Hello there! Today, we are going to walk you through setting up your first Joomla! Website. This article quickly leads you through installing Joomla 1.5. It details both a local installation for testing (if you do not have a Joomla hosting account or have a slow internet connection) and a real web server installation.
Joomla is a complex series of PHP scripts that run on a web server. When you browse a Joomla site, these scripting are being generated on the fly and creating what you see on the pages of the site. The key words here are web server.
You cannot download Joomla and try to run it on your computer like an exe file. It has to have a web server, which means you need to have a hosting account.
There is something else you can do first. You can actually run a web server on your local computer, in other words, your desktop or laptop. This is known as having a localhost. It may sound like I just contradicted myself from the previous paragraph, but not quite. You can’t “run” Joomla itself on your own computer, but you can install a localhost web server for it to “run on”.
What you need to pull this off is some software that runs Apache, PHP and MySQL on your computer. These are the same software packages that power websites.
Developing your website locally before actually uploading to your host makes sense for a large number of reasons. Before actually going live you need to:
- Learn how to administer and deploy a Joomla! website
- Brand the template you have chosen
- Organise your sections and categories appropriately
- Ensure that any 3rd party components you will install will not break any other parts of your site. You also need to ensure that are correctly and fully configured
- Configure email settings, contacts, registration / login settings, decide on users which will be given front-end / back-end access
- Lots of other settings to ensure that your site has been fully optimized
To be able to design and test you need a local installation of your website on a standalone server. The following server(s) and suites enable you to easily and install your development site.
- LAMP (Linux) – Most Linux distributions come with a pre-configured LAMP server.
- WAMP (Windows) – For more information, visit http://www.wampserver.com/en/index.php
- MAMP (Macintosh) – For more information, visit http://www.mamp.info
- XAMPP (Multi-platform) – Not for live sites. For more information, visit http://www.apachefriends.org/en/xampp.html
Wamp Server is a Windows web development environment. It allows you to create web applications with Apache, PHP and the MySQL database. It also comes with PHP MyAdmin and SQLite Manager to easily manage your databases.
Wamp Server also has a tray icon to manage your server and its settings.
Double click on the downloaded file and just follow the instructions. Everything is automatic. The Wamp Server package is delivered with the latest releases of Apache, MySQL and PHP.
Once Wamp Server is installed, you can add other releases by downloading them on this website. They will then appear in the Wamp Server menu and you will be able to switch releases with a simple click.
Wamp Server’s functionalities are very complete and easy to use so we won’t explain here how to use them.
With a left click on Wamp Server’s icon, you will be able to:
- manage your Apache and MySQL services
- switch online/offline (give access to everyone or only localhost)
- install and switch Apache, MySQL and PHP releases
- manage your servers settings
- access your logs
- access your settings files
- create alias
With a right click :
- change Wamp Server’s menu language
When you install Wamp Server, a “www” directory is created (generally c:\wamp\www).
Click on the link “Localhost” in the Wamp Server menu or open your browser and open the http://localhost address.
Now open a browser and go to localhost(no “www”)
You should see the following page:
If you are not seeing this then you should stop and figure out why. You have to get this page before you can proceed. The WAMP site has some helpful troubleshooting FAQ’s and a forum.
Download &Unzip Joomla!
To install Joomla!, you need the source code. Download the Joomla_1.5.zip package (Current version 1.5.9) and save it on your system.
You need to unzip, or unpack the Joomla files you have onto your server. If you are running as a localhost, your server would be the WAMP directory mentioned above. If you are on a web host, you will need to upload the file and then unpack it. Use your file manager to upload the zip file to public_html (or whatever you have on your host).
Installing Joomla through a Web Browser
If you have got this far that means you have unzipped the Joomla package to either a remote web host or your local computer. Now for the fun stuff!
There are a number of options open to you in this process:
- This may simply be http://localhost/joomla for a local installation, or http://www.yourdomain.com for a remote installation.
- If you have installed Joomla! in a sub directory of your Web root then you will need to add that directory to the end of the address for example http://localhost/joomla/test or http://www.yourdomain.com/joomla
- If you have installed Joomla! as a sub-domain on a remote host this might appear as http://www.joomla.yourdomain.com
Using your browser of choice (Firefox of course), navigate to the location of all the localhost/Joomla. You will see the first installation screen.
Choose Language is the first of a total of seven installation steps. Select the desired language and click on the Next button.
Next, you will see the Pre-Installation check. This check should help you determine whether your server environment is suitable for a Joomla! installation.
A critical part in the installation process, this checks if all the minimum system requirements are met.
The first set are required minimums, if they are red (not met) then you need to find a new environment (change hosts), talk them into changing their environment (upgrading PHP for example). Note that the last item is a permissions issue on a file (configuration.php) that is much easier to rectify. This file is created at the end of the installation with its customized values. You can usually change permissions through the Cpanel provided by your host. This tool is generally an industry standard.
The second set is recommended settings. If you don’t meet them you can still install Joomla but it may create problems with functionality and security.
If you are working with the Wamp Server under Windows, your screen should like the previous screenshot. Click on Next and you are in the licensing step.
Every piece of software is licensed under certain conditions. Joomla! uses the GNU/GPL licence, version 2.0.
After you read this license click on Next.
In the fourth step, Database Configuration, your database parameters are queried. You can set up as many databases as required in Wamp server environment and you have a MySQL user with the name root (without a password). The user root is the MySQL administrator and can do everything in the MySQL system. An installation without a password is a significant security risk. In the beginning, locally, in order to get the system up and running as quickly as possible, this is not a problem.
Enter the following parameters in a local Wamp Server installation:
Host Name: localhost
User Name: root
Password: leave this empty—but be aware of the security risk!!
Now select a Database Name. An unlimited number of databases can be set up in a local Wamp Server environment since the user root has the right to do that. In an active environment with a provider, you presumably will have a set allocation of databases and the access data for the databases are usually preset.
Because of this, We can also enter a name of a database that does not exist yet in the installer. Here digits is the database name used.
In order to stop problems with access rights and a possibly activated PHP Safe Mode in their track, you have the option of using PHP’s FTP functions for uploading and handling of files starting with Joomla! 1.5. This is not necessary in the local Wamp Server installation. But if you install Joomla! on the virtual web server of a provider, enter here the FTP data that your provider has given to you. If your provider permits these functions, it is advisable from a security perspective to set up different FTP accounts for yourself as user and for Joomla! and to activate the Joomla! FTP account only for the respective Joomla! Directory.
This main step of the configuration is divided into three parts.
The first part of the configuration has to do with the name of your website. This name appears in the header of the browser window when somebody accesses your website. This name is also used in other places, for example, with confirmation emails to registered users. We have chosen the name Digit.lk for our example site.
In the second part, you are asked to enter the paths of the website, the administrator email address, and the administrator password. This will be the first user in the site and automatically gets that super administration status. Write the password on a piece of paper (but don’t stick it on the monitor or the keyboard!).
In the third part the Main Configuration page determines how you will insert content into your site. You have two choices:
- Install Sample Data
This installs the default Joomla content that you have probably seen all over the web with Welcome to Joomla. Note that is also includes all the menus, navigation links and sections/categories. If you are learning how to use Joomla this is highly recommended. Its easier to adapt and revise than to start from scratch.
- Migration from previous versions
This is a special function that is part of a process to migrate a Joomla site running on 1.0 to 1.5 and requires a special component to do so.
Click on the Install Sample Data button. The installer loads the data into your database and changes the display. The process is a little unimpressive but necessary for the installation of sample data. The button disappears and a small text window appears.
Now click on the Next button and your data are stored.
The seventh and final step congratulates you on a successful installation. Let us congratulate you as well. There is a notice in bold text that prompts you to delete the installation directory. Take good heed of this notice, because your Joomla! website will not run without this step.
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)
The installation is now complete and you have a choice between the buttons Site (to view your homepage) and Admin (administration interface). To take a look at your newly created homepage, click on Site. If you haven’t deleted the installation directory as of yet, you will get a friendly reminder to delete it and to check out your page after you’ve done that.
The next article will discuss Core Features of Joomla.