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Joomla tutorial: learn fast and create a website

January 17, 2023 / Published in:  from Ivan Messina
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Thanks to this Joomla tutorial, we will learn how to create a site with this CMS. We’ll start with the different types of installations and initial site configurations.

We will then see how to use Joomla to manage every aspect of the site: create pages, categories, and menus, manage media and add new users. We will also learn how to install new extensions and templates and manage already installed components.

If you’re reading this article, you already know what Joomla is, so let’s start right away with installation.

Joomla Tutorial

Joomla tutorial: installation

The first thing to do to start using Joomla is to start with the installation. There are several methods to install the CMS.

First you have to choose whether:

  • install Joomla locally on your computer;
  • choose a hosting service.

In the second case, depending on the service you choose, you can have the CMS already installed and ready to use.

Tip: with our Joomla hosting you have the domain always included even with renewal, fixed prices and automatic backups. You can activate a 14-day free trial right away.

The other ways are to proceed with the installation manually or with an auto-installer.

We have gone through all the methods just mentioned in the guide on how to install Joomla again here on our blog.

When the time comes to upgrade to the new version, you can follow all the steps in the Joomla upgrade guide.

Joomla Manual: Login to the back end

In this step-by-step guide to Joomla, I’ll show you how to use the CMS in practice. We will use as reference the latest version of Joomla available at the time of writing this guide: Joomla 4.2.4.

After completing the Joomla installation, we are ready to access the administration area of ​​the site, also called the back end.

At the end of the installation, we will be shown the address to access the administration area. Anyway, to login to the backend just go to:

https://sitename.com/administrator/

Just replace the “sitename.com” with the domain you chose during the installation operations.

You will find yourself in front of a page like this and you just need to enter your access data to proceed.

Joomla Tutorial Login And Admin Access

Change general settings and language of Joomla

One of the first things I want to show you in this Joomla guide is how to change the basic site settings.

Typically these basic configurations are set up during installation, but you may need to make changes.

After logging into the backend, you can click on Global Configuration from the “System” section of the dashboard, as you see here:

Joomla Tutorial Global Configuration

The global configurations take you to the “Site” tab, which I show you here:

Joomla Site Global Configuration

Here are some of the actions you can do from the “Site” section:

  • change the site name;
  • activate maintenance mode (Site offline);
  • change the default editor (default is TinyMCE);
  • add site meta description;
  • change the URL structure settings (the SEO friendly URLs are already active by default).

For URL structure and other tips, you can refer to our guide on how to optimize Joomla SEO.

Through the “Server” tab you can access the server settings. From here you can turn on gzip compression or change your timezone settings.

Joomla Tutorial Enable Gzip Compression

From the “Permissions” tab we can view the settings for user groups. If you don’t know how to change them, it is advisable to leave the default settings.

Changing the language of the site

If you want to change the language of your Joomla installation, just open the System section and then click on “Languages” from the Manage column, like this:

Joomla Tutorial Edit Languages Settings

From this area we can see the complete list of languages ​​installed on the site and add a new language by clicking on the Install Languages ​​button above.

Joomla Tutorial Install A New Language

Now we just have to look for the language to install and click on the Install button:

Joomla Install Language Example

By doing so we will have installed a new language pack. Let’s go back to the previous System > Manage section. In the list we see a star in the Default column corresponding to the default language of our Joomla site.

From here we can set a new language as default. Here is an example where we have set Italian as the default Joomla language:

Joomla Change Site Default Language

These are the global default language settings, each user can set the language they prefer to use by changing the settings from their profile.

Let’s see how.

Change the language for individual users

Please note that each user can change their language settings. To do this, just go to User menu > Edit Account:

Joomla Edit Account Menu

Open the Basic Settings tab and set the back end and front end language from the respective drop-down menus, then click Save.

Joomla User Language Setting

Change the language for the administrator

In addition to being able to change the language settings of individual users, we can change those of the site administrator.

Let’s change the dropdown menu option from Site to Admin and set the default language from the list, like this:

Joomla Tutorial Change Administrator Language

Joomla tutorial: how to create pages, posts and categories

In the Joomla ecosystem, the contents of our site, intended as pages and articles, can be managed from a single section of the administration panel: the articles.

This feature distinguishes Joomla from CMS like WordPress where the management of pages and articles is separate.

The procedure for creating a page or an article with Joomla is identical. In this chapter of the Joomla guide we learn how to create the pages that we will then link to the site menu in the following sections.

Create a page or post

To access the management of pages and articles, just click on Content > Articles.

If we have not yet created any content we will see a screen like the one shown below. To begin, click on New.

Joomla Tutorial Add New Article

The creation of pages and articles is structured in three sections:

  • title
  • main tabs (content, where we see the editor, images, options, publishing, configuration and permissions)
  • Publish options in the right sidebar.
Joomla Tutorial Create A New Page

The top bar allows us to enter the title of the page or article we are creating.

In the central section we find 6 different tabs. By default, the Content tab opens, which is what allows us to create the actual page.

Through this section, in fact, we can insert the content of the page and format it thanks to the WYSIWYG editor which allows us to see the formatting in real time.

We can deactivate the editor and show the HTML code by clicking on the Editor yes/no button.

Joomla Toogle Editor

Through the options on the right we can set the status of the page (published, suspended, archived and trashed), the category, choose whether to set the page or article in evidence, change the visibility of the page, insert tags and notes.

Joomla Tutorial Publish Settings

From the central section we can open all tabs to access advanced settings.

Content: this is the tab we have just seen, with the editor for creating pages and articles.

Images and links: here we can change the settings on the links and select featured images.

Options: from here we can change the layout and settings on titles, tags, category, date, author and number of visits.

Publication: we can schedule the publication of the page for a certain period and set the meta description.

Configure edit screen: we can change the display and publishing options of the page.

Permissions: allows us to choose which users can modify the page.

Now that we understand how to do it, we can follow the same steps we have just seen for the creation of site pages and articles.

Now let’s see how to create categories that allow us to group articles and pages.

Create categories

The pages and articles of our Joomla site can be grouped into categories. By default until we create any category, all content will be grouped into the default category “Uncategorised”.

To create a category with Joomla go to Content > Categories. Here we will see the list of categories already present and we will be able to create a new one by clicking on the New button, as I have highlighted here:

Joomla Add A New Category

Creating the category is similar to creating pages. We just need to enter a title and description and then click on Save and close to return to the list of categories.

Joomla Tutorial Create A New Category

Joomla allows us to create categories and subcategories.

To create a subcategory, repeat the steps just seen and then select the main category from the right panel which will constitute the parent category of the one we are creating.

Joomla Tutorial Define Parent Category

How to use Joomla: the creation of the main menu

Now that we have seen how to create the site’s pages and categories, let’s see how to use Joomla to create the site’s menu.

We use the backend side menu to go to Menu > Main Menu. The main menu of the site is generated automatically and contains the link to the home page.

Joomla Tutorial Create A New Menu

By clicking on one of the items in the list we can modify it.

Joomla Tutorial Edit Menu Item

From here you can change the title that will be shown in the menu, the page link and the behavior of the link. We can also create concatenated entries using the Main entry option.

Returning to the previous screen we can add new items to the menu. To do this, click on New:

Joomla Tutorial Add A New Menu Item

We just have to fill in the required fields, for example we can insert a menu item that refers to the About Us page like in this example:

Joomla Tutorial Add Pages In The Menu

After adding the various elements, the menu in the front end of the site will look like this:

Joomla Menu Cassiopeia

Manage media with Joomla

When we create the contents of our Joomla site, we can insert media files into pages and articles. In this section of the Joomla guide, we see how we can manage the media from the library and how to insert them into the contents.

The Joomla media library

In Joomla the files are organized in the media library which we can access by going to Content > Media.

This section allows us to view all the media we have uploaded to the site.

Joomla Media Library Settings

One of the features of Joomla is to allow us to organize multimedia files in folders. We can navigate between the folders using the tree that we see on the left, and we can add new folders by clicking on the top button Create New Folder as I have highlighted in this screenshot:

Joomla Medias Create A New Folder

By clicking on the Upload button we can upload new media files to the site.

Insert media into articles

When we create an article, we can insert media files directly through the editor. To do this, click on CMS Content > Media, as I show you here:

Joomla Tutorial Add Media In Articles

A modal window will open with the media library, let’s choose which file to insert if it is already present in the library. Alternatively, we can click on Upload and upload the file directly from the computer.

Joomla Tutorial Add Media In A Post

Joomla guide: how to manage users

With Joomla, as administrators, we can create accounts for new users who will have access to the site.

To access the list of all users just go to Registered users > Manage. Here we will see the list of members and details on the date of registration and last access.

Joomla Manage Users Settings

Add a new user

We can create a new user profile by clicking on New:

Joomla Tutorial Add A New User

In the tab that will open we will be able to enter the necessary information: name, username and password and email.

Joomla Tutorial Create A New User

Through the Assigned User Groups tab we can manage the user’s permissions by choosing the group they belong to as Author, Editor or Administrator.

The email we entered will be used to notify the user of the creation of the account. The link to access Joomla will be included in the email. Subsequently, the user will be able to change the access data and in particular the password after logging in for the first time.

Delete a user

We access the list of users by going to Registered users > Manage, then select one or more users from the list. Then from the Actions menu at the top click on Delete, like this:

Joomla Delete Users

We will be prompted for confirmation to proceed with the deletion.

Manage extensions with Joomla

Joomla extensions are add-ons that allow us to activate new functions such as creating contact forms, modifying the editor that allows us to create content, managing sliders and so on.

This chapter of our Joomla tutorial will focus on managing extensions.

Install a new extension

To install an extension on Joomla we follow these steps.

1. Click on System and then on Extensions (from the Manage section).

Joomla System Extensions Settings

2. The list of extensions installed on the site will open. Click the Install Extensions button.

Joomla Tutorial How Install An Extension

3. You will enter the extension installation menu. From here you can upload extensions you’ve previously downloaded or install from folder or URL. To search for the extension directly in the directory, click on the Install from web tab.

4. Look for the extension that interests us, for example ARK editor, and click on the extension.

Joomla Tutorial Install Ark Editor Extension

5. The extension tab will open with links to the directory and developer site. From this section we can install the components by clicking on Install.

Joomla Tutorial Install Ark Editor

6. We will be brought back to the bottom of the page and we will have to click on Install again to confirm the installation.

After installing an extension, we will be able to access its configuration via the side panel, just click on Components > Extension name.

For example, after activating “Ark editor” we will see the new item appear in this menu:

Joomla Ark Editor Components

Uninstall or disable extensions

To uninstall Joomla extensions just follow these steps. Open the extensions section by going to System > Extensions. Select the extensions and then click on Uninstall like this:

Uninstall Joomla Extension

We can also decide to disable extensions without uninstalling them completely. In this case, select them and click on the Disable button.

Joomla Disable Extensions

The default components of Joomla

With the installation of Joomla we have integrated functions accessible from the Components menu.

Let’s see what they allow us to do.

Banner: allows us to create banners to be displayed on the front end of the site. The module also allows us to track the views of each banner.

Contacts: with this integrated function we can easily create a contact form to be inserted on the site.

Search engine: it is a module that allows users to search within the site.

News feed: allows us to manage RSS feeds.

Tags: through this module we can add tags to the contents to classify them.

Manage Joomla templates

We can change the look of the site by installing new Joomla templates. These themes, also called site templates, allow us to change the look of the front end.

Please note that the CMS also includes admin templates that allow us to change the look of the admin panel instead. To see the whole list go to System > Admin Templates.

Joomla Administrator Template Settings

We now dedicate this part of our Joomla guide to site templates.

Access the list of installed templates

To see the list of templates go to System > Site Templates.

Joomla Site Template Settings

The template management panel will open where we will be able to see the installed ones. If there is only the basic template, Cassiopeia, you will see a screen like this:

Joomla Template List

Install a new template

Let’s go to System> Extensions and then click on Install extensions following the same steps we saw before.

After that we can upload the zip file in the case of a premium template that we bought on a marketplace.

Change the site’s logo

Even the default template, Cassiopeia, can be customized with our logo.

To do this, go to System > Site Templates and then click on Styles. Click on the default style to change it, like this:

Joomla Tutorial Change Default Style

At this point we can change the advanced settings to insert the logo we prefer, as I have highlighted below:

Joomla Tutorial Add Logo Template

Conclusion

This Joomla guide aims to be a real introductory manual for those who are starting to approach the platform for the first time. After reviewing the different ways to install the CMS we have seen how to change the basic configurations.

We then got to the heart of the tutorial, learning step by step how to manage content and users on the platform. Finally we have seen how to add new extensions and templates to the site.

Now you have everything you need to get familiar with Joomla and discover its potential. If you have other doubts you can consult the Joomla 4 documentation.

Was this guide helpful or is there something you don’t understand? Let us know with a comment what you think.

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