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 and sign up for a free account.
  • Step 2: Visit 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

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


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


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".


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


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


Choose Your Update Option


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


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!


A Quick Confirmation Check


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 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

Adding a Shopping Cart to Joomla

Simple Joomla Shopping CartOne of the most common questions we get from Joomla learners is ... How do I set up a shopping cart with Joomla?

For several years the only option was Virtuemart. However, Virtuemart is a very large and complex product that it simply overkill for many sites.

Fortunately, some simpler and easier shopping carts have recently been released and perhaps the best of the bunch is RokQuickCart from

It does have basic tax and shipping options, plus support for either PayPal or Google Checkout. It doesn't have the ability to put products into categories or have custom fields for products (except color and size). Really it's ideal for a website selling up to 20 or 30 products.

Installing RokQuickCart

  1. Click here to download the RokQuickCart component.
  2. Go to Administrator >> Extensions >> Install / Uninstall and upload the RokQuickCart file.
  3. Go to Menus >> Main Menu and click "New"
  4. Choose RokQuickCart >> RokQuickCart Cart Layout for your menu link.
  5. Give the menu link a title such as "Store" and click save.
  6. Visit the front of your site and click on the new "Store" link. It should look like the screenshot below:

Adding Products

The first thing we'll do is add our own products to RokQuickCart. It comes with some sample products that you can use to see how the cart will look.

  1. Go to Administrator >> Components >> RokQuickCart
  2. Click "New" and you'll see a screen like the one below.
    • Give the product a "Name".
    • Set your "Price".
    • Add a "Shipping Cost" - it must be a flat fee and can't be flexible according to location.
    • You can click "Pick Image" and upload the relevant image.
    • On the right, if you want to set sizes or colors, just click "Add" and enter the options. Unfortunately you can't change the price based on these options.

Choosing General Settings

Once you have your products installed, there's only one more step - choosing the general store settings.

  1. Go to Administrator >> Components >> RokQuickCart
  2. Click on "Parameters".
  3. Here you can configure how your store looks. More importantly, you can insert your Paypal or Google Checkout account details so you can get paid ... after all, what else is a shopping cart for?
RokQuickCart Parameters

Add Google Analytics to a Joomla Website

In our beginner classes we recommend Google Analytics as a free and accurate way to count people visiting your site.

With Shack Analytics, you have an option to add Google Analytics to all pages of your Joomla site. Install Shack Analytics from your Joomlashack account, then follow this guide.

Step #1. Get the Google Analytics ID

  • Sign in to your Google Analytics account. Please, visit this tutorial on how to create a Google Analytics account, if you still don't have one.
  • In your Google Analytics dashboard, click Admin.
  • You will see the new columns. In the Property column, click Property Settings.
  • Copy the Tracking Id. This is what we will use to connect your site to Google Analytics.

js code

Step #2. Add your Tracking ID to your site.

  • In your Joomla administrator area, go to Components > Shack Analytics Pro.
  • You will be taken to the Shack Analytics: Tracking Tags administrative page.
  • Click System - Shack Analytics.

shack analytics

  • Enter the ID number of your Google Analuytics account into the Universal property ID box.
  • Make sure that this plugin is enabled.

shack analytics settings

There are some key settings on this page. Here is what they mean:

  • Google Analytics: Choose the Google Analytics version to use; Universal or Classic.
  • Disable cookie: Let the plugin use visitor IP addresses to calculate a unique client ID instead of using a cookie. Accuracy is decreased a little but data is collected even if cookies aren't accepted.
  • Cookie domain: Override the default cookie domain. The default is the domain of the current web page (minus any sub-domain). Leave it empty to preserve default behavior of Google Analytics.
  • Anonymize IP: Anonymize visitor IP addresses by telling Google Analytics to not store the full IP address.

Step #3. Check your result

  • Check the source code of your website pages. You will see your Google Analytics tracking code added:

tracking code added

You can also go to your Google Analytics account to make sure that the Google is accepting the code. The best to way to check is by clicking "Real-Time" and seeing if Google is picking up people currently on your site.

right now

Add an Image Rotator to Your Joomla Site

This walk you through will help you with adding an image rotator to your Joomla powered site.

We're going to recommend the "Flash Image Rotator" by Joomlashack. It's a free module that allows you to rotate up to 15 images with some pretty nice features.

Here's how you use it:

  • Step 1: Visit and download the free Flash Image Rotator. *You must be registered and logged in to see the download link (register here)
  • Step 2: In the administration area of your Joomla site, go to Extensions >> Install / Uninstall and upload the file.
  • Step 3: Upload the images you wish to use to your joomla_root/modules/mod_flashrotator/js_flashrotator/img directory via your favorite FTP client, or by using NinjaXplorer (we have a tutorial on doing that here)
  • Step 4: Go to Extensions >> Module Manager. Find "Flash Rotator" and enable it, publish it to your preferred module position, and set the parameters.
  • Step 5: Go to your frontend and view your newly installed image rotator!

SORRY: Joomlashack no longer have this product available.