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How to set up Joomla

Joomla is one of the most popular and feature-rich content management systems (CMS) out there, second only to WordPress.

A figure from Netcraft estimates that 2.8% of the world’s websites are powered by Joomla. That figure roughly translates to about 28 Million websites – a pretty impressive number!

Joomla is a full-fledged CMS that lets you build all kind of websites – from portals to eCommerce stores and portfolio sites. If you need convincing of its flexibility, then we can tell you that the following companies are just some of many big names who use Joomla to run their sites:

Harvard University; The Guggenheim Museum; MTV, and London’s Heathrow Airport.

There are quite a number of good reasons why Joomla is so popular: It has a vast community of users and developers so answers to even the most obscure queries are usually easy to find. Joomla also has an enormous library of extensions and plugins to enhance functionality. When it comes to the appearance of your site, you will find literally thousands of both free and paid themes out there. The hardest part will be deciding which one to use.

It is probably fair to say that Joomla has a steeper learning curve than WordPress. There are some key concepts to get your head around before you can make the best of the system.

Building an entire Joomla site is beyond the scope of a single article, so in this guide we take you through the important first steps of getting a basic Joomla installation running on your domain and Web space.

Getting started

There are two ways to install Joomla on your Web space: a manual install, or an automated install. We are going to tell you how to perform an automated install via cPanel.

You will need your own domain and Web hosting account upon which to install Joomla. If you don’t have your domain yet, check out our step by step guide to obtaining domain and hosting services from HostGator. The link will open in a new tab so that you can come back to this guide easily later.

For the purposes of this tutorial, we are working on the assumption that you are using HostGator for hosting services. If you are not, don’t worry. HostGator uses cPanel, which is the most popular Web hosting control panel in the world. Many other Web hosting services use it too, so there is every chance that you’ll still be able to follow this guide.

Let’s begin


1. Login to your cPanel account using the login credentials provided by your hosting company. HostGator and most other hosting firms send this information to your email account when you sign up.

Main panel

Even though the wealth of cPanel options can seem initially daunting to novices, it is actually very easy to use. Stay tuned on Make a Website for a comprehensive tutorial on cPanel that will follow soon.

2. Locate the “Software/Services” group of icons on the right. You will have to scroll down a fair way to find it.

3. Look for QuickInstall and Fantastico De Luxe, both of which are excellent automated installers for Web applications. Joomla is available via both installers (at HostGator at least), but we are going to use QuickInstall for the purposes of this tutorial. When we completed this article, QuickInstall offered a more up to date version of Joomla.

If your host only offers Fantastico, the process is practically the same, so you should still be OK to follow this tutorial.


4. Click the “QuickInstall” icon, and then locate Joomla – you will find it in the “CMS Software” section on the left. Select it, and then click “continue.”

QuickInstall - Joomla Main

5. If you have set up your domain properly, you will see it in the drop down list. The blank field afterwards lets you specify a subdirectory in which to install Joomla (i.e. www.yourdomain.com/joomla).

We will assume for the purposes of this guide that you want to place your Joomla site in the root directory, so it appears as soon as people visit your Web address. For this reason, we will leave this field blank. It’s unlikely you would want to use an alternative configuration for a Joomla website.

QuickInstall - Install Joomla2

6. Leave the “Enable Auto Upgrades” box checked, and then fill in the rest of the information, ensuring you use a valid email address. Once you are done, click “Install Now.”

7. The Joomla install will probably take several minutes. When the installation is complete, you will be given a login URL to administer your Joomla site, along with confirmation of your admin username and password. You should keep a note of these. You should also receive an email containing the details.

QuickInstall - Install Joomla 3

If you’ve installed Joomla very shortly after arranging your registration and hosting, and receive a “page not found” error when you try to access the site, don’t be alarmed. Your domain registration needs time to propagate across all the global DNS servers. The process can take anything from few hours to 48 hours. If you want to learn more about this, click on this link.

8. Once access is available, a login screen will welcome you when you visit the admin URL. There, just key in your admin username and password and you can start building and managing your Joomla website.

As mentioned above, we won’t be touching on configuring and creating a website using Joomla here, since it is beyond the scope of this article. But we will be doing a tutorial on it soon. Stay tuned!

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Author Picture Written by Pete Zaborszky
Pete runs Make a website and wants to get detailed information to the readers. He is dedicated to being the best and providing the highest quality at anything he does. You can also find him on Twitter or Google+