Start to manage a Joomla! site

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General Information

Most content is of relevant to both versions. Originally written for Joomla! version Joomla 1.5. In process of being updated:

  • screen shots showing version Joomla 2.5
  • with commentary appropriate for versions  Joomla 2.5

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.

Who is it written for?[edit]

Everyone: who needs to look after a Joomla! 2.5 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?[edit]

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[edit]

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:[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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.

Adding Front-end users[edit]

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[edit]

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 are not the same as users. They are a listing of people that it might be useful to keep in the web site. 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 facility allows you to add and maintain contact information, such as name, address, phone and e-mail.

The Contact Manager is selected from the menu.


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[edit]

Articles, Menus, Sections and Categories[edit]

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 Manager for pictures and other files[edit]

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
Part of the screen of the Media Manager. The Upload button is at the bottom of the screen.

The Manager allows you to view the files as icons (Thumbnail view as shown in the screen shot) or as a details list called Detail view. You toggle from one to the other as needed.

The workspace on the screen shows a list of items and shows the contents of the /images directory within your installation of Joomla! The files and folders are also listed to the laft of the 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

The Media manager can be used to upload image and other file types to the Image folders on the web server.

Browse for the file
click the Start Upload button.

Note that the maximun file size limit can be altered in Global Configuration.

Global Configuration[edit]

Global configuration sounds rather grand and in some senses it is because it is here that you will find all the settings to configure the Site, connect to the database and configure connections to the server. The details are set when the Joomla! site is installed and thus they are best left alone! But there are a couple of things that you might want to alter. For example, you can set an editor as the default under the Site options.

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

This shows the System Settings: there are also choices for the Site and for the Server. A few of these can usefully be changed to allow the site to be set up as you want it. Alter the Server settings at your peril!

An example of the System settings. These are the defaults that ship with Joomla!

An example - the settings for Media

This shows that a large number of file types are allowed. These can be removed or added to - depending on the site.

You can also alter the maximum file size for uploading files here.

Read the Warning message if you want to alter the location of the image files.


For full details - see the Help under Global Configuration Manager. It tells you what everything does, not why you might want to do it.


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[edit]

Files under C:\xampp\htdocs\joomla16 to be copied for backup.

A hosting service[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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:-

Further information[edit]

  • 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



How to back up using cPanel

Other backup tools

--Lorna Scammell March 2011