Joomla 1.6 RC1 Review – Installation & Initial Setup

Posted on Dec 27 2010

When Joomla 1.6 RC1 was released we were quite eager to put our hands on it and “unwrap” it like a Christmas present. We have just downloaded it from the official Joomla website and uploaded it to a test folder on our hosting account on a regular SiteGround hosting account. We decided to use them for our test because we expect this company to meet all challenges the application puts on the table having in mind the experience they have with Joomla sites.

So enough talk – lets proceed with the installation. As always we begin by downloading the zip archive from the official website of Joomla and makeing a MySQL database from your cPanel hosting management tool. Surely, hosting companies will have one-click installers days after Joomla 1.6 is finally released but at this point we would like to review the normal installation process.

Step1: Selecting Language

The first screen asks from you to choose the Language of your installation. Unfortunately, you can only choose between UK and US English. Hopefully in the final release the Setup application will be available in more languages. Otherwise this screen would be useless for the user. At this point we will just click Next and proceed with the installation.


Step 2: Pre-installation Check

Step2: Pre-Installation Check

On the second page the setup script makes sure all system requirements are met. The application checks for both required and recommended settings. All of those requirements are met on the hosts mentioned in the Joomla Hosting Directory. If any line of the mandatory settings is in red you should contact your host and ask for assistance how to fix the issue. As you can see from the screenshot everything is fine on our test hosting account. Hit the Next button once again to proceed with the installation.


Step 3: License Agreement

Step3: License

There is nothing different than the old Joomla installation page here. You should read the Joomla license agreement carefully and agree to it if you want to use the application. We would advise you all to spare few minutes and actually read it. Once you have done that simply click on the Next button again to proceed with the setup.


Step4: Database Connection

Step4: Database Configuration

This is the first screen on which you need to make any actual configuration. The information required by Joomla 1.6 is standard as most of the PHP/MySQL based applications. At the beginning of this review we have already created a MySQL database and username for it so now all we have to do is enter the correct information in the appropriate fields:


Database Type – Choose between MySQL and PostGre. For the purpose of this review we will use a MySQL database which is the most popular choice.
Hostname – Here you should enter the hostname of your MySQL server. Typically it is “localhost” but different providers may require you to use a different host name. If you experience issues on this step you should contact the support of your hosting company.
Username – Here enter the MySQL username you are going to connect with to the MySQL database. Make sure that username has the permissions to access and modify the MySQL database.
Password – Enter the password you have set for your MySQL username. This password does not have anything to do with the password for your administrative account that you will use to access Joomla later.
Database Name – The name of the database your Joomla 1.6 application will use. At the beginning of this review we mentioned that you should create the database and username for it before you start the installation process.
Table Prefix – Here you can change the default prefix of the default Joomla tables. We would advise you to change the default prefix for two reasons. First, if you have another Joomla application on the same database, selecting a different prefix will assure that the two scripts won’t interfere. Second, changing the prefix improves the security of your Joomla site. Most of the SQL injection and other popular attacks rely on the fact that the victim is using the default names for his/her tables. Changing this setting will make it a bit harder for a hacker to execute a successful attack against your site.
Old Database Process – Here you can select between two options – Backup and Remove. If there are tables with the same names on your database, the setup script can either backup them or remove them. Note that all articles in Joomla are stored in your DB so you wouldn’t like to remove the previous content completely if you still have useful information in that database.
Generally there is nothing new on this screen. It was done fine in the previous Joomla installer too, so there is no actual change. Once again – click the Next button to proceed with the installation.


Step5: FTP Configuration

Step5: FTP Configuration

Our experience with Joomla sites shows that the FTP Layer works slower most of the times than the regular PHP upload. This can cause bigger extensions to fail to install and other timeout issues. However, some people may need the FTP Layer due to specific server configuration. In addition it is used by some components and modules. Our advise is not to configure the FTP Layer at this time. Enable it ONLY if you need it. Here we have noticed an improvement – the “Autofind FTP Path” button. It is very useful and saves you the effort to search for the actual path to your home folder. Once you click it you can verify all of your settings to make sure everything is configured properly with the button right next to it. No matter whether you enable the FTP Layer or not, click on the Next button to proceed.


Step6: Main Configuration

Step6: Main Configuration

On this page you need to enter the main information about your Joomla website. First you need to enter the Site name, meta description and meta keywords. To be honest this is not the best place to configure those settings for your website. How could you enter an appropriate meta description for a website that doesn’t exist yet? And Meta Keywords? Who would ever want to waste time entering those? Search engines have started disregarding meta keywords long ago. We hope that this step will be corrected by the Joomla developers before the application reaches stable version.

The next section makes much more sense – here you need to enter your administrative login details. Enter a valid email address, username and password. Entering valid email address here is helpful because in case of lost password you can reset it using the application’s interface.

Finally, there is the Install Sample Data button. You can press it if you want your Joomla 1.6 database populated with sample data. For those who are not used to the Joomla structure this might be very useful. Another use of the sample data is to insert custom sample data. You need to do this when you are going to use bundles of template, modules and sample data often provided by popular template providers. Click on the Next button again to proceed to the final step of the installation process.


Step7: Finish

Step7: Finish

Finally, the installation is complete…almost. You still need to remove the Installation folder from the directory you are installing Joomla in. A button that removes this directory could be really useful here. On the top of this page you have links to the Joomla Frond End and Administrative area. Once you remove the installation folder manually you can click on those link to access your site.



The Joomla 1.6 Installation process is not much different than the one of Joomla 1.5. There are some good innovations but after all nothing is significantly changed. Users will find the Setup process familiar but why wasting 7 different steps for configuration that can be easily compressed into one page? Adding the useless fields in the installation process like the meta information and the FTP Layer gives the feeling that Joomla developers haven’t put much effort in improving the installation. Hopefully, there will be more serious improvements in the rest of the application.

How to protect Joomla from spam?

Posted on Nov 25 2010

To protect your Joomla application from unwanted messages, we recommend the Akismet component for Joomla (there are versions for Joomla 1.0.x and 1.5.x). This component is based on the Automattic Kismet (Akismet) project, which is one of the leading spam-fighting projects in the world.

The component is installed as a regular Joomla component depending on your version. Once you install Akismet4Joomla, you can configure it from your admin area .

First, you should go to the Components menu and select Akismet. To activate the component you must enter your API  Key in the corresponding field. Once your do that, Akismet will take care to block all spam messages coming to your site.

How to upgrade Joomla?

Posted on Nov 25 2010

To update Joomla 1.5 to its latest version there are few steps you should follow:

  • First, download the appropriate update package from the official Joomla website
  • Extract the files from the archive you have just downloaded
  • Upload the new files overwriting the old ones.

NOTE: Make sure you have created a backup of your website before you overwrite your old files.


Alternatively, there is a free Joomla component that does all this for you. It is called jAutoUpdate and you can download it from the Joomla Extensions Directory. It will save you all the hassle to download, extract and upload the new files again. All you have to do is click a button and your application will be up-to-date!

How to reset the Joomla administrator password?

Posted on Nov 25 2010

The administrator username of Joomla applications can be easily changed with a simple MySQL query. The easiest way to do this is to use phpMyAdmin or similar MySQL Database modification tool.

Once you access your Joomla database, open the SQL tab where you can execute MySQL queries. In this field type the following query:

UPDATE `jos_users` SET `password` = MD5( ‘new_password’ ) WHERE `jos_users`.`username` = “admin” ;

Replace “new_password” with the new password you would like to use
Replace “admin” with your administrative username

Once you do those changes, execute the query. Now all you have to do is to login to your Joomla site at

Note: These instructions are valid both for Joomla 1.5 and Joomla 1.0.*

How to move Joomla to another directory?

Posted on Nov 25 2010

Many people develop their websites in a subfolder of their main website and when the design work is finished, they want to make the new version of the site live. If you work with Joomla, moving your application to another folder of your hosting account requires few reconfigurations. In this article we will explain to you the different steps in this process.

For example, let us presume that we have a Joomla 1.5 application installed in the public_html/newsite folder in our account and we want to move it to the public_html directory so that it will be directly accessible through

The change requires the following actions to be taken:

  • 1. Move all of the files and folders from the initial Joomla folder to the new directory. In our case from public_html/newsite to public_html
  • 2. Configure Joomla to work from the new location. You should edit the configuration.php in the application root folder and make the following changes in it:

    Change from: var $log_path = ‘/home/user/public_html/newsite/logs’;
    To: var $log_path = ‘/home/user/public_html/logs’;

    Change from: var $tmp_path = ‘/home/user/public_html/newsite/tmp’;
    To: var $tmp_path = ‘/home/user/public_html/tmp’;

    Change from: var $ftp_root = ‘/public_html/newsite’;
    To: var $ftp_root = ‘/public_html’;

    Change from: var $live_site = ‘’;
    To: var $live_site = ‘’;

  • 3. If enabled, clear your Joomla cache (public_html/cache in our case)

Now, simply clear your browser cache and reload your site. Everything should be working fine.

What is Joomla?

Posted on Nov 25 2010

Joomla! is an Open Source content management system for creating web sites. It allows you to create successful websites without having any design or script programming knowledge. In addition, Joomla! is completely free and has a great support by its big community.

With Joomla, you can make any type of website. There are thousands of templates and extensions that will allow you to build the website you want.

For more information about Joomla, you can check the official website of the project and its different sections:

Joomla! Download Page: Get Joomla!.
Joomla! Demo Site: Try Joomla!.
Technical Requirements: Get ready to install.
Joomla! Site Showcase: See great Joomla! sites.
Joomla! Extensions Directory: Find an extension.
Joomla! Resources Directory: Find Joomla! Professionals.
Joomla! Core Features (pdf) or this page: Learn what Joomla! includes.
Joomla! Forums: Get support.
About The Joomla! Project: Learn who we are and how we’re organized.

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