How To Install Joomla! 1.5: A Beginner's Tutorial
- Benjamin Kuker
- November 03, 2009
This is the first in a series of tutorials about how to create and manage a website using Joomla! 1.5. In this tutorial, you'll learn how to install and setup Joomla. Future tutorials will include how to use the Joomla administration, and how to create your own modules and templates.
What Is Joomla?
First, let me explain briefly what Joomla is. Joomla is a Content Management System, also referred to as a CMS. It may sound like a mouthful, but a CMS is basically a piece of software that you can install on your server that will allow you to quickly build and easily manage your website.
One of the nice things about Joomla is that it's free and open source. It also has a very large community of developers around it, so if you need help with something, chances are someone in the forum will be able to assist you. The large community also means that there are numerous add-ons, called extensions, that are available for Joomla that will allow you to upgrade and enhance the capabilities of your website.
Joomla Requirements: What You Need To Start
We'll be working with Joomla version 1.5 for the purposes of this tutorial. If you don't have the latest version of Joomla, you can download it here. Make sure that you select the full package version rather than the upgrade package.
You'll also need to have access to a server that is compatible with PHP, either on your computer or from your web hosting company. If you don't have one, you can download XAMPP, an easy-to-set-up Apache server that will allow you to run PHP scripts. You can find a great guide for installing and using XAMPP here.
The final ingredient is a MySQL database. For this tutorial, we'll be interacting with MySQL through a program called phpMyAdmin. Don't worry, if you've downloaded and installed XAMPP, you should have both MySQL and phpMyAdmin included.
Installing Joomla 1.5
The process of installing Joomla will differ only slightly depending on if you're using a localhost on your computer or are installing on a live server with your web hosting company. I'll point out the differences where they occur.
Step One - Saving The Files
When you download Joomla, it usually comes in a zipped (compressed) file. You'll need to unzip it and save the files to a directory on your web server.
If you're using XAMPP, you'll need to save the files in the XAMPP/htdocs/ folder. If you plan on creating other sites, you might want to create a new folder similar to XAMPP/htdocs/joomla/ so that you can easily organize your websites. You'll be able to access any files in the htdocs folder of XAMPP by opening a web browser and typing in http://localhost/.
On a remote web server, the directory to which you should save the files will vary greatly depending on the server setup. Some servers will have a folder called public or html and others may not even give you a choice. It's best to consult your web hosting company if you're not certain. If you want to access the files, you can do so by typing in your website address in a browser.
From this point forward, I'll be referring to the folder in which your files have been installed as your root folder or root directory.
Step Two - Creating The Database
Now that you have the files saved, it's time to create a database. This might sound intimidating, but it really won't be too hard. You will need to write down a few items for the next step, though, so keep a pen and paper handy.
For those that have phpMyAdmin, if you haven't already done so, you'll have to create a password through the XAMPP control panel. Write down both the username and the password and then log into phpMyAdmin.
You should see a screen like the one above. The only part you'll need to worry about is the part circled in red, "Create a new database". You can name your database whatever you'd like, but for simplicity's sake, I'm going to just name this one "joomla". Collation won't concern you too much, but select "utf8_bin" and then hit the Create button. Write down the name of your database and that' it, we're ready to move on to the next step.
Many web hosting companies will also use phpMyAdmin, so the process will be much the same. If they don't have phpMyAdmin, you'll have to consult their documentation as to how to create a new database.
The most important parts of this step are to have created a new database and to have written down the username and password for accessing the database and the database name. If you're on a remote host, you'll also have to record the host name, which you can get from your hosting provider.
Step Three - Installing Joomla
The installation process from this point forward should be fairly straightforward. In your web browser, navigate to your root directory where you've installed Joomla. The screen that appears should indicate 7 steps, but none of them are very complicated.
The first step is choosing a language for your administration section. Select your language of choice and then hit the next button in the upper-right hand corner of the screen.
The second step is a pre-installation check and it simply checks to ensure that your server environment can support Joomla. If each indicator is green, you can just hit the next button again. If there are any red indicators, especially among the required features, you'll need to consult your web hosting company. XAMPP users should be okay to continue by default.
The third step is to indicate that you agree with Joomla's licensing terms. Joomla uses the GNU GPL open source license, and if you're interested, you can read more about what that means here.
The fourth installation step is to enter in the information you recorded earlier. For database type, select "mysql". If you're using XAMPP on your computer, type in "localhost" for the host name, otherwise use the host name given by your hosting provider. Username and password should be the same as those you entered to access your database.
Don't worry about the advanced settings for right now. They are mainly used if you have a previously installed version of Joomla in the same database.
The fifth step isn't a required step if you're using installing on Windows operating system. However, if you're not, you can find your FTP information through your hosting provider.
Now it's time to configure Joomla. In this sixth step, you'll name your site and also choose your admin email and password. (Make sure your write them both down and store them in a secure place). You also have the option of installing sample data, which I recommend as it will give you a starting point to begin learning how Joomla functions. Simply click on the button marked "Install Sample Data".
In the final step of the installation process, you'll be giving your administrative user name, which is "admin". You can change it later, once you log in. To complete the installation process and in order for Joomla to function properly, you'll have to delete the folder named "installation" from the root directory of your Joomla installation. This is done for security purposes so that someone can't overwrite your Joomla install. You should be able to do this through whatever program or interface with which you saved the files to the server.
Once the installation directory has been deleted, you're ready to begin using Joomla. You can see the public face, also called the front end, of the website by navigating to your root directory in your browser. To access the administration section, add administrator/ to your root directory, e.g. http://localhost/administrator/ or http://www.example.com/administrator/.
Our next tutorial explains some of the basic Joomla terminology and also helps get you familiarized with the administration section so that you can begin customizing your website.
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