Security - Before you go live

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Security FAQ - before you go live

This security list has been compiled from several sources, some of these sources are linked at the bottom of this article, as such you may find duplicate suggestions. DON'T skip anything because of this!

This list for the main part does not provide instructions it is only a list for you to check off each item as you perform the tasks.

  • I Know this list will generate MANY questions, so please post to the Security forum

During Install

  1. Change database tables prefix from "jos_" to anything else.
  • When changing this do not use any "reserved" prefixes such as bak_
    • You may use numbers and letters and YES you may use more than 3 characters, so b37qm2_ is a valid name.
    • Don't forget the underscore "_" as this makes it MUCH easier to read your table entries.

Joomla Backend

  1. It does not matter if your host does backups. Do it yourself too, and store them anywhere else other than the server.
  2. Backup up often! You would be amazed at how many sites NEVER perform regular backups.
  3. Did I mention to BACKUP your site?

Note: The extension Akeeba is highly recommended for backups.


  1. Ask your server if they offer PHPsuExec, php_suexec or suPHP
  2. Use php.ini files if your server allows. With this you can disable functions that are not needed or dangerous
  3. Register_Globals = 0 (off) Many servers deafult this to ON.
  4. allow_url_fopen = 0 (off)
  5. expose_php = 0 (off)
  6. safe_mode = 0 (off)
  7. Use open_basedir , it limits which files/folders can be opened.


  1. Move configuration.php outside of your public directory.
  2. On file permissions, in general never use 777 if you don't know what you are doing (755 for directories and 644 for files is sensible for most). See FAQ: Verifying permissions


  1. Change username "admin" to anything else in Joomla, PhpBB, and anywhere else it used.
  2. Instead of renaming, you can also create a second super administrator account and remove the first. This way, the user id will be different.
  3. Change username or add password to username "root" in PhpMyAdmin. Default is NO password! This is not usually an issue on remote servers however if you have a local server it may be.
  4. Remove unused templates, extensions and unneeded files from your site. This includes compressed archives.
  5. Check Vulnerable Extensions List (VEL)
  6. Check regularly for updates for Joomla, PHP, SQL and EVERY extension you use.
  7. Avoid encrypted code in extensions.
  8. Use some form of intrusion detection either through a cron job or an extension (like Eyesite).
  9. Check your log files OFTEN for unusual activity.
  10. Test your site for weaknesses or hire someone to perform this for you. Make sure you tell your host first what you are doing or you may get your site removed from the server!!!
  11. Use .htaccess to add extra protection to your administrator directory or use an extension (like kSecure)
  12. Get an SSL certificate for financial transactions and other sensitive data exchange.
  13. Change the paths (directories) where your log, temp (tmp) files are stored. Don't just move them, you have to change the setting in Global Config as well. You also have to ensure your new paths fall under the scope of open_basedir
  14. Don't save FTP user and password in your FTP tool of choice on your workstation (especially if you are on Windows).
  15. If you don't need them, don't enter the FTP user/password or remove them.

NOTE: If your administrator password is changed by hackers (or you forget it) follow this procedure to restore it: How do you recover your admin password?

Additional reading

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