For those of you who do not know, Joomla is a wonderful open source content management system (CMS). At its core, Joomla is a powerful way to rapidly develop professional quality websites of any kind. Through extensions, Joomla can become just about anything you want it to be. Best of all, it is completely free and available in numerous languages.
In this guide, we will get you up and running with your first Joomla website and go over the basics of what it’s all about.
The first thing we need to do is download the latest version of Joomla from their official website. Current version is 1.5.7.
Once you have finished downloading, you will need to extract the zip file to a location of your choice. Now you need to use an FTP client to upload the extracted files to your webhost. If you need help connecting to your web host through FTP, please view your web hosts documentation.
Preparing for Installation
Before we can install Joomla we need to setup a database so Joomla can store all of your website’s data. To do this you will need to access your hosting account control panel. This varies depending on your host, so consult your host’s documentation for help. Most control panels will have a button labeled "MySQL Databases" or "Manage Databases". You will need to create a new database. Make sure that you write down your database information as we are going to use it later.
Time for the Install
Now that we have uploaded our files and created our database, we are now ready to install Joomla.
Using your web browser, go to the location of your uploaded Joomla files. Ex. http://www.mysite.com/joomla
It should automatically redirect you to the Joomla installation page. From here you can select your default language and click the "Next" button.
Next is the pre-installation check. Basically, it’s just making sure your server is configured correctly. Everything should check out just fine, and you can click "Next". Click "Next" again if you agree to the Joomla terms.
Now you should be at the database configuration page. You will need to input the database hostname, username, password, and name that you used when creating the database.
If Joomla could connect to your database, you will be sent to the FTP configuration page. I usually leave this page alone, but if you want to (or your server requires it) you can enter your FTP information. Click "Next".
Finally, we have made it to the final page of installation. You will need to enter your site name and login information. There is also the option to install sample data. This will install sample content into your website so you can get the gist of how stuff works. This is recommended for beginners.
That’s it! Joomla is now installed. However, before you can access your website you will need to delete your Joomla installation folder. Once you’ve done that, you are ready to go.
So, you have created your first Joomla website and are ready to add content. The first thing you will need to do is add some articles and menu items to link to them. From your Joomla admin page (ex. www.mysite.com/joomla/administrator), click on "Article Manager" under the "Content" menu.
The article manager is your best friend. You will use it to add most of your website’s content. On the right side of the page, click the "New" button.
Before you can publish your article you will need to add a title, select a section and a category. There are a lot of other options that you can mess around with, however, I will not be covering them in this article.
So add some content to your article and give it a title. Then select a section from the drop down list and then do the same for the categories. Finally, check the "Front Page" option and click "Save".
Now we need to be able to access your new content item from the main menu. To do this, under the "Menu" menu, click "Main Menu". On the right side click "New". Since we are going to be linking to an article, click "Articles" from under the Internal Link section. Now click "Article Layout".
Give your new menu item a title, ex. My Article. Now choose an article by clicking the "Select" button on the right side of the page and click on the article title you wish to link to. Finally, click save.
Now that we have setup Joomla, added content and a menu item, we can now unleash our website to the world. To preview your new Joomla website, click the "Preview" link on the top right of the page.
You should see your article on the frontpage of your new website along with the menu link you created. I chose not to install sample data so it is a very basic website.
That is all for this article! You now have a very basic Joomla website, but there is much….much more to Joomla! In an upcoming article you will learn how to use modules, templates, and extensions.