Getting Started with Joomla!

From Joomla! Documentation

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This series of documents introduces Joomla! to people who have not previously used it. This introduction should help you make the best use of the series.


Which Version is Covered?[edit]

Version J3.10 (the current version in the 3.x series).

Who Is It Written For?[edit]

The series is for anyone who wants to use Joomla! Its main focus is:

  • Users with limited computing experience
  • Users who are using Joomla! for a small website. (e.g. club, association, church or small business)

Understanding Joomla![edit]

If you're having trouble visualizing how Joomla! works, think of Joomla! as an operating system (OS), like Microsoft Windows, Apple Mac OS or Linux.

The most important similarity is that both your OS and Joomla! are not really intended for direct use. You need to install applications onto your OS (and extensions for Joomla!) to be able to do something useful with your computer (and your website). Just like your OS, Joomla! comes with a few core extensions that carry out the most important tasks.

Further similarities and differences can be found in the following table.

Comparison Table[edit]

Joomla! concept Operating System concept
Extension Added Application (e.g. Word, Chrome, Music Player, Photoshop)
Core extensions Built-in applications (e.g. Start button, Screen Saver, File Search)
Database File system (one type of Files)
File system File system (another type of Files)
Viewing a page Using an application (Added or Built-in)
Updating Joomla! Installing updates for your OS (Security patches and bug fixes)
Migrating between Joomla! versions Installing a new version of your OS
(e.g. moving from MS Windows 7 to MS Windows 10)

What You Will Need[edit]

An Installed Copy of Joomla![edit]

For some parts of these tutorials you must have the use of a Joomla! website. You can follow along just reading the material, but there is no better way of learning than doing. Here are the options available:

  • Install a copy of Joomla! (with Sample Data) on your own computer. This is sometimes referred to as a 'localhost' installation. Installing with Sample Data enables you to to explore a Joomla! site before you have created one for your own content. This is a good option for beginners.
  • Install a copy of Joomla! (with Sample Data) on a Hosting server. This is sometimes referred to as a 'remote host' installation. Installing with Sample Data enables you to to explore a Joomla! site before you have created one for your own content. This is a good option for beginners.
  • Use an existing Joomla! website. If you are going to be adding content to an existing site and do not have much computing experience this is a not a good option.


  • Use a Demo Installation. Many hosts or script installer sites offer 'demo' versions of a Joomla! installation. You will at least be able to make changes, but they will not be permanent. 'Demo installations' are reset to a 'fresh' installation state at regular intervals.
  • One-click Installation. Many hosts offer a one-click installation of popular website programs.

Getting Started[edit]

What to Expect[edit]

Joomla! is introduced using detailed 'hands-on' instructions about adding, altering and manipulating content. At the same time, general points about Joomla! are made that are intended to help people to learn and do more. As the tasks require more background knowledge, there are fewer hands-on instructions and more general pointers to the extensive documentation available for Joomla!


The series is divided into multiple parts as indicated by the browsing menu found at the top of this page. You should move from topic to topic in a left to right progression. Each topic will build upon the previous one. Alternatively, you can go right to the part containing the information sought.


As you move from one Tutorial topic to the next, you can always refer to the glossary if you forget the meaning of common terms.


These topics should be considered the key building blocks of a Joomla! website. They will give you a foundation upon which to build your Joomla! website and knowledge upon.


Articles are the core content of any Joomla!-powered website. Everyone needs to know the basics of how to edit and create them. This tutorial will help you to understand the inner workings of Joomla! articles and their integration into a web page.


Every part of Joomla! powered website or any CMS type of website needs a method to display and store its content logically. The usual method is by categories and subcategories. Joomla! allows for multiple ways to display and use content controlled by categorisation. This part of the Tutorial will introduce you to the uses of Joomla! categories.


Every website has some type of navigation system or menu. They vary in style from website to website, but they all perform the same function. The menu tutorial will explain how menus control content.


As you have already learned, Extensions and Core Extensions are like a Computer Application (e.g. Word, Excel, Photoshop, Screensaver, File search). Modules are lightweight Joomla! extensions. A module's display is controlled by the Template and 'Menu' Core Extension. They are used as an integration point for Extensions (Applications) along with Articles (Content) into the page views of a Joomla! website.


Templates control how a Joomla!-powered website appears for users. A template provides a method of integration between content (Articles) and Applications (Modules) in a specific, controlled view. Templates are how a Joomla!-powered website is presented.


After you complete all Tutorial Topics, you will be able to create a simple website.

Summing It All Up[edit]

  • Templates control the look of a Joomla! website.
  • Categories create a organisational hierarchy to control website content.
  • Articles are the main type of website content.
  • Menus provide a navigational method to use or browse the website content (pages).
  • Modules provide a means to combine website content (Articles) with extensions (Applications), regardless of whether they are core or add-on (installed, not core) extensions.