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Joomla 3.1 Installation Guide with XAMPP

Joomla is one of the most popular CMSs ( content management systems ) currently available online for free. In this small guide, we will show you how you can get started with Joomla 3.1, the latest iteration of the popular CMS locally, in your PC running Windows with the usage of a "small" web server called XAMPP which is also free.

Step 1 - Download and install XAMPP

Visit http://www.apachefriends.org/en/xampp-windows.html and download XAMPP Installer, then start the installation wizard once the executable file is downloaded. When the installation is complete, you can open up what is called "XAMPP Control Center" via which we can start the standard services for Apache and MySQL. For those not accustomed with those terms, Apache is the web server which will run php files and the platform's scripts and MySQL is the database server which will run the site's database, the storage space for the site's data that is. Once you open up XAMPP control center from your start menu, you will be shown the window as in the image below :


Here, you will click "Start" where is not says "Stop", next to Apache and MySQL. If all is fine, both services will start immediatelly. There is a chance where those will not start with an error. In such case, you will need to either re-install xampp and re-start your Windows machine or open up Skype, go to Settings -> Advanced and uncheck the option which holds port 80 and 443 inside Skype, then close skype and try to restart the XAMPP services.

Step 2 - Download the latest Joomla and install 

Visit http://www.joomla.org/download.html and download the latest Joomla package by clicking the blue button. You will receive a zip file which contains the base Joomla 3.1 files. Open up the downloaded zip. Then open up a Windows Explorer ( not Internet Explorer ) window and navigate to c:/xampp/htdocs. Inside this folder, create a new folder with the name of your site. Inside that new folder, extract all the files in the Joomla zip file you downloaded like you see in the image below :


Once complete you will have some directories and files just inside the new folder under c:/xampp/htdocs.

Step 3 - Set up the new database

Now one more thing to do before you move on to the Joomla installation wizard, is to create an empty MySQL database which Joomla will use to store data to. To do that, open up your browser and in the address url bar, write : http://localhost/phpmyadmin. Then move to the option "Databases" and see a bit below where there is one input box and another dropdown, apply the name of the databse you need your site to use and then select "utf8_genercal_ci" as the collation of the database, as you can see below :


When you are done filling in those info, click "Create", then you will receive a message from phpmyadmin saying that the database has been created. 

Step 4 - Start the Joomla Installation Wizard.

Open up your browser and go to http://localhost/myfirstjoomlasite where "myfirstjoomlasite" should be the name of the folder you created inside d:/xampp/htdocs just a few steps before. Make sure its the same name or the process will fail and you will be redirected to a "not found" page. If all goes well, the joomla installation will start and the first thing you will see is the image below : 


Now fill in the information that the wizard requires, that is the name of your site, a small description, the administrator username ( which should not be just admin bus something more complex ) and a root password for your administrator account ( which should be strong ). Then leave all the other settings as in the image above and clikc "Next". Then you will be redirected to step two as below :


This step is a bit more technical. In the host name and specifically for XAMPP the value should be localhost. The database username for xampp is root and the password is nothing, empty. Fill in the database name as you created the database in phpmyadmin a few steps above and leave the table prefix as it is. Then click "Next", the joomla instalation will start and when its complete, you will see the image below : 


This means that Joomla has been installed. Click on "Remove installation folder" orange button to delete the installation-specific files and then click on "Site" to see the front end of your new site or "Administrator" to see the back end. 

For the front end you should be seeying : 


And for the back end : 


You can login to your back end via the username and password you set up during the installation wizard which is something different than "admin" e.t.c. as we said before. 

Remember next time to re-launch xampp and re-start the services after you shut down your computer and re-start it so the xampp services can be open again. 






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