Joomla User Manual

Manual Index

Hosting Setup


This page provides some guidance for anyone completely new to hosting technology. You can set up a website on your own laptop or desktop computer. This is known as local hosting and is a good way to experiment with new features and is completely free. To make your website content available to the rest of the world you will need an account on a hosting service and for that you will have to pay.

Supporting Software

Joomla! is an application that depends on three items of supporting software: the PHP scripting language, a database (one of MySQL, MariaDB or PostgreSQL) and a web server (one of Apache, Nginx, Microsoft IIS, or ...). The minimum version numbers are indicated in the following tables:

Requirements for Joomla! 5.x

Software Recommended Minimum
PHP 8.3 8.1.0
MySQL 8.1 8.0.13
MariaDB 11.1.0 10.4.0
PostgreSQL 16.0 12.0
Web Servers
Apache 2.4 2.4
Nginx 1.25 1.21
Microsoft IIS 10 10

Requirements for Joomla! 4.x

Software Recommended Minimum
PHP 8.2 7.2.5
MySQL 8.0 5.6
PostgreSQL 11.0 11.0
Web Servers
Apache 2.4 2.4
Nginx 1.18 1.10
Microsoft IIS 10 8

Hosting Services

Commercial hosting services provide everything you need to support a website. Some also provide one-click installation of popular applications such as Content Management Systems, Bulletin Boards, Wikis and so on. But please note: Joomla Forum gurus do not recommend using one-click installation of Joomla.

Each hosting service offers different plans at different price levels. The more you pay the more disk space and bandwidth you get, along with more email addresses, databases and so on. Some also provide a free domain name. Mostly, you have to pay for a domain name and a small annual registration fee.

Free Hosting

There is no such thing as free hosting! However, a Joomla partner hosting service offers a free Joomla website in the domain. This gives you the opportunity to try out your own fully functional Joomla website completely free of charge. It is similar to a shared hosting plan but with restrictions and frequent pleas to upgrade to a paid plan. And the free plan needs to be renewed every 30 days or it will be terminated. The following article shows the steps required to set up a free Joomla site.

If you find you like Joomla you are can update to a paid plan or look elsewhere for a hosting service suited to your needs and budget.

Shared Hosting

You can obtain a minimal hosting plan for about £/$/e50 per year. This plan level is often referred to as shared hosting and is suitable for anything not involving sensitive data. Businesses should seek specialist advice on suitable hosting plans. Choosing a hosting service is not without problems. The cheapest may have unduly restrictive php.ini settings that do not appear in their advertising. Some may have a poor reputation for support.

If you opt for a shared hosting plan check the following:

  • Support for PHP applications such as Joomla, WordPress and Mediawiki.
  • Disk space: 500Mb is an absolute minimum. 1Gb or more would be better if you plan on using lots of images.
  • Number of Databases: Joomla uses one but you will soon find you need 5 or 10 or more. Some plans offer an unlimited number within the total disk space allocation.
  • Database size: with Smart Search the database can grow very quickly. If shared hosting has a restriction on the size of the database, it will be important to find out what this is. It can lead to a site not working.
  • Number of email addresses: plenty!
  • Number of HTTP and DB connections to the server, which some shared hosts limit
  • Backups: how are these done, and is there a Terms of Service (TOS) document stating who is responsible for backups.

Also check the control panel and platform offered. Judging from Forum posts, most use cPanel on Linux. The hosting service should provide all of the basic website support software:

  • Apache web server 2.4+ - directory indexes should be disabled. Also supported:
    • Nginx 1.18+ (fewer users so less Forum support)
    • Microsoft IIS[6] (fewer users so less Forum support)
  • MySQLi database 5.6+ or MariaDB clone with InnoDB support. Also supported:
    • PostgreSQL 11.0+ (fewer users so less Forum support).
  • PHP 8+ is recommended, the minimum is 7.2.5.
  • phpMyAdmin database management tool.

Before buying, check the following minimal PHP requirements for Joomla:

  • memory_limit - Minimum: 256M
  • upload_max_filesize - Minimum: 64M
  • post_max_size - Minimum: 64M
  • max_execution_time - Recommended: 30
  • allow_url_fopen - true

Many of these parameters may be set by the user in cPanel. Ask if that is possible.

If you have purchased a domain name your hosting service will configure it for you. They should also provide you with an IP address to use until your domain registration propagates to Domain Name Servers (DNS), usually a few hours.

The following article shows what to expect if you purchase a hosting plan that includes a cPanel user interface.

VPS Hosting

A Virtual Private Server (VPS) hosting plan provides full access to a server that is sharing hardware. It behaves like a dedicated computer. You can stop and start the server, reboot it and install your own software exactly like you would on a desktop computer. You can create accounts for individual users just like in shared hosting. Typically, you can allow some features that are not normally allowed in shared hosting accounts.

Dedicated and Cloud hosting plans are similar in principle but offer either dedicated resources or resources tailored to your needs.

These advanced plans are not covered here.

Local Hosting

Most individuals who develop websites keep local copies on a laptop or desktop computer to test updates or new extensions or to try out new designs. Setting up a local development site does require some technical knowledge but it is fairly easy to follow simple instructions.

The following articles describe how to set up local hosting on different types of desktop or laptop computers: