Joomla User Manual

Manual Index

Debian Installation


Note: This article needs updating to the latest Joomla, PHP and MySQL Versions.

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 2.5 Joomla 3.5 Joomla 3.6 Joomla 4.x. It has been successfully tested on Debian 4.0 [Etch], Debian 5.0 [Lenny], Ubuntu 8.04 LTS [Hardy Heron], Ubuntu 10.10 [maverick] and Ubuntu 11.10 (Oneiric Ocelot). It will work for all Debian-based Linux distributions 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 websites 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!.

Which Stack Should I Choose?

  • XAMPP automatically configures ownership.
  • LaMp requires use of the chown command.
  • BitNami Joomla! Stack is free, self-contained and automatically configures the LAMP stack and Joomla!


Download XAMPP for Linux to your your Home folder.

Install XAMPP

Open Terminal and enter:

sudo tar xvfz xampp-linux-1.8.3.tar.gz -C /opt

(Replace xampp-linux-1.8.3.tar.gz with the version of XAMPP you downloaded).

This installs Apache2, MySQL and PHP 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 and passwords. On a PC that does not serve files to the Internet or LAN, changing the defaults is a personal choice.

Multiple Versions of XAMPP

It can be useful to have access to several versions of XAMPP on your PC. (To have available different versions of PHP for testing.) XAMPP doesn't make this easy but it is possible - see "how to" article. (For Linux only.)

Get Joomla

  • Download the latest Joomla installation zip

  • Unzip to your hard drive

  • Connect to localhost with XAMPP's FTP client Default

    nobody lampp

  • Use FTP to 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/"

N.B. Ubuntu 11.10 needs python-glade2 installed in order to run the GUI. python-glade2 can be found in the Ubuntu Software Center.


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

You can check this by the following command:

$ dpkg -l | grep 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 root 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 PHP5

In the pre -install check (you get to that when the install is complete and are setting up Joomla at the web page), Output Buffering was On and it's recommended that it should be Off. To do so: edit /etc/php5/apache2/php.ini , comment out this line: output_buffering = 4096 , by putting a ';' in front. it'll look like this when done:

;output_buffering = 4096

There were also warnings on the install screen regarding suhosin. To make the suggested changes, edit this file:


I set these: = 256 = 8192 = 2048
suhosin.request.max_array_index_length = 256
suhosin.request.max_totalname_length = 8192
suhosin.request.max_vars = 2048

Configure MySQL

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

mysqladmin -u root -p create joomla

Replace joomla with the name of choice for Joomla!'s database.

Now create a MySQL user different from root for Joomla!'s database. First enter into MySQL system with:

mysql -u root -p

Then at the mysql> prompt, enter the following. 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.

LOCK TABLES ON joomla.* TO 'yourusername'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'yourpassword';

Activate the settings and quit : [ there will be a mysql> prompt:


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 Joomla Downloads site. 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

for 1.7 use this wget line:


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, respectively $UID and $EUID.

Set Ownership 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
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 web browser, and point it to 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!, remove the installation directory. From root terminal:

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

And that's it! Now you can log into the Administrator interface of your fresh installed Joomla!.

BitNami Joomla! Stack

What is a BitNami Joomla! Stack?

A BitNami Joomla! Stack is an all-in-one installer that makes it easy to install Joomla on your computer. It is free, easy to use and self-contained. That means it bundles and automatically configures every piece of software (dependency) necessary to run Joomla for development or production purposes, including Apache, MySQL and PHP. You can download the latest version of BitNami Joomla! stack for Windows, Linux and Mac.

Installing Joomla! Stack

Regardless of which operating system you are running (Windows/Linux/Mac), the install process is the same.

Find the installer you just downloaded. The filename will be similar to Double click on the icon to launch the installer.

Note: If you are using Linux you will have to give executable permissions to the file first, using this command:
chmod +x /path/to/

Setup Bitnami Joomla

Click Forward.

Bitnami Joomla select components

Select the components you want to install. If you are not sure, leave the default components checked. Click Forward when you are done.

Bitnami Joomla installation folder

Now it will ask where you want to install the program. Provide the location where you want to install the BitNami Joomla! stack and click Forward when you are done.

Bitname Joomla create admin account

The user and password you provide here will be used to create the Administrator account in Joomla! Click Forward when done.

Bitnami Joomla site name

Type in the name you want to use for your Joomla site, and click Forward.

Bitnami Joomla Ready to install

The installer is now ready to begin the installation process. Click Forward.

Bitnami Joomla Copying files

Wait a minute while the installer copies the files and configures your Joomla! installation.

Bitnami Joomla final screen

Joomla! is now set up and ready to be used. Click Finish to launch the application.

Joomla application screen

You can now log in using the username and password you provided during the installation.