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Start to manage a Joomla! 1.5 site

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Joomla 1.5 The aim of this document is to give a brief introduction to the tasks needed for the day-to-day running of a Joomla! site. It is one of a series of documents introducing Joomla! version 1.5.

Contents

Who is it written for?

Everyone: who needs to look after a Joomla! 1.5 site.

It is written on the assumption that you have used the Back-end and have some initial experience of setting up a simple Joomla! site.

What does an Administrator do?

The Administrator role is varied. It is useful to distinguish:-

  • the day-to-day activities
  • activities that involve adding to the functionality
  • activites that involve altering the appearance of a Site

Who does the work depends on the site. Day-to-day administration and development are sometimes done by the same person but often done by different people because different skills are needed. For a general site, perhaps for a club or small organisation, one person is likely to do most of the work. For a larger site, there will be specialists for many of the functions needed.

This document focusses on the day-to-day running of a relatively small site.

Cross Reference: The advanced aspects of managing and extending a site are not dealt with in this series. For links and further information on other web sites, see References.

Overview of day-to-day activities

Not everything is done every day - obviously!

Day-to-day activities where the site is not altered
day-to-day operation and maintenance of the site
managing user access
content management
Global configurations
back up
Security of the website. Administrators need to be aware of security issues
Security policies
Security of usernames and passwords

The majority of the work is done using the Back-end of the Web site but sometimes it is necessary to login to the server on which the site is hosted.

Administrator permissions:

Make sure that your username has appropriate permissions.

  • Super Administrators: Can do anything and in particular they can alter configurations and install new extensions.
  • Administrators: Can do most things, apart from installing extensions, altering site-wide configurations or the Super administrator user accounts.
  • Managers: Can login to these pages but are limited to the main menu and managing the content.

It is obvious that administrators need to be aware that they can alter content anywhere on the site and can change how the site functions, so their role is important - even if it is hidden from the Front-end.

Manage Users

You need to login to the Back-end of the Web site and make sure you can see the Control icons on the main part of the Control Panel. (For the Contol Panel - select from the menu Site/Control Panel )

Security of usernames and passwords

There should be a policy for allowing different users different levels of access to the site. This is to protect the site from accidental damage and 'hacking'. Security is clearly more significant for commercial or business sites.

Do this:-

  • Have short usernames without spaces that people can remember but are not names and do not indicate an administration role. Thus 'admin' is not a good username.
  • Make passwords strong - with numbers, lower and upper case letters.
  • Give people the permissions they need to do their tasks. If people are just adding content, do not give them any of the back-end permissions. You may want to make everyone who is going to add content at least an editor so that they can edit unpublished material. (Link to permissions doc)

Adding Front-end users

Cross Reference: for more detail about levels of permission on a Joomla! site see, Controlling user access to a Joomla! Site
  • Open the User Manager
This lists users.
  • Create a New User
Click on the New icon

The User:[new] management page allows you to enter the details. To the left you enter the name and user name, as well as selecting the Group for the user. To the right there are options for other choices, including different editors. So you can make different choices for different users. If nothing is chosen under Parameters, then the Global choices will be used.

The options available for adding a new User and selection of the right Group


Allowing Users to register themselves

There are advantages and disadvantages in allowing people to register for the site themselves. The choice here depends on the purpose of the site and how many registrations you expect.

  • It is set under Global Configuration
Open the Global Configuration Manager in the Control Screen
Choose the System Tab
The choices for User Settings under the System Tab

Set Allow User Registration to Yes if you want visitors to be able to register themselves or to No if you do not want them to self-register.

It is here too that you choose the New User Registration Type. It defaults to Registered and so people who register themselves have to be given further permissions if they are going to edit or add content - or be an administrator.

Contacts

The Contact facility allows you to add contact information, such as name, address, phone and e-mail. The important thing about this is that you can use the name of the contact to link to an email address in an article without actually showing the email address. This can add to the security of some sites. You can also link contacts to registered users.

The Contact Manager screen

The Contact Manager is selected from the menu.

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The Contact manager has the familiar options, including creating new contacts. The amount of detail that is needed will vary according to the purpose of the contacts for the particular site. There are also many options to display the information.

  • See Help for full details

Note that Contacts are sorted according to Contact Categories. These too are managed from the Components menu shown above. You do not need a lot of these unless you have a lot of contacts, but you do need to add at least one Category for your Contacts before you can add your first Contact.

Content management

Articles, Menus, Sections and Categories

You have already worked with the Manager interfaces as part of setting up a site. See Hands-on setting up a Joomla! 1.5 site The best way to become familiar with the detail is to use the facilities and rely on the on-line Help for descriptions of what choices there are.

Article Manager and Add New Article
The Article Manager is where you can add and manage all the articles for your web site. You can publish, unpublish, edit, archive and much else.
This is where you can alter the Section and Category of an Article and also delete unwanted content.
See Background: get to know the Administrator Back-end
Front Page Manager
The Front Page Manager is the place where you control which Articles are displayed on the Front Page and in what order they are displayed.
The Front Page is often the Home page of a web site, but it can be any page in the site.
The Front Page is created using a Menu Item with the Front Page layout.
Section Manager
The Section Manager is the place where you can edit existing Sections and create new ones.
Background: design the content - Sections and Categories
Category Manager
The Category Manager is where you can edit existing Categories and create new ones.
Background: design the content - Sections and Categories
Menu Manager
The Menu Manager allows you add and alter Joomla!'s menus.
You can re-position menus within the menu heirachy here too.
Background:design appearance using Menus and Modules

Media

Media Manager
The Media Manager is a tool for uploading or deleting files in the /images/ directory on your web server. You can upload new files, delete existing ones and create sub-directories on the server hosting your web pages.

Many images are added to Articles without using Media Manager, see Hands-on adding a picture

  • Open Media Manager
Click on the icon

screen of media manager

Thumbnail viw / Detail view

The workspace on the screen shows a list of items and by default it shows the contents of the /images directory withoin your installation of Joomla!

screen of files and folders - shown to the right of the workspace screen.

  • Click on the name of a folder to show the contents
  • Click on a thumbnail to display the image

Uploading files with Media Manager

not sure whether to have this here - maybe just indicate it can be done

Global Configuration

Global Configuration (you need Super-Administrator permissions)
The Global Configuration Manager allows you to configure the Joomla! site with various settings.
  • Open Global Configuration

the screen

Do one thing maybe

Backups

The frequency of backups depends on how often the site changes and how inconvenient it will be to lose any content. The detail depends on how your site is hosted. Ideally you have an automated system that does not depend on one individual pressing the right button. If your site is hosted on a shared server, the chances are that the servers are backed-up reliably but - it is worth checking.

LocalHost sample data


Files under C:\xampp\htdocs\joomla15 to be copied for backup.

A hosting service

Hosting services normally have a management interface which includes a back-up facility. The backups are normally done by copying all the files relevant to Joomla! and other files in a Home directory. For example, this shows choices for c-Panel, a widely used interface.

Backup choices under the File options for cPanel

The Backup Wizard allows partial backups as well as a full backup, and also copies files off the server.

In order to backup the site, you must also back up the database. For example, the database management choices for cPanel allow you to use phpMyAdmin interface for this.

Use phpMyAdmin for a database backup

Other possibilities for backups

There are some extensions written for Joomla! which manage backups from the Administrator pages. This is one example:-

Akeeba Backup is an open-source backup component for the Joomla! CMS. Its mission is simple: to create a site backup that can be restored on any Joomla!-capable server. Its possibilities: endless. It creates a full backup of your site in a single archive. The archive contains all the files, a database snapshot and an installer similar in function to the standard Joomla! installer.

Combined with Kickstart, sites can be transferred easily.

Security issues

There are a number of levels of security and a need for a bit of common sense in having policies appropriate to the purpose of the web site.

There are wise words here that do not need to be repeated:-

http://docs.joomla.org/Security_Checklist_1_-_Getting_Started

Further information

  • Help on-line:
GSiconHelp.png Help on all the Management pages has a link to the Joomla! documentation web site. In each Manager section Help gives comprehensive information about what all the features do.


On-line administrator's manual

Managing content

Security

Backups

How to back up using cPanel

Other backup tools

Index to other documents in this series

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--Lorna Scammell January 2011