Joomla User Manual

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Security - Before you go live

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 does not provide instructions. It is only a list for you to check off each item as you perform the tasks. This list might generate questions. Please post to the Security forum

During Installation

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 three characters. b37qm2_ is a valid name.
  • Don't forget the underscore "_". This makes it much easier to read your table entries.

Joomla Backend

  • It does not matter if your host does backups. Do it yourself and store copies at a location other than the server.
  • Backup up often! You would be amazed at how many sites never perform regular backups.

Note The Akeeba Backup extension is highly recommended for backups. You will find alternatives under the Joomla Extension Directory Backup Category.


  1. Ask your hosting company 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 default this to ON.
  4. expose_php = 0 (off)
  5. safe_mode = 0 (off)
  6. 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. Use 755 for directories and 644 for files. 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 user 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 (such as 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 (such as 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 Configuration 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