Want to try out that really cool, new extension you just found?
Stop! Do not upload it to your live site. You don't whether this new extension will harm your site. To find that out, you need a test site and we're going to show you how to make one.
In this tutorial, we're going to show you how to make a Joomla test site using Akeeba Backup. We'll make a complete and independent copy of an existing site in another directory. An added bonus is that this is the same procedure for making a backup or moving a site.
Step 1: Download Akeeba Backup
- You can download Akeeba Backup from the official download site: https://www.akeebabackup.com/download/official.html
- Two things to note:
- There is a free core version, which is all you need for this tutorial. They also have a professional version.
- There are Joomla 2.5 and 1.5 versions. You also need to take into account the PHP version you are running on your server. Akeeba supplies a handy chart so you can pick the correct version: https://www.akeebabackup.com/compatibility.html
- Install the Akeeba into your Joomla site.
Step 2: Create the Backup File
- Go to Components > Akeeba Backup
- Click Apply these preferences to run the Configuration Wizard.
- Click the Backup Now button.
- Use the Default Backup Profile.
- Click Backup Now!
- Add a comment if you want to keep notes about this backup.
- Be patient and wait for the backup to complete. It may take a while on a large site or slow server.
- You'll see a message saying "Congratulations! The backup process has completed successfully."
- Click Administer Backup Files.
Step 3: Download the Backup File
- Click the Part file name in the manager.
- You will get a warning. Browsers are not the best tool for downloading, however they work more times than not. If you use this method and have trouble restoring the file, you'll need to use an FTP file manager like Filezilla to download the file. If you need to use FTP, The actual location of the file will be /administrator/components/com_akeeba/backup. The file will have a jpa extensions and it will be date and time stamped.
Step 4: Upload the Archive to the Server
- Create a folder on your server where you want to install your test site.
- Upload the archive file to the server. If it is a large site, Akeeba Backup may have divided it up into several files. Upload all of these files to your chosen folder.
Step 5: Upload Akeeba Kickstart
- Akeeba Kickstart is the tool you'll use to restore the site after you make the backup. You'll need to download this as well: https://www.akeebabackup.com/downloads/akeeba-kickstart.html. You will not need to install this in Joomla. This will be uncompressed and loaded to the server via FTP.
- Upload kickstart.php to the same directory as the backup archive.
Step 6: Create a Database
Go to your server's control panel or phpMyAdmin and create a database for the site copy. Be sure you record the database connection information.
- Database host name. This is usually localhost, but you may need to double-check with your host
- Database name. The name of the database you are restoring to. If you are on a host powered by cPanel or Plesk do note that the name of the database includes an account-specific prefix. If your account name is foo and the name of your database you asked to create is bar, the full database name is foo_bar.
- Database user name. The user name you use to connect to your database. The same thing about the naming prefix on cPanel and Plesk hosts is true for the username as well.
- Database user password.
- Your preferred table name prefix. The prefix is not part of the database creation process,, it's just a matter of your personal preference. The default database table prefix in J1.5 is -- , but you may use anything you want. It's best to pick a name consisting of three to four letters and a single trailing underscore, i.e. tst_ or test_. Do not use bak_ as it is a reserved prefix for keeping copies of replaced tables when you select the Backup old tables option in the Akeeba Backup Installer later in the process.
Note: If you are restoring a site, and want to use the exact same database, you can get the information from your original site's confguration.php file. Check this tutorial for where to find the file and connection information.
Now you should be ready to unpack the archive and create the new copy of the existing site.
Step 7: Run the Install Process
- Access Kickstart by visiting its URL which looks like http://localhost/mysite/kickstart.php on local hosts or http://www.yoursite.com/mysite/kickstart.php on live hosts.
- You'll see some notices. Press ESC or the link to make these notices disappear.
- Read the steps. If you have questions about any of them refer to Akeeba's documentation. The defaults will work most of the time.
- Click Start.
- Click Run the Installer.
- You will see a page which checks your server configuration. If you see any red "No"s, correct the problems before you proceed or after you're done. Many of these are warnings, not failures, and Joomla will still operate even if they are highlighted. For fixing the problems, you can check this tutorial http://www.ostraining.com/blog/joomla/installation-problems/
- After the server check, click Next. The Next button is at the upper right of the screen, easy to miss.
- The next screen will show you a form that is already populated with the database information from the ORIGINAL Joomla installation. Replace this with the NEW database information you recorded when you created the database.
- Click Next at the top right, after you have filled the proper information.
- You will now see a progress bar. Click OK when it has finished.
- Fill in the site details:
- ll that remains is to remove the installation folder. You can do that by clicking the link on this page. Alternately you could use FTP or the file manager to delete the folder named /installation/ in the test site's Joomla root directory.