Accessing the current user object

From Joomla! Documentation


This is one of a series of API Guides that aim to help you understand how to use the Joomla APIs through providing detailed explanations and sample code that you can easily install and run.

This page describes the functionality associated with the Joomla User class, accessible via the User API. At the bottom of the page there is also the code of a module that you can install to demonstrate some of this functionality.

In general, the "user" represents the identity of someone who can log on to a Joomla instance, whether that be the Frontend, Backend (Administrator functionality) or both. Associated with the user is

  1. static information such as username and email address, as well as user preferences regarding language, preferred editor, etc.
  2. dynamic information such as the last logon date/time
  3. privileges data, specifying the privileges that each user has, which allow him/her to perform actions on items within the Joomla instance.

The Joomla user APIs allow you to view the user account attributes, modify those attributes, check user privileges, delete user accounts and perform user account management functions such as block an account.

Setting some of the user attributes impacts the user's ability to log on – e.g. blocking the account or changing the password. However, the User API code won't include other actions that you may need to take in conjunction with that – e.g. sending users an email to warn them that they're blocked.

Basic Operations[edit]

To get the user object for the currently logged-on user:

use Joomla\CMS\Factory;
$user = Factory::getUser();

These two lines are equivalent to the following in the old class naming convention:

$user = JFactory::getUser();

If no user is logged on then Factory::getUser() returns a "blank" user object, with the id field set to 0 (zero).

To get information about any other registered user you can call the function with a user id or username, e.g. for user with id 99;

$user = JFactory::getUser(99);

Once you have the user object, you can display information about the user. For example, this code displays the current user's name, email and user name:

echo "<p>This user's name is {$user->name}, email is {$user->email}, and username is {$user->username}</p>";

User Object Properties[edit]

Joomla stores some of the data items associated with a user in fixed fields in the users table, and other data items in a params field within the users table. This is then reflected in what data items you have available as properties of the user object, and what data items you must use the params property to access.

With regard to the admin Users functionality, generally the data items in the fixed fields are in the first tab in the admin Users / Edit form (currently named "Account Details"), and the attributes stored in the params are visible in a subsidiary tab (currently named "Basic Settings").

These are the properties automatically generated on a call to getUser(), in the order defined in the API documentation

  • id - The unique, numerical user id. (In other Joomla database tables this id is used as the foreign key to point to the associated user record).
  • name - The name of the user. (e.g. Vint Cerf)
  • username - The login/screen name of the user. (e.g. shmuffin1979)
  • email - The email address of the user. (e.g.
  • password - The encrypted version of the user's password
  • password_clear - Set to the user's password only when it is being changed. Otherwise, remains blank.
  • block - Set to '1' when the user is set to 'blocked' in Joomla (i.e. prevented from logging on)
  • sendEmail - Specifies whether this user should receive system emails or not
  • registerDate - Set to the date when the user was first registered.
  • lastvisitDate - Set to the date the user last visited the site.
  • activation - an activation token. This is used when the site allows users to self-register. To complete account setup, an email is sent to the person who has self-registered, and the link embedded in the email contains this activation token.
  • params - a json string of name/value pairs for the subsidiary user attributes (see below).
  • groups - an associative array of group id => (string) group id for the user groups that this user is a member of
  • guest - If the user is not logged in, this variable will be set to '1'. The other variables will be unset or default values.
  • lastResetTime - Set to the last time the password was reset.
  • resetCount - Counts the number of password resets.
  • requireReset - indicates that this user will be forced to reset the password the next time they log in.

The user attributes that are stored in the params field in the database, and that are available via $user->getParam() are the following.

  • admin_style – the id of the template on the Backend.
  • admin_language – the language tag of the language on the Backend
  • language – the language tag of the language on the Frontend
  • editor – the preferred editor
  • timezone – the user's selected timezone (one of the standard PHP time zones). The timezone is also available via getTimezone().

For example, to get the user's preferred Frontend language call the getParam() member function of the user object, passing in the name of the parameter you want (i.e. 'language') along with a default value in case it is blank.

use Joomla\CMS\Factory;
$user = Factory::getUser();
$language = $user->getParam('language', 'the default');

echo "<p>Your Frontend language is set to {$language}.</p>";

Determining Status[edit]

Frequently, you will just want to make sure the user is logged in before continuing. The 'guest' property will be set to '1' when the current user is not logged in. When the user is authenticated, 'guest' will be set to '0'.

$user = JFactory::getUser();

if ($user->guest) {
	echo "<p>You must login to see the content. I want your email address.</p>";
} else {
	echo "<p>You are logged in, you can see the content.</p>";

(If you've passed a userid/username to getUser() to find the user object of another user on the system, then note that guest does not indicate whether this user is "logged on" or not (in the sense of there being a current session cookie for that user); guest set to 0 is more an indication that a valid user record has been loaded.)


Not all users are given equal rights. For instance, a Super Administrator may be able to edit anyone's content, while a Publisher may only be able to edit their own. Certain articles may be confidential and may be viewed only by users who have permission to view them.

There are 4 method calls in the User API relating to privileges


The authorise() member function can be used to determine if the current user has permission to do a certain task. The first parameter is used to identify which task we wish to check being allowed. The second represents the component we wish to retrieve the ACL information from.

$user = JFactory::getUser();

if ($user->authorise('core.edit', 'com_content'))
	echo "<p>You may edit all content.</p>";
	echo "<p>You may not edit all content.</p>";

if ($user->authorise('core.edit.own', 'com_content'))
	echo "<p>You may edit your own content.</p>";
	echo "<p>You may not edit your own content.</p>";


You call getAuthorisedCategories() passing in the component and the action you want to perform, and the method returns an array of category ids on which this user can perform the action. For example:

$user->getAuthorisedCategories('com_content', 'core.delete')

returns an array of category ids of com_content categories which this user can delete.


$user->getAuthorisedGroups() returns an array of User Group ids which this user is within. You can see the User Group ids by navigating to the admin Users / Groups page.


$user->getAuthorisedViewLevels() returns an array of Viewing Access Levels ids (which you can see by navigating to the admin Users / Viewing Access Levels page). Generally components that want to restrict viewing pages assign an Access Level to each item – one of the Viewing Access Levels which you see on that admin page – and then store the id of the assigned access level against the item in a database field called Access within the item's database table. Then to check if a given user may view that item you would check if the value in the Access database field was within the array of AuthorisedViewLevels for that user.

For example, if you wanted to restrict an article called "article50" to a Viewing Access Level called Special (with an id of 3), then you would put 3 in the Access field of the Content record for article50, and a user would be allowed to view it if the array returned by getAuthorisedViewLevels() included the element 3.

Database Operations[edit]

The diagram below shows how you can use the User API to update user data. Black arrows indicate flow of control: green arrows indicate direction of data.

Note that the editing of user data is managed within the Joomla admin Users functionality (com_users component), where there are many checks performed to ensure that users can perform only operations that they are authorised to perform. For example, general users may not grant themselves additional privileges. If you use the User APIs then the vast majority of these validations are not performed, so you will likely have to build in additional validation checks yourself.

The User class uses the Joomla Table class to perform CRUD operations at the database level. Operations which change the User record will cause Plugin User Events to be raised.

User Database-related methods


Use load() to load in from the database the attributes of a user record (identified by id) from the database. The User class code will read the data from the database and (assuming it's a valid user) will store the attributes in the class properties, including the params field which stores the additional attributes. You can then access these properties directly, e.g. $user->name.

What load() does is thus similar to Factory::getUser($id), except that with load() you need to have created the User instance first with new User().


Use bind() if you have an associative array $data of property names to property values, e.g. array('name' => 'Vint Cerf', 'username' => 'shmuffin1979'). The bind() method will then update the local properties with the values passed in.

You can similarly set the values of the properties directly $user->name = 'Vint Cerf' or the params property via setParams().


Use save() to write to the database the updated properties that you have set. The save() code copies the property values into its 'table' structure and calls the Table class bind() and store() methods to write them to the database.

Inserting Records[edit]

You can similarly use the above mechanism to insert new user records, the only difference being that you don't load an existing record from the database first.

Deleting Records[edit]

To delete a user record you first load it from the database then use the delete() method:

$user = Factory::getUser($userid);

Related records in other user tables (such as in #__user_usergroup_map that holds the mapping to user groups and in #__messages which holds user-user messages) are deleted as well, and this operation triggers the events onUserBeforeDelete and onUserAfterDelete so that plugins can also delete any related user data. However, if the user has, for example, created articles or is associated with a contact record then the references to the user's id in those records will remain.

Sample Module Code[edit]

Below is the code for a simple Joomla module that you can install and run to demonstrate use of the Joomla User API functionality. If you are unsure about development and installing a Joomla module, following the tutorial at Creating a simple module will help.

In a folder mod_sample_user create the following two files:


<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<extension type="module" version="3.1" client="site" method="upgrade">
    <name>User demo</name>
    <description>Code demonstrating use of Joomla User class</description>
        <filename module="mod_sample_user">mod_sample_user.php</filename>


defined('_JEXEC') or die('Restricted Access');

use Joomla\CMS\Factory;
use Joomla\CMS\Language\LanguageHelper;

$input = Factory::getApplication()->input;

// find the user - either from username=xxx parameter or current user
if ($input->exists('username'))
	$username = $input->get('username', "", "STRING");
	echo "Getting details for {$username}<br>";
	$user = Factory::getUser($username);
	$user = Factory::getUser();
if ($user->id == 0)
	echo "Please logon or provide a valid username as URL parameter";

// output the user's email address and Frontend language
$language = $user->getParam('language', 'the default');
echo "Email address of {$user->name} is {$user->email}, Frontend language is {$language}<br>";

// Set new Frontend language of this user if userlanguage=xxx parameter set
// This will fail if you try to change the language of a Super User, and you're not logged on as a Super User
if ($new_language = $input->get('userlanguage', "", "STRING"))
	if (array_key_exists($new_language, LanguageHelper::getContentLanguages()))
		$user->setParam('language', $new_language);
		if ($user->save())
			echo "Language successfully set to {$new_language}<br>";
			echo "Setting language to {$new_language} failed<br>{$user->getError()}<br>";
		echo "Setting language to {$new_language} failed - language doesn't exist<br>";

// if we're on a single article page, then check if the user can edit the article
$option = $input->get('option', "", "cmd");
$view = $input->get('view', "", "string");
$id = $input->get('id', 0, "int");

if ($option == "com_content" && $view == "article")
	if ($user->authorise('core.edit', "com_content.article.{$id}"))
		echo "{$user->name} may edit this article<br>";
		echo "{$user->name} may not edit this article<br>";

Zip up the mod_sample_user directory to create

Within your Joomla Administrator go to Install Extensions and via the Upload Package File tab select this zip file to install this sample user module.

Make this module visible by editing it (click on it within the Modules page) then:

  1. making its status Published
  2. selecting a position on the page for it to be shown
  3. on the menu assignment tab specify the pages it should appear on

When you visit a site web page then you should see the module in your selected position. The module does the following:

  • gets the user object, and displays the user's name, email address and preferred Frontend language. You define the user to select by either logging in, or by specifying a parameter to the URL username=XXX (replacing XXX by a valid username on the system).
  • if you specify a URL parameter e.g. userlanguage=es-ES the code will set this language (Peninsular Spanish in this instance) as the preferred Frontend language of the user (provided this language is installed on the system as a Content Language).
  • if you navigate to a page which displays a single article, then the code will output whether this user may edit that article or not.

You can easily adapt the module code to experiment with some of the other API calls described above.

External Links[edit]

Joomla 3.9 API reference