Install Joomla on Ubuntu

Joomla is an award-winning open source CMS that lets you create “business” or professional-looking websites directly from scratch. Contrast this with WordPress, which by default is a blogging platform and gives websites the appearance of a blog after installation. By the end of this tutorial, you will know how to install a fully running Joomla website directly from scratch using the Linux Ubuntu/XAMPP web server.

Joomla runs optimally in Apache, MySQL and PHP (LAMPP configuration), the same configuration used by WordPress.

Joomla web development starts in the local host environment. The purpose of this tutorial is to cover the details of installing Joomla in the Linux Ubuntu operating system using XAMPP local web server.

Since Linux file system permissions are a bit strict compared to Windows, installing a fully running Joomla website in the local web server is not straightforward. It requires you to run administrative terminal commands that relate to file permissions and file transfer protocol (FTP in the local host environment).

There are, however, a lot of advantages of setting up a Joomla website in Linux environment, most web hosting servers using Apache are running under Linux and if you have a fully running website developed in Linux local host environment, it will be compatible also with a Linux based web server.

This is a different situation if you are developing under Windows environment which there are some differences especially with regards to OS-sensitive PHP functions and the differences in file systems. Linux uses forward slash in naming file system (e.g /home/codex-m/joomla) and are case-sensitive whereas Windows uses backlash file system file structure (C:codexmjoomla) and is NOT case-sensitive.

At the end of this tutorial, you are expected to fully know how to install a fully running Joomla website directly from scratch using Linux Ubuntu/XAMPP web server.

{mospagebreak title=Joomla’s System Requirements} 

Joomla has officially stated their system requirements, but this tutorial has been executed using the following system requirements;

  • OS: Linux Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala
  • XAMPP version: XAMPP for Linux 1.7.3a
  • PHP Version: PHP Version 5.3.1
  • Joomla installer package: Joomla_1.5.20-Stable-Full_Package
  • MySQL server version: Server version: 5.1.41

One important requirement that you should comply with before installing Joomla in Linux is enabling FTP in your Ubuntu installation. The suggested and easiest approach is to install vsftpd. To do this, follow the steps below:

Step 1: In Linux, go to System => Administration => Synaptic Package Manager.

Step 2: Enter your Linux password to proceed.

Step 3: In the quick search text box, enter: vsftpd, then press “Search.”

Step 4: Check vsftpd to mark it for installation, and then hit “Apply” to install it.

Step 5: After successful installation, it will have a light green colored square beside its name such as shown in the screen shot below:

Now that vsftpd has been successfully installed in Ubuntu, you will need to configure it. Go to Applications => Accessories => Terminal

You will need first to log in as root (using command Sudo -s -H) and then make sure you are in the Linux root by typing the command:

cd /

Next, you will need to navigate to the /etc/ directory in Linux. Details of this series of commands are shown below (type only the blue font; the black font shows the Linux terminal prompts):

codex-m@codex-m-desktop:~$ sudo -s -H

[sudo] password for codex-m:

root@codex-m-desktop:/home/codex-m# cd /

root@codex-m-desktop:/# pwd


root@codex-m-desktop:/# cd /etc

root@codex-m-desktop:/etc# pico vsftpd.conf

The pico vsftpd.conf command will open vsftpd.conf file in a command line based text editor (pico). Once the file is opened for editing, find these two lines:

# local_enable=YES

# write_enable=YES

Uncomment those two lines by removing the # before the code. It should become:



To save, press Control – O, and then, when it asks to save a file, just press enter to save your changes. To exit, press Control – X. This will exit the pico Linux editor.

Finally, you will need to start the vsftpd service by entering this in the Linux terminal command mode (log in as root):

Command to enter: sudo /etc/init.d/vsftpd start

Actual command lines executed in the terminal (enter only the blue font):

root@codex-m-desktop:/etc# sudo /etc/init.d/vsftpd start

* Starting FTP server: vsftpd [ OK ]


{mospagebreak title=Download Joomla and Install it in your Linux XAMPP htdocs}

Now your Linux Ubuntu system is completely ready for Joomla. The next step is to download the whole package here: 

As of July 28, 2010 the latest version available for downloading is 1.5.20 Full package. You will need to download the zip file by right clicking on the “zip” link and then “Save link as” in Firefox to download the zip package to your Desktop.

Note: It is recommended that you subscribe to their newsletter to receive security updates.

Once it’s downloaded, follow the rest of the procedures below:

Step 1. Unzip the package in the Desktop.

Step 2. Rename the folder to simply joomla

Step 3. When you open the folder, you should have a file structure like the one shown in the screen shot below:

Step 4. Copy and paste the joomla folder above to your Ubuntu XAMPP htdocs root directory. Make sure it is the root directory in your htdocs.

So if your htdocs directory path is /opt/lampp/htdocs , then the joomla folder should be located in: /opt/lampp/htdocs/joomla

Step 5. Once you have your joomla folder in the XAMPP htdocs, launch your browser, and then enter the URL below:


Step 6. The installation process will then start. You are required to select the language.

Step 7. Joomla will execute a pre-installation check. Take note of the red items. They should be fixed to make sure that your Joomla website will function properly. The most frequent non-conformance issue is that PHP Display errors is turned on and Joomla recommends that it be turned off.

To turn this off, follow the commands executed below in the terminal (enter only the items in blue):

codex-m@codex-m-desktop:~$ sudo -s -H

[sudo] password for codex-m:

root@codex-m-desktop:/home/codex-m# cd /

root@codex-m-desktop:/# pwd


root@codex-m-desktop:/# cd /opt/lampp/etc

root@codex-m-desktop:/opt/lampp/etc# pico php.ini

The text editor will then open php.ini. Now find this line by scrolling down very carefully:

display_errors = On

And change that to:

display_errors = Off

To save the php.ini file, press Control – O, and then when it asks to save a file, just press the enter key to save your changes. To exit, press Control – X. This will exit the pico Linux editor. Once you have saved the php.ini file, you will need to restart your XAMPP Apache server.

In Linux, go to terminal and run this command:

/opt/lampp/lampp restart

At the Linux terminal:

codex-m@codex-m-desktop:~$ sudo -s -H

[sudo] password for codex-m:

root@codex-m-desktop:/home/codex-m# /opt/lampp/lampp restart

Step 8. Go back to the “Pre-installation Check” in the Joomla installation process, click “Check Again,” and all red items, such as “Display Errors,” will be gone.

Step 9. You will be presented with a license. Just click Next if you agree.

Step 10. You will then be required to enter database information. The typical connection parameters for Linux XAMPP MySQL will be:

  • Database type: MySQL 
  • Hostname: localhost
  • Username: root
  • Password: [yourpassword]
  • Database: [yourdatabasename]

Do not do anything with “Advanced Settings.”

Step 11. Now that you have pre-configured vsftpd, this should be an easy step for you. You will need to use your Linux username and Linux password to fill in the basic settings on the form. Once you have entered them, just click the Autofind FTP path for Joomla to search for the path automatically, and then click “Verify FTP settings” to make sure you have entered the correct authentication details. If you see a lot of PHP-related errors, just ignore them until you see a notice saying “The FTP settings are valid.” Example screen shot below:

Step 12. Joomla will then ask you to enter the site name, administrator email and password, then scroll down to click “Install Sample Data” and then click Next.

Step 13. You will then see a warning, “PLEASE REMEMBER TO COMPLETELY REMOVE THE INSTALLATION DIRECTORY…” So go to the Joomla folder in your XAMPP htdocs directory and delete the INSTALLATION folder.

Step 14. The installation is complete.

{mospagebreak title=Viewing your Joomla website in the browser and logging in as Admin}

To view your Joomla website installed on your XAMPP localhost, simply clear your entire browser cache and history first, then enter this URL in the address bar:


You will then see your Joomla website, looking like the screen shot below:

You can now log in as admin at this URL: http://localhost/joomla/administrator/  

Your username is set by default to admin. Use the password you entered in Step 12 in the previous section.

In upcoming tutorials on Joomla in Linux, you will learn how to customize your Joomla website and work with templates and extensions.

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