Web Browser Installation

The browser installation method of installing Joomla! is the far straighter forward of the two methods and is what is hoped to be a typical installation. Whilst it is relatively easy it is only a semi-automatic method as you do still have to enter some details during the process. However, the “hard” work is done for you by the installer software itself.

Assuming you have already uploaded the Joomla! core pack of files to your Web root directory, be it on your local machine or a remote host, the next step is to start your Web browser and enter the URL to your Web site. There are a number of options open to you in this process:

Step 1 - Language Choice

Whichever of these scenarios fits your particular situation, once you hit the enter key you should be presented with the following screen:

Language Selection Screen
The Language Selection page of the Joomla! Installation Process

You should notice that en-GB – English(United Kingdom) is selected. This is the default language used for all Joomla! Core development. Simply select your preferred language for the installation process. If your own language does not appear in the list you may consider assisting in the translation of the core for other people in the same position. Visit the Translation Forums for further details.

The language files included in the core only relate to the installation process itself and do not affect the Front-end or Back-end displays of Joomla! and by default these are only installed in en-GB . This happens simply, as to include all the translations for the core files would make the download an unmanageable beast in size. Individual languages into which Joomla! has been translated are carried on the Joomla! Code repository site. Full details of the language packs currently available can be found within the Joomla! Developer Network site in the Menu Module on the left of the page.

The links also follow below for convenience:

Copyright & Licence explained

Accredited Translations / Translation Partners

Translation Policy

Translation Manual

Accredited Translations are those that have been approved by Joomla!.

Translation Partners are International groups who have developed Web sites that carry translations of the Help Screens and other official documentation and have entered into an agreement with Joomla!.

If you wish to contribute to the translation effort contact the co-ordinator of an existing project listed on the Accredited Translations page.

Language packs for the Site Front-end and the Administrator Back-end can be uploaded and installed using the Installation Manager in the Control Panel->Extensions Menu.

Once you are happy with your language selection click Next.

Step 2 - Pre-installation Check

The next screen is Joomla!'s confirmation of what you hopefully already know if you followed the earlier advice of using phpinfo(). The screen shows whether your server meets all the necessary criteria to successfully complete the installation.

Pre-Installation Check Screen
Pre-installation Check Screen


If any of the responses in the first section are set to No (with the exception of the configuration.php being writable) you should rectify the situation before attempting to continue with the process as these represent the essential requirements for the installation. Failure to do this may cause your Joomla! Web site to function incorrectly, or require you to carry out additional procedures at the end of the standard browser installation.

The most common error that Users encounter is that the configuration.php file is not writable. See the section on Error Handling for details on how to correct this issue later in the guide.

The second block of settings indicate certain specific variables within the PHP code base configuration. Whilst these are recommended, Joomla! will still install but there will be more to do later on and there is a risk that your Web site would be open to malicious assault if you did not rectify them These settings may be adjusted at any time. The first column shows the recommended settings and the second those that are identified within your server.

We will detail some of the common problems and solutions in the Error Handling section at the back of this manual rather than blur the picture at this stage. The Error Handling section will be completed once Joomla! 1.5 final is released.

You do not have to exit the installer in order to change a setting. Once you have made a change simply click the Check Again button to reassess the situation. It is also possible to return to the Language Choice screen by clicking the Previous button.

When everything is set as required, click the Next button.

Step 3 - License

There is nothing to actually enter or change on the License screen, however, it is recommended that you read, understand, and agree to the terms and conditions under which Joomla! is released.

Please note that whilst there is no specific agreement option (nor indeed a registration process) within this screen, by using Joomla!, you are confirming your agreement with this license.

GNU GPL 2.0 License
The GNU GPL Version 2. License

The license under which all Joomla! releases have been made to date is the GNU GPL v2 license. GNU is the organisation responsible for maintaining the license and GPL stands for General Public License.

If you have any Joomla! specific questions regarding licensing visit the Legal Forums.

Once you have read the license click the Next button.

Step 4 - Database Configuration

We now enter the final, and you could say, most important stages of the browser installation. This step establishes the information Joomla! requires in order to communicate with your database.

Database Configuration Screen
The Database Configuration Stage Screen

You now require the information you (hopefully) secured earlier in this guide.

Select the database type from the drop down list, which includes mysql and mysqli by default. Typically you will select mysql for your database choice. There may be subsequent changes that require the use of mysqli but such speculation is outside the scope of this document.

If you would like to read more about the difference between the two types visit http://dev.mysql.com/downloads/connector/php/ where you will find some basic details.

Thereafter, enter the Host Name, User Name, Password, and Database Name for your database.

The Additional Settings fields allow for further definition of your database. If, for example, you have had a previous, but no longer required, database of the same name as you have entered in the field above, you have the options to either Drop (delete) the tables within the existing database or create full backups of the tables and therefore retain the information just in case you need to step back from the current installation utilising this backup.

You can also change the Table Prefix that Joomla! will use for all the tables in your database. You may want this facility if you are running more than one Joomla! Web site from within the same database.

Never use the prefix bak_ as this is used by Joomla! specifically for back-ups of tables within the database.

Always ensure the inclusion of the single underscore character following the prefix you choose otherwise the prefix will simply “run into” the table name. The default prefix is jos_.

Your Database Configuration will now look similar to the following:

Completed Database Settings Demonstration
 Completed Basic and Advanced Settings of the Database Configuration page

Once all the necessary settings have been entered correctly, click Next.

We will detail some of the common problems and solutions in the Error Handling section at the back of this manual rather than blur the picture at this stage. This section will be completed after the release of the full version of Joomla! 1.5.

Step 5 - FTP Configuration

Due to file system permission and PHP Safe Mode restrictions on certain server hosts, a facility has been introduced in Joomla! 1.5 that will allow all authorised Users to utilize the various Joomla! install & upload processes available within the Control Panel. These include the Media Manager as well as the Installation Manager. The FTP layer exists to handle file system manipulation.

FTP Configuration Screen
Step 5 – The FTP Configuration Screen

Enter the FTP username and password established during the preparatory section of this guide. This should only have access to the Joomla! root directory, this will be the FTP Account that handles all file system operations when Joomla! requires FTP access to complete a task.

For security reasons, it is best if a separate FTP User Account is created with access only to the Joomla! installation and not the whole Web server if this option is available to you.

It is not generally necessary to worry about the FTP Configuration page for a localhost installation of Joomla! , although the exception to this might be on a local network.

The settings for the FTP Configuration can be entered, or edited after installation, within the Global Configuration screen in the Control Panel->Site menu or through the Quick Icon on the Control Panel workspace.

We will detail some of the common problems and solutions in the Error Handling section at the back of this manual rather than blur the picture at this stage.This will be completed once Joomla!1.5 final has been released.


Caution: It is important to note that if you run more than one Web site on your server that the pathway to the root directory will change for each site – the other four settings will not necessarily have, or on shared hosting likely be able, to change.

Once you have completed the required information, as necessary or, if you do not require the FTP Configuration to be entered, click Next.

Step 6 - Main Configuration

The Main Configuration screen allows the setting of three critical elements for the installation of Joomla! to your Web server.

Main Configuration Screen
  The Main Configuration screen of the Joomla! installation process

There are three sections to the Main Configuration screen; the first of which is the Site Name. Whilst this may appear obvious it does bear pointing out that this is also the name that will be used when site e-mails are issued, or when error or access warning messages are issued from the Front-end of the Web site. Unlike in earlier releases of Joomla!, and its predecessor, the Site Name will not appear in the User's browser title bar. This entry can be edited at a later time in the Global Configuration->Site page of the Control Panel.

The second section relates to key information concerning the primary Super Administrator, you!

Enter your e-mail address, or the one that you want all site warnings, messages, and e-mails to be sent from and that incoming contact methods will be directed to. It will appear as the From address on all Site outgoing e-mail messages. There are also two text fields into which you should enter and confirm the password that you will (as the primary Super Administrator) use to login to the Web site, in combination with the default username for the primary Super Administrator, which by default is admin.

Caution: It is worth pointing out that at least for public sites the MySQL,FTP, and Login usernames and passwords should not be the same. To do so would add unnecessary security risks.

If you are migrating data from an existing Joomla! 1.0 installation, or uploading a full SQL back-up from an existing Joomla! 1.5 installation, you do not need to complete these first two sections as the information will be automatically transferred within the migration script or back-up file.

An additional security suggestion that you might consider is to change the User admin to something less obvious once the installation is completed. This can be done (along with any subsequent changes you wish to make to the password) in the Control Panel->Site menus->User Manager screen of the Administrator Back-end.

The third and final section relates to the data that you may, or indeed may not, want to include in the installation process.

Essentially you have three choices:

  1. enter the default sample data that Joomla! provides within the core distribution,

  2. upload your own data. This may be from:

    1. a migration of the data from an earlier version of Joomla! using the migration tools available

    2. an existing Joomla! 1.5 data from perhaps a back-up that has been created from another Web site although there is no specific procedure in this section to undertake this.

  3. do none of the foregoing and start a completely fresh and empty installation of Joomla!

Looking at these options one at a time:

Installing the Default Sample Data

The sample default data is a collection of Sections, Categories, Articles, Web Links, News Feeds, and various other examples of content that have been written simply to demonstrate some of the functionality of Joomla! (much of the content is also quite informative and useful). The data is contained in an SQL file within the core installation.

By default the Install Default Sample Data radio button is selected, but in order to complete the installation of the Sample Data you must also click the adjacent Install Sample Data button. Provided all goes well you will notice that this button transforms into a confirmatory message box stating that the Sample Data Installed Successfully; you are then ready to complete this section by clicking Next.

It is not possible to simply do an SQL back-up of a 1.0.x version Web site and upload this to a 1.5 version installation as a result of the significant changes that have taken place with regard to the framework of Joomla!.

Installing a Compatible SQL Script File

There may be situations where for example you have your own localised – in language terms – version of the Sample Data, or a back-up of data from an existing Joomla! 1.5 Web site that you wish to restore/install into the new Web site you are creating. You should complete the Old Table Prefix, and Migration Script items below.

Installing a Migration SQL Script File from an earlier Joomla! version 1.0.x installation

There is a separate and detailed guide on migrating content from earlier Joomla! installations available from the Joomla! Help Site regarding the Migrator Component.

If you are migrating or restoring data select the Load Migration Script radio button. You will notice that this then enables the additional fields for Old Table Prefix, Old Site Encoding, and Migration Script.

Old Table Prefix:
This is the prefix used in the database from which the data is being transferred. For example, it may be mos_ from a default Joomla! 1.0 installation or, if uploading from a core SQL file #__.
Old Site Encoding:
Refers to the Language Encoding used by the donor MySQL database also known as the Collation. Joomla! 1.5 must be encoded with the UTF-8 language. The Old Site Encoding details can be obtained by referring (in PHPMyAdmin) to the Databases tab of the main page.
Migration Script:
Browse to the Migration Script SQL data file you want to upload from a Joomla! 1.0.x installation that has been created using the Migrator Component.

The Migrator Component clearly cannot compensate (add) data to any new fields that have been added by the Joomla! 1.5 development (it's good but not magical) therefore it is recommended that you check all migrated data and complete any missing fields that require such action. The most prevalent of these will be the Alias field of Sections, Categories, and Articles.

I have already uploaded...:
Select this check box if you find that the SQL file is too big to handle (memory and time limit errors) and upload the file in the joomla_root/installation/sql/migration/ called migrate.sql (no compression allowed) using an FTP client program
This script is a Joomla! 1.0 migration script:
Check this box if (and only if) you are migrating data from an earlier Joomla! 1.0 Web installation, having used the com_migrator Component. This will enable the built in automatic process to complete the transformation of the data to a compatible format with the Joomla! 1.5 framework.

Once you have completed the details on this page select Next to proceed to the final step.

Step 7 - Finish

 Finish Screen
The Finish page of the installation process

Well, if you have successfully got to this page, then you have passed the first test. Congratulations!

Before proceeding to view the results of your efforts you need to open the root directory of your Joomla! installation and delete the Installation Directory (highlighted in the following image)

& Highlighted Installation Deletion Screen
 Directory & File listing highlighting installation file to be deleted

Joomla! has been configured so that until this directory is removed you will not be able to access the site for security reasons.

An administrative error in the preparation of the Joomla! V1.5 RC2 release meant that this safety measure was disabled and therefore anyone using this release is able to complete the installation without deleting the directory. We apologise for this oversight and strongly recommend that you still remove the directory for the security of your Web site.

Please note this has blipped into RC3 also...again our apologies 

Once you have deleted the installation directory you can either click the Site or the Admin buttons. The former will open the Site Front-end view of your new Joomla! Web site and the latter will take you to the Administrator Back-end login screen:

Adsministrator Login Screen
 The Administrator Login Screen

Enter the username admin and the password you entered in Step 6 of the installation process, before clicking Login.

You will then enter the Administrator Back-end:

Administrator Back-end - Control Panel Screen
 The Administrator Back-end – Control Panel

...and that is it! You are now ready to Joomla!. Enjoy your experience and we hope you will be able to develop your Web site to its full potential for the purpose you desire.

Good Luck!

Last Updated ( Friday, 04 January 2008 )