Installing Joomla on Debian Linux

From Joomla! Documentation

Revision as of 22:31, 14 July 2011 by Topazgb (Talk | contribs)


This document guides you through the manual installation of Joomla! on Debian GNU Linux or one of its derivatives such as Ubuntu, Knoppix or GRML. Note that this guide applies to Joomla! Joomla 1.5 & Joomla 1.6. It has been successfully tested on Debian 4.0 [Etch], Debian 5.0 [Lenny], Ubuntu 8.04 LTS [Hardy Heron] and Ubuntu 10.10 [maverick]. It will work for all Debian based Linux distribution as well.

Also note that this guide assumes, you're installing Joomla! in a single hosting environment, running PHP as module. If you want to run multiple web sites as a web hosting service provider, for security reasons you should consider setting up an suPHP (php5-cgi, libapache2-mod-suphp) environment, where every virtual apache host runs under its own UID.

Installing Joomla!


You will need to install apache2, mysql-server-5.0, mysql-client-5.0 and php5 in order to have a web-server for Joomla!.

XAMPP or LaMp?

XAMPP automatically configures Ownership LaMp requires use of the CHOWN command.


Download XAMPP for Linux to your your Home folder.

Install XAMPP

Open Terminal and enter:

sudo tar xvfz xampp-linux-1.7.4.tar.gz -C /opt

(replace xampp-linux-1.7.4.tar.gz with the version of XAMPP you downloaded). It has been reported that the MYSQL database of xampp 1.7.4 does not work with Joomla 1.5.22

This installs ... Apache2, mysql and php5 as well as an ftp server.

sudo /opt/lampp/lampp start


sudo /opt/lampp/lampp stop

starts/stops all the services

Test your XAMPP localhost server

Open your Browser and point it to


The index.php will redirect to


There you will find instructions on how to change default usernames/passwords. On a PC that does not server files to the Internet or LAN then changing the defaults is personal choice.

Get Joomla

Download the latest Joomla instalation zip [1]

Unzip to your hard drive

Connect to localhost with an FTP client Default


Create a folder for your Joomla on the localhost server

FTP the unpacked Joomla installation files to the newly created Joomla folder.


  • The XAMPP installation sets the correct Ownership of the files and permissions.
  • Using the CHOWN command will cause Ownership problems with xampp.
  • Using nautilus to manipulate folders/files on localhost will cause Ownership problems with xampp.

Configure Joomla

In your Browser type


In the first Joomla installation screen if error reporting is shown as on then:

In your Terminal type

sudo gedit /opt/lampp/etc/php.ini

In the php.ini file, locate

error_reporting =

And change the value to

error_reporting = E_ALL & ~E_NOTICE & ~E_DEPRECATED

Also locate

display_errors = On

And change the value to

display_errors = Off

Stop then restart xampp for the new settings to take effect

FTP layer is NOT needed

Database info

Host: localhost

Database name: test

(Xampp will automatically create a database of the name you specify).

Default Database user: root

There is no Password for Database user: root.

Administrator password is your choice.

Installing Sample Data is recommended for the novice user.

After installation delete the installation directory and point your Browser to:




Create a link in the Ubuntu menu

To create a GUI for XAMPP connected to your Ubuntu menu

Open up the Terminal and type

sudo gedit /usr/share/applications/xampp-control-panel.desktop

Then copy the following into the gedit and save.

[Desktop Entry]
Name=XAMPP Control Panel
Comment=Start and Stop XAMPP
Exec=gksudo "python /opt/lampp/share/xampp-control-panel/"


You will find instructions on Make sure that you have installed bzip2 for extracting the downloaded Joomla! package.

You can check this by the following command:

$ dpkg -l  | awk '/^ii bzip2/ {print $1" "$2}'
ii bzip2

Note that the dollar sign '$' shell prompt is indicating you're a regular user. We will later see a hash mark (#) shell prompt, which indicates that you're the super user root after issuing an su or sudo. The first policy for a secure linux system administration on the command line (but under X also) is to issue commands with the lowest permission as possible.

If bzip2 is not installed, you won't get an output. Then you can quickly install it via aptitude:

$ su -c "aptitude install bzip2"

Here we see the first command executed with toot permissions, because a regular user is not allowed to install new software. The '-c' option passes the following command to su and hereafter it terminates instead of switching to a root shell.

Configure MySQL

It is time to create a database for Joomla! You can do this by the following commmands:

$ mysqladmin -u root -p create joomla

You may replace joomla with the name of choice for Joomla!'s database.

Now create a MySQL user different from root for Joomla!'s database

$ mysql -u root -p
    -> ON joomla.* TO 'yourusername'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'yourpassword';

Make sure you replace joomla with the name of Joomla!'s database from above. Replace yourusername with the user name you choose for the MySQL user accessing Joomla!'s database, and replace yourpassword with your password of choice for the MySQL user.

Activate the settings and quit :

mysql> \q

After disconnecting from the database server, you should remove the login information of your just new created MySQL user by editing MySQL's history file.

$ vi ~/.mysql_history

You can use any editor of your choice such as nano, vi or emacs that is installed on your system.

Get Joomla! source

Now it is time to download the Joomla! sources. Currently you will find download links on the download page. For version 1.5.11, you may do the following from command line, assuming your current working directory is your home folder /home/user:

$ wget
$ cd /var/www
$ su
# mkdir -m 0755 joomla
# cd joomla
# tar -xvjf /home/user/Joomla_1.5.11-Stable-Full_Package.tar.bz2

Here is the first time we see this hash mark (#) shell prompt. We call su without any options, because we want to issue root commands more than only one time. Calling su that way will prompt us for the super user's password and then change the actual shell environment, repectively $UID and $EUID.

Set ownerships and permissions

If you want to allow writing in the entire joomla folder, simply do

# chown -R www-data:www-data /var/www/joomla

If you want a more restrictive approach, do this instead:

# chown -R root:root /var/www/joomla
# cd /var/www/joomla
# administrator/backups
# administrator/components
# administrator/modules
# administrator/templates
# cache
# components
# images
# images/banners
# images/stories
# language
# mambots
# mambots/content
# mambots/editors
# mambots/editors-xtd
# mambots/search
# media
# modules
# templates
# '
# for i in $PLACES; do chown -R www-data:www-data $i; done

Now set file and directory permissions:

# find /var/www/joomla -type f -exec chmod 0644 {} \;
# find /var/www/joomla -type d -exec chmod 0755 {} \;

Configure Joomla!

Open your favourite web-browser, and point it to the page http://localhost/joomla. Replace localhost with your servers IP or domain name if it you are installing on a remote system.

You will be guided through the final steps of setting up Joomla!, have your MySQL user, password and database name available.

When you reach the final screen with congratulations on installing Joomla!, you should remove the installation directory. From root terminal:

# rm -rf /var/www/joomla/installation/
# exit

And that's it! Now you can login into the admin interface of your fresh installed Joomla! 1.5.9.