encounter a whole screen full of warnings. While these may be alarming, you don’t need to fix them but merely need to change the rules. These warnings will look like this:
In the php.ini file, locate this line:
Replace it with this:
Also find this line and replace “on” with “off”:
Restart your server and that should be all that’s needed to fix the issue.
Output buffering helps your site to run faster, so this is definitely a setting you want to be functioning properly. What output buffering does is when your chunks of data exceed a specific size, it starts dicing the data up into smaller chunks to make downloading flow more smoothly and easily. In your php.ini file, find the output_buffering setting and change it to one of the following:
This setting is very important to have turned off because it presents a potential security hole in your website. Find the register_globals setting in your php.ini file and change it from saying “on” to saying “off”.
PHP Upload Limit
Sometimes you may run into problems uploading pictures or installing plugins because the PHP Upload Limit is too low for the data you’re trying to upload to the Joomla installation. If this happens to you, find the following entries in your php.ini file:
Change these values to something high enough to accompany the data you’re trying to upload. Remember that the maximum setting for these is 192M.
Also make sure you have permission to upload files with this setting, which should be “on”:
cURL Not Loaded
Sometimes you may run into an error that looks like this:
This can be fixed by changing the setting in php.ini. Find this line:
If there is a semicolon preceding it, delete it. Then restart your server.