Joomla! Frontend & Backend presentation

Simon Grange.


You have just completed the installation of your Joomla! website. Now, let's take a quick tour of this site. In this chapter, we will use the example of a Joomla! installation with sample data.


Quick Reminder, your Joomla! site is composed of two parts: 

  • The website area (or frontend). It is the “visible” or “public” part of the website, to which your visitors and users access.
  • The administration area (or backend). This is the website's “hidden” part where you (and maybe other administrators) will organize what will be displayed on the frontend of your site.


Access these two parts at the following addresses:


The website area (or frontend):

If you are using WAMP or another software on Windows 
If you are using MAMP on Mac OS http://localhost:8888/sitejoomla
If you installed Joomla! on live server


The administration area (or backend):

If you are using WAMP or another software on Windows 
If you are using MAMP on Mac OS http://localhost:8888/sitejoomla/administrator
If you installed Joomla! on live server


A quick tour of the Frontend

If you installed Joomla! with sample data, your website's home page looks like this:


Home page with sample data



On this home page, you can find 4 published articles (1), a login module (2), 3 navigation menus (3), the website's title (chosen during the installation process) (4), a search module (5), a breadcrumb trail (6), your site's copyright (7) and a link directing to the top of the page (8).

The sample data give you an idea of what you will be able to achieve with Joomla 3. These sample data also introduce the CMS, its features, its community ( Take the time to look through the articles and to read them.

You can also connect to the site. Once this is done, a new menu (accessible to registered and connected people only) will appear. From this menu (the Member Menu), you will be able to check your profile, to submit an article or a weblink.

Try it out, practise using your site's features ;)


A quick tour of the administration (Backend)

When connecting to the Backend of your site (see above), you will be taken to this login page:

Joomla Backend login

Administration login page


Enter the username and the password that you chose in step 1 of the installation of Joomla!, then click the Login button.

Once logged in, you will see the administration control panel screen:

Joomla Backend control-panel

Administration control panel


1 – The drop-down menu: you will be able to access the different parts of your administration from this menu.
2Recently added articles: the articles that have been recently added are listed here.
3 – Logged-in users: all the users that are logged into the site, here you can see that only the super user's logged in.
4 – Most popular articles, sorted by number of views.
5 – Quick icons: they allow you to directly access some features without having to use navigation menus and sub-menus. These shortcuts are real time savers. It will be a good thing to learn how to use them.
An access to your account and a link to logout of the administration. When you're done working on your administration, it's recommended that you log out.
7 – A link to the frontend (public part) of your site.
8 – A link to the administration control panel (this page).
9 – The footer, it also contains some links we already mentioned (link to the site, link to log out and information on logged-in users).


The drop-down menu

This menu is always visible wherever you are in the administration area. However, in some cases (for example in items edition like in the articles, module or item menus), the drop-down menu will not be clickable, you'll notice that it is faded. To access this menu, you will have to quit the item you're editing (by saving it or simply by closing it).

This menu is composed of seven menu items, which themselves consist of sub-menus. Let's go into more details.



The system menu consists of 6 sub-items:

  • Control Panel: Back to the administration control panel, site's backend home page.
  • Global Configuration: This item menu gives you access to the following parameters:
    • Site: To change the settings of the site (name, the default editor...), the metadata settings (site description, keywords...) and the SEO settings  (Wikipédia), the possibility to put your site offline (useful during maintenance operations), etc.
    • System: To configure your Log folders, to activate the debug system, to manage the cache or the sessions' lifetime, etc.
    • Server: To configure everything related to FTP access, to the database, etc.
    • Permissions: To manage the permissions settings, the Joomla! ACL system. This topic will be detailed in the User management chapter.
    • Text Filters: To configure which HTML items submitted by the different user groups are authorized in content areas.
  • Global Check-in: To unlock items that are currently locked.
  • Clear Cache: Clearing the cache will delete all the cache files. This is useful to get rid of the outdated cache files after you've made some changes to your website for example. 
  • Purge Expired Cache: To delete only outdated cache files.
  • System Information: You will find here all the information about your system.



As the name suggests, this menu will allow you to manage your users, your user groups and your access levels. Since the version 2.5 of Joomla!, user management has been significantly improved, a whole chapter is dedicated to user management in Joomla!.

Caution: when changing parameters in user management, there's a risk of being denied access to the administration of your site. Before doing any modification, make sure you know what you are doing and don't forget to make backups!


The users menu consists of 6 sub-menus:

  • User Manager: To see all the registered users.
  • Groups: To see all the user groups created on the site. If you installed Joomla! with sample data, you should have 11 user groups, 9 otherwise.
  • Access Levels: To see all the different access levels created on the site. If you installed Joomla! with sample data, you should have 5 access levels, 4 otherwise.
  • User Notes: To manage your user notes.
  • User Note Categories: Categories to manage your user notes.
  • Mass Mail Users: To manage emails to be sent to your users, based on groups.

Each time you hover your mouse over one of these sub-menus, a new level of sub-menus appears (Add a new user, Add a new group, etc.) allowing you to directly access the form to create a new item.



This menu enables you to manage all the menus published on your site's Frontend.

  • Menu Manager: To manage existing menus, to create new ones, to delete useless menus.
  • Main Menu: By default, Joomla! creates a menu (called main menu) which contains the default menu item of your site (your site's home page). Without this menu item, your site cannot be displayed. That is why you must not delete this menu item.
  • Sample Menus: If you installed Joomla! with sample data, here you can find other menus such as the “Members Menu” (appearing only when you're connected to the site's Frontend), the “Top Menu” or the “Fruit Shop”, etc. 

Each time you hover your mouse over one of these sub-menus, a new level of sub-menus appears (Add a new menu item, Add a new menu link) allowing you to directly access the form to create a new item.

For more information, see the chapter on Menus.



It's in the administration area of your site that you will create your content. More information in the Articles and Categories Managers chapter.

  • Article Manager: Where you will be able to manage, sort, create, delete your articles.
  • Category Manager: Where you will be able to manage, sort, create, delete your categories.
  • Featured Articles: Manage your featured articles.
  • Media Manager: Upload and manage your pictures and other media files so you can insert them in your content thereafter. More information in the Media Manager chapter.

Each time you hover your mouse over one of these sub-menus, a new level of sub-menus appears (Add a new article or Add a new category) allowing you to directly access the form to create a new item.


From this menu, you will have access to the different components that are installed on your Joomla! site. If you install a new component, you can manage its settings in this menu. Each Joomla! native component is detailed further in this book, in a chapter of its own.

  • Banners - To manage the banners (ads or not) and how to display them on the site.
  • Contacts - To create contact forms through which visitors can contact you (or other users if you also created a contact form for them).
  • Newsfeeds - To publish information coming from other sites on your website.
  • Web Links - To publish lists of web links (with description) to outside sites, to your partners' or friends' sites for example.
  • Messaging - To allow site administrators to communicate with each other.
  • Joomla! Update - To manage CMS updates.
  • Search - This component allows users to search through the site's content.
  • Smart Search - Is a new search component which aims at replacing the search component (com_search).
  • Redirect - It lists the broken links of your website so that you can fix them by redirecting them to new addresses.
  • Tags - To display content from different extensions.
  • Post-installation messages - To read the important post-installation messages after the installation or updates of third-party extensions or after updating Joomla! itself.   


In this menu you will find all the extensions that are installed on your website.

  • Extension Manager: Install, update, uninstall your extensions. More information in the Extensions chapter.
  • Module Manager: It allows you to manage your site's modules (in Frontend and Backend). You will be able to create new modules, to publish or unpublish them, to configure them or delete them, etc. More information in the Modules chapter.
  • Plug-in Manager: Here you can manage your site's plug-ins (in Frontend and Backend). You will be able to publish or unpublish them, to configure them, etc. More information in the Plug-ins chapter.
  • Template Manager: Here you will be able to work on your templates, to modify them, to apply them to specific menu items, to duplicate them, etc. More information in the Templates chapter.
  • Language Manager: To manage your website's languages (in Frontend and Backend). More information in the Languages and Multilingual Site chapters.



The Help menu gathers different links to websites that will probably be of great use:

  • Joomla Help: A documentation installed on your site.
  • Official Support Forum: Link to Joomla! official forum's index page.
  • Documentation Wiki: Link to Joomla! official documentation.
  • Joomla Extensions: Link to the JED (Joomla! Extensions Directory) in which you can find more than 10,000 Joomla! extensions.
  • Joomla Translations: Link to the translation page for Joomla!.
  • Joomla Resources: Link to various Joomla! resources.
  • Community Portal: Link to Joomla! community where you can find many blogs and news on Joomla!.
  • Security Center: A link to Joomla! security center, where you can find/post information on security issues related to the CMS.
  • Developer Resources: Various resources for developers.
  • Joomla Shop: A link to Joomla official shop.