Installing your Joomla 3 template’s quickstart package for an instant website
Joomla! is a complex beast, with lots of options and settings that can make installing a new template manually quite the challenge. Thankfully, to help save you time all our Joomla! template releases include a quickstart package to get your site off the ground.
What’s a quickstart package? It’s a complete installation of Joomla that includes the core Joomla files as a standard Joomla install would, but also includes the template, modules and database data needed to match the our live demo. Think of the quickstart as a snapshot of the live demo look and layout; when you install the quickstart, it creates a copy with all the configuration in place so you can get started with customization.
Note: If the selected template uses commercial extensions like JomSocial, those extensions will not be included in the Quickstart package and it will be necessary to to purchase/download the extension directly from the developer before it may be used with the template.
Installing the Quickstart Package
Installation of the quickstart package is a simple process. Generally, a quickstart install will consist of these small steps:
- Ensure you have installed an FTP client and prepared a database for your server, or have the credentials for an existing database.
- Download and extract the quickstart package.
- FTP the extracted quickstart contents to your preferred install location.
- Open your browser to the install location on your server to begin the Joomla! installation process, entering the database credentials where required.
Once this final step is complete you’ll have a fresh install of Joomla, along with the template and all the settings and content needed to match the demo, including sample article content. However, the images from the demo will NOT be included, as they are licensed via a third party. Instead, blank placeholder images will be included so that you can customize the content easily with your own images. For some users, the above steps are all that’s needed for them to successfully install the package, but for those of us who’re less experienced with this process, we’ll look more in-depth at each step.
Joomla 3 Quickstart Install Requirements
Before starting with the install it’s important that you ensure that your hosting covers the minimum requirements for Joomla! 3, as the quickstart package for GavickPro templates will always include the latest compatible version of the CMS:
- PHP 5.3.1 or higher – 5.4+ is recommended;
- MySQL 5.1 (or higher) or PostgreSQL 8.3.x
- Apache 2. x or higher
- XML and Zlib support: Your host’s PHP installation should support XML and Zlib functionality.
- PHP Magic Quotes GPC setting should be off. If this setting is currently on, your web host should be able to correct this.
If your host doesn’t meet these requirements you should either contact them to find out if they can upgrade your server to meet these requirements, or look to moving your hosting to a Joomla-focused host. Most major hosting companies will meet these requirements, but you should double-check before committing to a long-term service contract to be safe.
Install an FTP client and Prepare a Database
FTP, or File Transfer Protocol, allows you to transfer files and folders to and from your server. In order to install the quickstart you will need access to an FTP client to move the necessary files; more details on FTP and its use may be found in this article.
Once you have an FTP client ready to go, you’ll need a database, which is where Joomla! will store all the useful data like articles, images etc…pretty much anything that’s not part of Joomla’s functionality. There are three important details you need to know about your database; its name (context-sensitive!), and a username and password for it.
Depending on your hosting, you may have a database with a user already prepared for you, or you may have to create the database and user manually; please refer to your host’s help section for more information.
Once you have your database name and a username and password for the database keep them aside as they’ll be required during the install process later on.
Download and Extract the Quickstart Package
Now that you’ve got the things you need ready, you’ll need to get the appropriate quickstart package for your chosen template. Head over to our download section and click on your purchased template. You’ll be taken to the download screen. You’ll see a set of files available to download, covering both Joomla 3-specific files and Joomla 2.5 files too, where available:
- gk_template_name_J!x.zip – The basic package of the template; this should be used when adding the template to an existing Joomla installation, where template_name is the name of the template and J!x is the Joomla version e.g. gk_quark_J!3.zip. The contents of the package are included in the quickstart, so this download can be ignored.
- gk_template_name_quickstart_J!x.zip – The quickstart installation package; this includes everything required to install Joomla and match the demo layout, and is the only package we need for this tutorial.
- gk_template_rest_files.zip – This package contains the source PSD files for the template’s design, as well as additional plugins that round out the template functionality. These plugins are included in the quickstart install, so there’s no need to download this package.
As noted above, the only required download for matching the demo site is the quickstart package, as this contains all the important elements from the other two downloads.
Once the download is complete, extract the package locally; the zip package contains a folder, and inside this are all the files you need for the quickstart installation.
FTP the Extracted Package to Your Preferred Install Location
This step is fairly simple; the extracted contents of the quickstart package need to be transferred via FTP to your chosen install location. Technically-speaking you may install Joomla! into any folder on your server, but generally you’ll want your Joomla installation to be the first thing people see when visiting your site. In this case, depending on your host, this may be the server root, or more commonly a folder called htdocs. Connect to your server via FTP and navigate to the htdocs folder, or your chosen install location. Now, transfer the entire contents of the extracted quickstart package to this location.
**Important!** – make sure to transfer only the files and folders contained within the extracted quickstart folder, and not the extracted folder itself. This is because Joomla will be installed wherever the necessary files are placed.
This can be a slow process due to the number of files and the available bandwidth for your internet/server connection. Once the transfer is complete double-check to ensure that no file transfers failed, otherwise the install may not go smoothly.
All done? Then we’re ready to install!
This final part is fairly quick to complete, but requires lots of small steps. However, once it’s done your site will be ready to go.
Before starting make sure you have your database name and username and password for it handy.
To start the install process, you need to open your browser of choice and navigate to the part of your server where you uploaded the Joomla! quickstart files. For example, if you installed to the server root or htdocs folder, then you’d open the base web address for your site to start the install i.e. www.yoursite.com.
If you’ve uploaded the files to a subfolder, let’s say one called Joomla in your server root, then you’d instead navigate to www.yoursite.com/Joomla to start the install process. As long as you open the right location the install process should automatically start and you will see the introductory page.
Main Configuration Page
Here, you need to enter a few basic details that will help you manage your site:
- Site Name – Give your site a name so people can see what it is! This can be changed later if necessary, so don’t worry too much if you’re undecided.
- Description – Enter a description of your site that will be used by search engines to provide a brief overview if your site, rather than a specific article, comes up in search. This section isn’t necessary, but recommended.
- Admin Email – Sets the email address for the Super Administrator of your site; the head honcho, numero uno, the person with all the power.
- Admin Username – Sets the Super Administrator username.
- Admin Password – Sets the Super Administrator password. Enter it again in the Confirm Admin Password field to ensure your password is correct.
- Site Offline – When this option is set to Yes the frontpage will lead to a generic maintenance/coming soon page, which prevents visitors from seeing the complete site before it’s ready.
Once all these details are complete, click Next to move to the next section.
Database Configuration Page
On this page you’ll need to enter the database details you created earlier to ensure that Joomla! can store your site’s info. The fields are as follows:
- Database Type – Sets the database type; either MySQLi or MySQL. For most modern installations this will be MySQLi, so you may leave this as default.
- Host Name – This specifies where the database server is in relation to your website’s server. Usually, the database is on the same server so the option may be left as the default localhost. However, some hosts keep their database on a separate server; if this is the case your host’s support will be able to provide the server’s address, which will need to be entered in this field.
- Username – Enter the username for the database here.
- Password – Enter the password for the database here.
- Database Name – Enter the name of the database (context-sensitive) in this field.
- Table Prefix – The table prefix is used by the database to separate contents from different Joomla installations to avoid overlap. For example, if you have two Joomla installations, you might use FirstSite as the prefix for the first, and SecondSite for the second. If you have only one Joomla install then you can use the randomly-generated default prefix, or make up your own. Just remember that the prefix must end with an underscore.
- Old Database Process – Chooses how any overlapping entries from previous or existing Joomla installs will be treated; either backed-up or removed. As this is a new install you shouldn’t need to worry about this option.
Once these credentials are added, click on the Next button to open the final install page.
Now comes the final step before installation can begin. Here, you do not need to enter any details, but you can see several sections that will help you understand your installation and diagnose any issues. These sections are:
- Install Sample Data – This area mentions if any sample content will be installed; as we are installing a quickstart there should be a message advising that your template’s demo content will be installed.
- Overview – Here you can set Email Configuration to Yes if you wish to receive information on the configuration settings to your email for record-keeping purposes.
- Main Configuration – Here you can see the options you set on the Main Configuration page.
- Database Configuration – Here you can see the options you set on the Database Configuration screen.
- Pre-Installation Check – This list checks to make sure that the minimum server requirements for your Joomla installation are met. If any of these options are set to No Joomla will not install, and you must contact your host’s support team for further assistance.
- Recommended Settings – These settings are not as critical as those in the pre-installation check, but if any options do not match the recommended settings there is a risk of incompatibilities or other issues. It is advisable that you ensure these options match the recommendations if possible.
Everything alright? Then click on the Install button at the top to start installation!
You’ll see a page displaying a progress bar to show you how complete the installation is; this process is very fast and shouldn’t take longer than a few minutes at the very most.
Once the process is finished you’ll see a message of congratulations; You can choose to install additional language packs by clicking on the Extra Steps – Install Languages button. Once done, it is important now that the installation folder is removed for security purposes; click on the orange Remove Installation Folder button to do so automatically.
Now you can decide whether to visit your Site to see how your new website looks, or head over to the Administrator login to start customizing your template and creating content for your site. Simply click on the Site or Administrator buttons accordingly.
And that’s it! Joomla is now installed, and you should have a perfect installation that matches our demo layout, with all the plugins and extras needed (excluding paid-for extensions such as JomSocial). Now you can get started with adding your own style to the site; changing colors, layouts, or even doing major redesigns. If you find you need some help getting everything looking exactly how you want it then drop into our forum for a few tips, or our trusted service providers such as TidyCustoms can help you customize your Joomla website, from simple changes all the way to complete site redesigns.
This article was first published