Thanks to the web installer, Joomla! can be installed in only a few minutes.
In order to install Joomla! on your local PC, it is necessary to set up your "own internet", for which you'll need a browser, a web server, a PHP environment and as well a Joomla supported database system. We call this a LAMP stack (or XAMP) and a client server system. The Joomla! files will be copied to this system and configured with the Joomla! web installer.
Minimum system requirements:
- an installed and functioning web server, like Apache (with mod_mysql, mod_xml, and mod_zlib), version 2.x or Microsoft IIS 7.
- the PHP scripting language, version 5.2.4.
- the MySQL database system, version 5.0.4.
Since this issue is the same for all PHP-based systems, I would like to refer you to the chapter installation variants of PHP-based systems.
This topic is very complex because there is a vast number of providers and an even greater number of installed web server, PHP, MySQL versions and web space management tools. Crunchpoints during the installation often consist of:
- an activated PHP Safe Mode, preventing you to upload files,
- 'forbidden' rewrite paths with the Apache web server because the so-called Apache Rewrite Engine (mod_rewrite) is not activated,
- the directory permissions on Linux and OSX, which are set differently than in Windows.
Basically, the easiest way that almost always works is the following:
- Download the current file package from Joomla.org to your home PC and unzip everything into a temporary directory.
- Load the unpacked files via FTP onto your rented server or to the directory of your local installation. The files must be installed in the public directory. These directories are usually called htdocs, public_html or html. If there already are other installations in that directory, you can specify a sub directory in which your Joomla! files should be installed. Many web hosts allows you to link your rented domain name to a directory.
- You have to find out the name of your database. In most cases, one or more databases are included in your web hosting package. Sometimes, the names of the user, database and password are already given; sometimes you have to set them up first. Usually you can do this in a browser-based configuration interface. You will need the database access information for Joomla!'s web installer.
Joomla! web installer
Download Joomla! 2.5 at joomla.org and unpack the files into your root folder of the web server (e.g.: /htdocs).
From now on, everything is going to go really fast because the Joomla! web installer is working for you. Go to URL http://localhost/.
Step 1 – Selecting a language
The web installer appears with a selection of languages. Choosing the language is the first of seven installation steps. Set the desired language, and click the Next button (Figure 1).
Figure 1: Installer – Select language
Step 2 – Installation check
The Installation check (Figure 2) should help you verify whether your server environment is suitable for the installation of Joomla! or not.
Figure 2: Installer – Installation check
It's a good sign if you see mostly green test results. Depending on your configuration, there can be differences. The Joomla! Installer considers the configuration settings of the web server (in our case Apache), PHP, and the operating system. When using Unix Systems (Linux, Mac OS X), you have to pay attention to file permissions. This is particularly important for the file configuration.php. This file will be generated at the end of the installation with your personal values. If the installer can not write in the folder, Joomla! can not create the file and the installation will fail. In this case, try to configure the rights and then click the button repeat check. Then, click the Next button and you will get to the step license.
Step 3 – License
All software products contain a licence describing the allowed usage. Joomla! is licensed according to the GNU General Public License, version 2.0 (Figure 3).
Figure 3: Installer – License
Step 4 – Database
In the fourth step database configuration, your data base parameters will be requested (Figure 4). You can create any number of databases in your local server environment. In the MAMP package and in Ubuntu Linux, you have a MySQL user with the name root. The user root is the MySQL administrator and can, therefore, do everything in your MySQL system. The password depends on your server environment (no password is needed with XAMPP, with MAMP the password is root too).
Figure 4: Installer – database configuration
Enter the following values into your local installation:
- computer name: localhost
- user name: root
- password: [only you know that]
Now select the database name. In a productive environment on a database server with a provider, you probably have a fixed quota of databases and the database credentials are predefined. If you have root permission on your MySQL server, you can enter a name of a new database. Joomla! will then create that database.
You can select whether the tables of any existing Joomla! installation in this database should be cleared or saved and marked with the prefix bak_.
The MySQL table prefix is really practical. In front of each table name generated by the web installer, it writes the text that you typed in the appropriate field. As a default, the web installer suggests a randomly created one, like w02rh_ . This has a simple reason. Sometimes you may only be able to get one MySQL database from your provider. If you want to run two or more Joomla! sites, you have a problem, as the tables do not differ from each other. With the table prefix it is possible to distinguish several tables (w01client_ or w02client_). Here, you should use the default w02rh_ . The prefix is also used to indicate saved data (bak_); see above.
Step 5 - FTP-configuration
In order to avoid problems with access rights and possibly turned on PHP Safe Mode, you have the possibility to use the FTP functions of PHP for the upload and file handling. This is not necessary in a local installation. If you have installed Joomla! on a virtual server with your provider, you can enter the FTP data provided by your ISP. If your provider allows this function, it is advisable for security reasons, to create different FTP accounts for users and for the Joomla! installation. Activate the FTP account just for that Joomla! directory (Figure 5).
Figure 5: Installer – FTP-configuration
Step 6 - Configuration
The main configuration is divided into three steps.
In the first part of the configuration the name of your site is requested. This name will appear in the title bar of the browser window when someone accesses your site. The name is also used at various other places, such as in confirmation emails to registered users. For our example page, I'll use the name Joomla! (Figure 6). In the second part, the name, e-mail address and administrator password are requested. Writing down the password on a piece of paper is probably the best (but do not stick it on the screen or under the keyboard :-)).
In the third part, you specify the type of data your Joomla! installation should contain.
Installation of sample data
The data is the most important thing in your installation. Joomla! allows (and strongly recommends for beginners) the installation of sample data. You will be provided with a small manual about Joomla! and many examples to experiment safely. Click the button install sample data. The installer will load the data into your database and change the display (Figure 6). This process is somewhat unimpressive but necessary for installing sample data. The button will disappear and a small text box will be visible.
Figure 6: Installer – Configuration – Name, E-Mail, Password, Sample data
Click on the button NEXT and the data will be transferred.
Step 7 – Completion
In the seventh and final step you will be congratulated on having successfully installed Joomla! (Figure 7). Congratulations from me as well! You will now see an advisory in bold letters appearing in the display, prompting you to delete the directory called 'Installation'. You should follow this advisory because your Joomla! website will otherwise not run properly.
Figure 7: Installer – Completion
Note: A file named configuration.php has been created in your document directory. If you would like to repeat the installation, you will need to delete the file configuration.php before deleting the installation directory. The Joomla! installer will start anew when you pull up the URL in your browser, where your Joomla! files are located.
Now that you have fully installed Joomla! you can begin configuring your website and content. You have the choice between the buttons Site (see website) and Admin (administration interface). Go ahead and have a look at your newly created website and click on Site. In case you have not yet deleted the installation directory, you will once again receive a friendly reminder to do so now and then refresh the page.
The result looks very impressive (Figure 8).
Figure 8: Your website directly after installation
Have a look around, browse through a few options and try to familiarize yourself with your new site. Many features of Joomla! are being used on this website filled with sampla data. Next, we are going to look at these in detail!
In order to run your Joomla website int another language than English have, there are two possibilities:
- Download the complete localized package from the corresponding website and install it
- Download the language files and install them. The installation described in the chapter manage extensions and the chapter multi-language Web sites, you will find more information about localization.
Unpublish Example Data
If you are installing Joomla! for the first time, I recommend you also install the example data. Take your time and explore the website and how it all comes together. The example data show you how the website looks with content and comes with short explanations of the example content and modules. To get a brief overview, read the 50 pages behind the menu item "Using Joomla!".
Now that you have seen enough, you would probably love to configure your website according to your needs and wishes.
How to get an empty Joomla! ?
To get an empty version, you can:
- Install a fresh Joomla! 2.5 without example data:
Create a new folder in your local web directory (/htdocs) and install the new Joomla!. Now you have two complete Joomla! installations. This approach is very helpful for training purposes.
- Delete the example data in your administration area.
- Unpublish the example data. Please watch the video attached, in which I am going to show you how to do that.
If you decide to follow step 2 or 3, you will need to login in the administration area. There you can delete and/or unpublish the example data and menu items.
Go to the Menu Manager in the Top Menu (Menus -> Top), click the check boxes on the left side above the menu items to choose all of them, and then click the icon Unpublish. After you have done this, you will see a red icon on each menu item. (Figure 9)
Figure 9: Menu manager I
If you now go back to your website (refresh it), you will notice that the top menu is no longer visible. Repeat the same procedure with the Main Menu and the About Joomla! menu. Make sure you choose all menu items, except the Home/Frontpage item. This menu item cannot be deleted because you need a frontpage. In the lower area, you may change the number of displayed menu items (Figure 10).
Figure 10: Menu manager II
Use the same procedure as described above. Open the article manager and choose all content items to unpublish or delete them.
To make sure that all data will disappear from you site, you have to clear the entire cache (Site Maintenance -> Clear Cache). Again, choose all content and delete it.
Your Joomla! is now "empty" (Figure 11).
Figure 11: Joomla! without example data