How To Troubleshoot A Joomla! Installation

How To Troubleshoot A Joomla! Installation

Written by Russell Winter

The Joomla! forums see many posts regarding Installation or Performance issues, Permissions and Security questions. To assist with such questions and to highlight many of the common problems seen the following tools have been developed to help end-users and the Joomla! Working Group Teams quickly and efficiently resolve these issues in the fastest time possible with the least amount of effort.


Joomla! Tools Suite (JTS) and Joomla! Health, Installation, Security Audit (HISA) have been developed with the sole purpose of providing Joomla! end-users with a Self-Help Advice and Information system.

  1. Pre-Joomla! Installation Server Environment Audit
    Before you install Joomla! check if your server is likely to support it fully or if your environment may need some modification
  2. Post-Joomla! Installation Server Environment Audit
    Following the installation of Joomla! keep your installation functioning and optimal with a variety of maintenance tools
  3. Trouble-Shooting and Problem Resolution
    Obtain additional diagnostic and configuration information to aid or speed up the process of problem resolution

Joomla! HISA Joomla! Tools Suite
Designed with the Joomla! New User in mind, HISA is a single self-contained, all-in-one Audit facility, providing information that will assist you to determine if your hosting environment is suitable for Joomla!, what might be done to improve your change of a successful installation, all prior to installation. Allowing you the opportunity to ask questions before getting frustrated or disappointed. No installation requirement, simply upload the Joomla! HISA file to your proposed or current Joomla! directory and open it in your browser.   JTS on the other hand has been designed with a more advanced series of Diagnostic and Maintenance Tools, including the HISA tool-set. Tools range from Pre-Installation environment checks, Post-Installation environment auditing, File and Directory permissions, extension auditing to DataBase optimisation and maintenance. Still maintaining ease of installation and use, simply make a directory within your Joomla! installation folder, upload the files and open in your browser again.
Download HISA Here   Download JTS Here
 

Language Support

  English
  Finnish
  Swedish
  German

 

Language Support

  English
  Finnish
  Swedish
  German
  Hungarian
  Hungarian (Informal)


What Do JTS and HISA Actually Do?
 
Joomla! Health, Installation and Security Audit (HISA) based on the server and end-user hosting account configuration variables an assessment is completed, providing feedback regarding the possibility of installation success if prior to installing Joomla! alternatively, following Joomla! installation, reporting on possible problematic configuration issues.

High security risk items severely penalise the assessment scale, whilst minor inconsistencies will only reduce the assessment scale by small increments. The Health Check report will make recommendations and suggestions on how to possibly resolve such issues.

Initial Installation Audit
  Success Assessment scale

  Latest Joomla! v1.x release
  Non "Stable" version notification
  High security risk notification
General Environment Audit
  Host information
    Platform
    Architecture
    Operating System
    IP Address
  Web-Server version
    Port
    Configuration environment
  PHP version
    Enabled common extensions
  MySQL version
    Connection method
  Joomla! Configuration
    Online/Offline status
    Live Site details
    Configured/Actual Absolute Path
    .htaccess use
    Cache settings
    SEF settings
Standard Joomla! Pre-Installation Checks
  Extension Support
    zlib support
    XML support
    MySQL support
    Save Session Path status
  Security Settings
    Joomla! RG_EMULATION status
    PHP register_globals status
  Recommended Settings
    Safe Mode status
    Display Errors status
    File Uploads status
    Magic Quotes GPC status
    Magic Quotes Runtime status
    Output Buffering status
    Session Auto Start status
  Directory and File Mode Check
 
Joomla! Diagnostic
A "hash" comparison of the installed Joomla! files and the original Joomla! Distribution release files is performed. The Diagnostic report provides feedback of changed, missing or potentially corrupt files within the Joomla! installation allowing the end-user to determine if there are potentially going to be installation problems if run prior to completing the Web-Installer or possibly solving post installation issues caused by FTP upload corruption or unauthorised modification of core files and potential security risks associated with poorly coded extensions allowing direct access to content or scripts.

Standard Checks Performed
  Security Status
    register_globals setting
    RG_EMULATION setting
  Missing Files
  Corrupt or Modified Files
  Misisng Direct Access Validation
 
Permissions Auditing
Permissions auditing provides the end-user with a comprehensive view of all Directories and Files within the Joomla! installation, including their ownership, current pemrissions mode and Web-Server accessibility and Write capability.

Working on the assumption of 755 for Directories and 644 for Files as the permissions base and being the generally accepted best practice, the Joomla! Tools Suite Permissions Audit report will determine and highlight any permissions not below these modes in the following manner;

Directories and Files
  Green    : Generally sane and acceptable
  
Blue       : Elevated pemrissions but could still be acceptable
  
Red       : World-Writable, potential of a security exposure ( name also highlighted yellow )

Files Only
  Warning Triangle : Potentially suspect file found ( .pl, .cgi, .zip, .tar, .tar.gz )
  
Size and Last Modified Date
   
Extensions Auditing
This section of JTS provides feedback to the end-user relating to currently installed Components, Modules and Mambots, the report includes Name, Version/Release, author contact details and a description of its purpose. To assist with security management and control each extension is colour coded to differentiate between Joomla! Core extensions and 3rd Party Developer extensions.

Extension Differentiation
  Green   
: Joomla! Core extension

  
Red       : 3rd Party supplied extension

 
DB Maintenance
Providing a simple interface in to the Health of the Joomla! Database, the JTS DB Maintenance routine initially provides the end-user with details of MySQL backend connection and performs a database table-space Health and Status check. There is also provision made for the end-user to immediately "Optimise" the Joomla! tables, cleaning up allocated but unused space potentially improving the perfomance of the database and thus the Joomla! Web Site in the front-end.

DB Maintenance automatically runs a table-space health check, confirmong that all the standard required Joomla! tables are present, readable and useable. Any errors found during these checks will be highlighted in red, if required and possible, DB Maintenance will attempt to repair any damaged or corrupt Joomla! core tables.

Selecting the "Optimise Now" button will activate the Database Optimisation routines of MySQL and is not run automatically when entering this section of JTS. Database Optimisation should only be run during quiet or offline periods to avoid the potential to effect front-end performance or possibility of table corruption.