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Choosing a Host and Installation Method for Joomla

written by: Jesma•edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 7/5/2011

In this installment we discuss choosing a host, and deciding whether to let your host install Joomla vs doing it manually through FTP upload and a web interface. We also provide instructions for the latter to make it doable for anyone.

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    Web Hosting

    Once you are ready to install Joomla! on a live server, you need to find a web server to host your website on. Most people aren't going to be using a server they put together themselves, so we'll focus on finding hosting companies using the internet.

    The price of your web hosting is going to vary, so you'll have to weigh your options as to what you are willing to spend. You want to make sure that the transfer speeds your host is offering will accommodate your web site, so read into it a little bit. The other important factor is the hosting requirements for Joomla! They are:

    • PHP 4.2.x or later
    • MySQL 3.23.x or later
    • Apache 1.3.x or later

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    Make sure that whichever hosting plan you choose includes these.

    In addition to hosting you will need to register a domain name. Most hosting providers offer this service as well, and it is usually on a yearly term.

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    Host Install vs Manual Upload

    Many large web hosting providers, such as, offer to install a variety of applications onto your web server for you. You will probably see these options after you have purchased your hosting plan.

    Host Installation Facts

    Having your hosting provider install Joomla! for you:

    • is convenient.
    • is fast.
    • is easy.
    • is impossible to customize.
    • can be buggy.
    • almost always installs "sample data" whether you want it or not.

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    Manual Upload Installation Facts

    Uploading all of the Joomla! files yourself:

    • is easily customized.
    • can be done with or without "sample data".
    • takes a lot more time.
    • isn't as easy.
    • requires more technical skills and tools.

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    Personally, I recommend uploading all the files and installing Joomla! yourself. If you took the time to install it on a test environment first, then you're already familiar with most of the steps. The reason I recommend installing manually is mostly because of that pesky "sample data". It is nice if you are teaching yourself how to work with Joomla! and want to see what it will look like, but it isn't nice if you are teaching yourself Joomla! and eventually want the site to be entirely your own. Sample data includes extensions, sections, categories, and articles that take a very long time and a lot of patience to find, unpublish, and remove.

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    Uploading Files For Manual Install

    I'm glad you decided to do it this way. At the very least, the experience will be beneficial to you in the future.

    1. The first thing you should do is download and install an FTP client. This makes the upload process much simpler and easier. I recommend Filezilla. You may or may not end up using Filezilla in the future (though I suspect you will) so I will not go into much detail on setting it up. At the top of the screen you will see four entry-boxes followed by a button that says "Quickconnect". The Host is the URL or IP address of your website. The username and password provided to you by your hosting provider for FTP access. The Port can usually be left blank, unless your host has set a specific port to connect on (21 is default). Click "Quickconnect" and the files of your website will be displayed on the right-hand side. The left side is for browsing your computer.

    2. Download Joomla!

    3. Unzip the Joomla! files into their own folder somewhere on your computer that is easy to browse to.

    4. Using Filezilla, browse to that folder.

    5. Highlight the contents of the folder and drag all of it "onto" your website. This will start the upload of Joomla! to your web server. It may take awhile to complete, so be patient.

    6. Once all the files are uploaded, go to This will load Joomla!'s built-in web installation.

Joomla! 1.5 Installation Guide

In this series we learn all the steps of getting started on a Joomla! powered website. Learn how to install Joomla! on your PC to test it, how to get adequate hosting, and how to install on your live host.
  1. Installing Joomla! in a Test Environment
  2. Choosing a Host and Installation Method for Joomla
  3. Installing Joomla! On a Live Web Server