How to Add Social Bookmarking / Networking to Joomla Articles

Social bookmarking and networking sites are very popular these days, and a must for those who wish to share their content with the broadest audience possible. Allowing your visitors to share your content with those in their 'network' is a great way to market your site.

This week we'll walk you through how to set up a tool to allow quick sharing of your articles in the most popular social bookmarking/networking sites.

We're going to use a plugin called Share This

Here's how you do it:

  1. Download the Share This plugin.
  2. In the administration area of your Joomla site, go to Extensions >> Install / Uninstall and upload the file to install.
  3. In the administration area of your Joomla site, go to Extensions >> Plugins and open the Share This plugin.
  4. On the right there are parameters allowing you to choose which services you would like to have displayed. Over 35 of the most common sites are included. You can also change the color and location to match your site.
  5. Enable the plugin, save the changes and start sharing your content with others.

One reason we recommend Share This over the alternatives is that its very discreet. Other bookmarking plugins take up a lot of space but Share This has only a small link that pops-up to reveal more options. There's a demo available here.

How to Add Joomla Administrator Authentication

This week we'll walk you through how to set up a little bit of extra security that will hide your Joomla Admin area from prying hackers and bots, requiring authentication to log in.

We're going to use a plugin called jSecureAuthentication.

Here's how you do it:

  1. Download the jSecureAuthentication plugin from Joomla Service Provider.
  2. In the administration area of your Joomla site, go to Extensions >> Install / Uninstall and upload the file to install.
  3. In the administration area of your Joomla site, go to Extensions >> Plugins and open the System - jSecure Authentication
  4. Enable the plugin, and on the right in the parameters insert your Key in the field - this will be your 'secret' key to use for authentication when accessing the Joomla admin area.
  5. Save the changes and log out of the admin. To get to your new admin area you will go to http://example.com/administrator/?secretkey (don't forget the ? before the secret key)

Using this plugin you can also set a custom redirect so that if someone were to try and access the default admin area at /administrator you can customize the message.

*We'll take this opportunity to remind you that while this is another step to help secure your Joomla site, it is no replacement for keeping your Joomla core files AND your extension files up to date. Make sure you're running the most recent versions in order to have the most secure site.

How to Add a PayPal Donation Button

When this tutorial was originally published, we recommend a certain Paypal Donate extension from the JED. However, since then, that extension has been removed from the JED.

Thankfully we have created a Paypal Donate extension which has even more features. The download and tutorial can be found here: OSDonate!

How to Add a Download Manager to Your Site

This week we'll walk you through how to set up a file download manager on your site.

We're going to use a component called RokDownloads

Here's how you do it:

  1. Download the RokDownloads component from Rocket Theme.
  2. In the administration area of your Joomla site, go to Extensions >> Install / Uninstall and upload the file to install.
  3. In the administration area of your Joomla site, go to Components >> RokDownloads >> Configuration and set your preferences for the root download folder and other settings, and click Save.
  4. Click on the 'Manager' link and set up your folders and upload the items you wish to offer as downloads on your site.
  5. Create a link to your downloads as either a 'File Layout' offering a direct link to a file, or a 'Folder Layout' presenting a particular folder of files. Don't forget to have a look at the many options available in the Advanced Parameters for the link.

How to Add a Commenting System

This week we're going to walk you through adding a commenting system to your site, the easy way!

We're going to be using the 'Disqus Plugin for Joomla' by JoomlaWorks. It's a free plugin that allows visitors to comment on your articles in designed categories and/or menu items using the popular Disqus Comment System.

Here's how set it up:

  • Step 1: Visit Disqus.com and sign up for a free account.
  • Step 2: Visit JoomlaWorks.gr and download the Disqus for Joomla plugin.
  • Step 3: In the administration area of your Joomla site, go to Extensions >> Install / Uninstall and upload the file.
  • Step 4: In the administration area of your Joomla site, go to Extensions >> Plugin Manager >> Disqus Comment System for Joomla! (by JoomlaWorks), and add your Disqus subdomain name to the Plugin Paramters (this will be the name you added to the 'short name' field when you set up your Disqus account), assign the categories/menu items you would like to allow comments in, and enable the plugin.
  • Step 5: Start adding comments to your site!

There are quite a few really nice features you can further enable, such as shared login for Facebook and Twitter, and the ability for visitors to post their comment to their twitter feed, thus taking your commenting system to a 'social networking' level! These features and more can be enabled within the Disqus settings and managed in your account at disqus.com

Enable Joomla's Search Engine Friendly URLs

This week we'll walk you through how to enable Search Engine Friendly (SEF) URLs in Joomla.

This mystical feat requires no extensions!

Here's how you do it:

  1. Go to the Administration area of your Joomla site and Global Configuration (or in the menus, site >> Global Configuration).
  2. In the 'Site' settings, on the right you will see 'SEO Settings', click on the 'Yes' radio button to enable Search Engine Friendly URLs

That's it! You have just enabled SEF URLs for your site. However, if you would like to clean up the URLs even more, read on...

To shorten up the URLs ever more, follow the next steps:

  1. Select 'Yes' for the option to use Apache mod_rewrite *ONLY if you are on a server that uses Apache (which will most likely be the case, but if you're unsure check with your hosting company).
  2. Go to your joomla_root directory and locate the file named htaccess.txt and rename the file to .htaccess (notice the proceeding dot . ) This can be done either via FTP or your hosting control panel.

You should now have nice clean URLs that are human readable.

If you find that upon trying to visit links in your site's menus you are getting 404 errors, you can simply go back to your configuration area and set the 'Use Apache mod_rewrite' option to 'No', and rename your .htaccess back to htaccess.txt Your issue should clear up after.

Additionally, should you wish to add a suffix after your URL (.html for example), you may select the third option in the SEO Settings 'Add suffix to URLs'.

As always, if you need any help with this feel free to post in our forum for support if you are a member.

Easily Upgrade Your Joomla Site Version

This week we'll walk you through how to easily upgrade your Joomla 1.5 site to the latest release of 1.5. Some caveats first:
  • Sorry ... there's no magic button to move from 1.0 to 1.5 or from 1.5. to 1.6.
  • If you've made any changes to the core Joomla files, you will need to upgrade manually.
  • Backup first! (use steps 1 to 5 here)

Here's how you upgrade:

Check Your Joomla Version

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You can nearly always find out what version of Joomla you're running by looking to the top-right hand corner of your Joomla screen.

Download Update Manager for Joomla

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We're going to download and install the "Update Manager for Joomla!" Click here for the listing on the Joomla Extensions Directory and click "Download".

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You'll be taken to the main download page. Click on the name of the file and it will be downloaded to your desktop.

Upload the Update Manager for Joomla

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In your Joomla administrator area, go to Extensions >> Install/Uninstall then click "Browse", select the file you downloaded and then "Upload File & Install"

Go the Update Manager Screen

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Choose Your Update Option

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The first line will tell us what version we're running and that we need to update. The best option is nearly always "Patch Package" as that makes the minimum number of required changes.

Proceed With the Install

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Hopefully the Update Manager will tell you that you can proced with the install. Otherwise you'll need to fix the errors it mentions.

You're Done!

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A Quick Confirmation Check

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Visit another page on your site and check that the version number has changed. If it has - congratulations! Your upgrade is complete.

As always, if you need any help with this feel free to post in our forum for support if you are a member.

Content Versioning in Joomla

  • "What happens if someone makes a mistake in an article? How can we roll back to a previous version?"
  • "We have a legal requirement to track the articles that appear on our website - how do we do that?"

The answer is "versioning" and there's quite a few solutions out there. Over the last few weeks I've tried all the available versioning extensions available for Joomla and one stood head and shoulders above the others. Its free, its easy and its called "Content Revision". Here's how to set it up:

  • Step 1: Visit Galore.co.za and go to "Galore Content Revision".
  • Step 2: For Joomla 1.0, download that version. For Joomla 1.5 you'll need to download the component and also the plugin.
  • Step 3: In the administration area of your Joomla site, go to Extensions >> Install / Uninstall and upload the files. If you're using Joomla 1.5, go to Extensions >> Plugin Manager and make sure the plugin is published.
  • Step 4: Go to Content >> Article Manager and edit an article.
  • Step 5: Go to Components >> Content Revision >> List New Changes. The change you just made should appear in the list.
  • Step 6: To see the changes, click on the number in the "CR ID" column. You'll be able to see the "Before" and "After" Versions.
  • Step 7: If you want to roll back to the previous version, make sure you are on the "Before Save" tab and click the green, circular arrows in the top-right corner.

Collecting More Information From Joomla Users When They Register

Joomla Registration FormThis tutorial is the answer to a question asked by a user in our support forum ... "how do I collect more information from my members when they register?".

The user's problem is that the normal Joomla registration form gives you precisely 5 fields:

  • Name
  • Username
  • Email
  • Password
  • ... and, er ... Password again.

That's it. If you want to collect people's location, birthday, opinion or any more information about them you're stuck. What we're going to show you in this tutorial is how to collect more information from your users when they register.

Read more: Collecting More Information From Joomla Users When They Register

Approving Joomla Users When They Register

This tutorial is similar to last week's in two ways:

  • It's the answer to a question asked by a user in our support forum.
  • It deals with managing people signing up on your Joomla site.

It has one important difference however ... it's much shorter! This week's tutorial explains how to approve Joomla users when they register. You might have a school website and only want to approve parents or students. You might have a club website and only want to have members join your site. This tutorial will show you how. We're

Read more: Approving Joomla Users When They Register