Documentation for Joomla Templates - HotThemes

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This document will guide you how to install any HotThemes Joomla template onto your server. It will also describe some of the template's features and explain how to use the extensions included in the template package. However, it will not teach you Joomla or some basic web design techniques (see Assumptions part).

You don't like to read guides?

Well, you must read (at least) this:

  1. Unzip (unarchive) what you downloaded prior to using it!
  2. Don't install this Joomla template as you usually install templates. Make sure you follow HotStart instructions to install this template properly!
  3. You don't need to install Joomla prior to template installation! Joomla is included in the HotStart template installation.

This document has been written for Joomla 2.5 and Joomla 3 (the process is the same for both versions).


1) Assumptions

You know Joomla!

This document will not teach you how to use Joomla and it's assumed that you have a fair knowledge of this matter. You may read official Joomla! documentation here: or find some nice books about Joomla! here:

You know how to unpack (unzip) the archive

It's assumed that you know what's ZIP and how to unzip the archive you downloaded.

You know how to use a FTP program

It's assumed that you know what's FTP and how to use it. You can use any FTP program to upload files onto the server, however, we strongly recommend FileZilla. We found it as a stable and reliable software. It can be downloaded for all platforms for free here:

Use only plain text editors

If you need to edit a file that's a part of our templates or extensions, please use only plain type text editors. On Windows, you can use Notepad (and you must not use WordPad or MS Word). On Mac, you can use TextEdit, but make sure it works in Plain Text Mode (TextEdit > Preferences > New Document > Plain Text).

You have a Joomla compatible hosting account

It's assumed that you have an hosting account that's compatible with Joomla. Check technical requirements of Joomla and make sure your host meets them: If you don't have an hosting account yet, we recommend HostGator's Linux packages because they're reliable and 100% Joomla compatible.


2) I installed template in my Joomla, but it's not like demo

This is the most common error! You can not install template through Joomla!

Please read HotStart Installation section of this document to install the template properly!

You should not install Joomla prior to template installation! If you want to copy demo data that comes with the template, please follow HotStart Installation instructions instead. This method contains a new Joomla installation. This is the only way to copy demo data!

If you have a live site that already contains data, you may insist not to install a new Joomla. But you can't copy demo data in this case (it would overwrite your site's data) and you must setup everything manually. Please read how to change Joomla template on existing website.


3) HotStart Installation

You have purchased this product (most likely) because you were impressed with our demo! Now, you expect to see that same on your server. This is possible if you install template using HotStart installation method.

Once you finish this installation method, you should get exactly the same copy of the template demo site on your server. Let's start!

Step 1 - Unpacking (unzip)

directory treeDownload the archive from our server. Unzip it on your computer. It contains several files. One of the files is Create a separate folder on your computer and unzip there. The unpacking may take several minutes. If you did it well, you would see several folders and files (see image).

All these files and folders actually represent a Joomla installation package. It's modified to copy our demo data instead of default Joomla demo data.

Step 2 - Uploading files

Using the FTP program (such as free FileZilla - upload all files and folders (that you unpacked in the previous step) to your hosting space. There are many files (several thousands), so it may take some time, depending of your upload connection speed.

ftp uploading

The left pane of your FTP program represents the folder on your computer where you unpacked archive. The right pane represents a folder on your web hosting space. If you'd like to install template in the root site folder (to see it when you go to, make sure you're uploading files into site's root folder. To find out what's site's root folder of your hosting space, consult your hosting provider.

At the end of uploading process, your left and right pane must contains the same files and folders. Make sure there are no files in the "Failed Transfers" pane (bottom). If there are some files, upload them again.

Step 3 - Check permissions

If your host is based on cPanel, your permissions are probably OK after upload. However, if your hosting is not based on cPanel, we must make sure that your web server can access the files you uploaded. This is very important, otherwise you will have problems during installation or later.

Make sure the folder where you uploaded files is readable by server (all folders should have permissions set to 755, and all files should have permissions set to 644). You can check this in the "Permissions" column (the right pane) in FileZilla.

If the permissions are not correct, you must change them! Select all the files and folders (in the right pane), right-click and select File permissions...

ftp permissions

Enter 755 in the field "Numeric value". Select "Recurse into subdirectories" option and select "Apply to directories only". Click OK and FileZilla will change permissions of all folders. It may take several minutes.

Now, repeat the procedure for the files. Select all the files and folders (in the right pane) again, right-click and select File permissions... Enter 644 in the field "Numeric value". Select "Recurse into subdirectories" option and select "Apply to files only". Click OK and FileZilla will change permissions of all files. It may take several minutes.

Make sure once again that all files and folders have correct permissions. Look at the permissions column. Browse the folders (such as "administrator", "components"...) and make sure that files and folders inside them also have the correct permissions set (755 for folders, 644 for files).

If you can't change the permissions, maybe it's not allowed by your hosting provider. Ask your hosting provider to change permissions of the uploaded files and folders for you.

Step 4 - Prepare MySQL database

Your hosting account must have at least one MySQL database included. You should know connection parameters of the database. The connection parameters are:

  1. Database Host (usually it's "localhost" or IP address or address)
  2. Database Name (this is the name of your database)
  3. Database User Name (this is the name of user that connects to the database)
  4. Database Password (this is the password of user that connects to the database)

You will get these parameters when you create database on your host. If you don't have those MySQL connection parameters or don't know how to create database, please consult your hosting provider.

Step 5 – Starting Joomla installation

In case that you uploaded the HotStart files in the root folder of your hosting space, in browser go to (change with your site address.

If you uploaded the HotStart files into a subfolder of your hosting space, you should go to (change subfolder with folder name where you uploaded files.

Starting Joomla installation

If you see this screen on your browser, you're good to proceed.

The first screen allows you to select language for the installation procedure only. On this screen, you should enter your site name, your email, Joomla administrator's username and password. Click NEXT to continue.

If you got 404 error (page not found), you probably missed the root folder. Root folder of your web hosting space are usually named as "public_html" or "html". But it can be anything else. Contact your hosting provider and ask where is your site's root folder, if you are unsure.

Step 6 - MySQL connection

You should enter MySQL database connection parameters (that you prepared in Step 4) now. Enter your Database's Host Name, Username, Password and Database Name into the fields.

You can leave the Table Prefix field unchanged as it is selected randomly. Click NEXT.

MySQL Connection

If you got an error message, please check database parameters. It's important to enter them correctly. Hostname is address of your MySQL server (can be localhost, IP address...). Database Name is the name of your database. Username is the name of the user that connects to the database (don't mix it with database name). Password is a secret word that User uses to connect to the database. If you don't know correct parameters, please contact your hosting provider.

Step 7 – Select demo data

On this screen, you can select what sample data pack to install. Make sure you selected option SELECT THIS FOR HOTSTART. Otherwise, demo data that comes with our template will not be installed

The installer checks your server to find out if it's compatible with Joomla. If all items are green, you can click NEXT. Even if some items are marked red in the bottom part (under Pre-installation Check and Recommended Settings), you can continue, but problems after installation are possible in this case. If you see any parts marked red, please contact your hosting provider to resolve the problem.

Select Demo Data

Step 8 - Wait until the installation script works...

It make take from several seconds to several minutes until the installation script complete installation. It depends of template and of speed of your server. Please be patient...

Wait Until Installation Script Works...

If installation is stuck after 5 minutes or more, it's probably failed to complete. You should try again with different browser. Before that, delete "configuration.php" file from the root folder of your site using FTP program.

Step 9 - Removing the installation folder

Installation completed

Congratulations, Joomla is now installed! However, there's one more small step. The last screen of the Joomla installation informs you that you should delete Installation folder from your web hosting space to complete the installation. You can do it by clicking the Remove Installation Folder button on this screen. After clicking this button, you should get a confirmation message "Installation folder successfully removed",

Remove installation folder

On some servers, it's not possible to delete the installation folder this way. If that's your case, go back to FTP program and delete it manually. In FileZilla, select "installation" folder, right-click and select Delete. This is probably caused by wrong permissions on your web server. It's possible that you will have other issues with this installation until you fix the permissions.

joomla standard installation


4) Basic Template Installation (no demo data)

If you are about to start a new website, it's strongly recommended to use the HotStart method explained in previous chapter.

The Basic Installation method assumes that you don't need our demo data. Keep in mind, after this installation, your site will not look the same as our demo server! The only reason to install template using this method, and not the HotStart method, is to keep data that you already have on the site. But in this case, after template installation, you must setup many things manually. Please read this blog post for details about changing template on an existing website: change Joomla template on existing website.

Step 1 - Determine your Joomla version

Make sure you know what's your Joomla version. You can check this in the top right corner or in the footer of your Joomla administrator's panel. The first two numbers are important, so your Joomla version can be 1.5.x, 1.6.x, 1.7.x, 2.5.x, 3.x.x and so on. The x is not important here and can be any value.

Some Joomla versions may be discontinued during time. This means they are not supported anymore by the Joomla community. From our site, you can download template for current (latest) Joomla version. If you are using a Joomla version that's discontinued, you should upgrade it as soon as possible for security reasons! Do it before the template installation!

Step 2 – Download and unzip the correct template archive

If your Joomla version is 2.5, you should download archive "", if it is 3.4, you should download archive "", and so on...

Don't try to install this file! As its name suggests, you should unzip it first!

When you unzip this archive, you will have several files. The file you should use for the Basic Template Installation is named as "". In the name, XX represents the first two numbers of the Joomla version. This template should be installed only in this version of Joomla.

Step 3 – Check Joomla permissions

Make sure all folders of your Joomla have permissions set to 755. You can check this from FTP program and if you go to Site > System Information > Directory Permissions. All directories listed here must have status "writable".

Step 4 - Upload template through Joomla Administrator panel

In Joomla Administrator's panel, go to Extensions > Extensions Manager. Click "Choose File" button and select file "" from your computer. Click "Upload & Install" button.

Standard template installation

If everything went well, you would see the confirmation about template installation on the next screen.

Standard template installation confirmation message

Step 5 - Change default template

After template installation, go to Extensions > Template Manager. You will see the new template in the list of available templates. To make this template default, click on its star in the Default row.

Change default template

Step 6 – The result is different than what you've seen on our Demo?

Yes, this is true! Since you installed template only, the demo data have not been installed. Most likely, your site looks messy now. You need less or more work to make it look properly.

So, if you need template with Demo data, please complete HotStart Installation. Step-by-step instructions are in the HotStart chapter of this document.


5) Template Parameters

Our templates are highly customizable. Some templates allows you to change layout, colors, font, widths, and so on.

To reach the Template Parameters page, in your Joomla administrator's panel, go to Extensions > Template Manager. You see the list of all available templates. Click on the template's name to open the Templates: Edit Style page where you can set various parameters of the template.

template parameters

Different templates have different parameters. We will not explain individual parameters here, because there are hundreds of them for various templates. You can guess the parameter's purpose yourself from its name. Also, you can see the explanation of each parameter when you move mouse pointer over the parameter's name.

If you are using an older template, before Sparky Framework, your Template Parameters page looks like this:

template parameters

If you are using a newer template based on the Sparky Framework, your Template Parameters page looks like this:

template parameters sparky

Pre-defined and Custom Color Styles

The templates usually come with several pre-defined color styles. The color style can be selected in the Edit Style page, in Template Layout tab. Please keep in mind, if any pre-defined color scheme has been selected, then whatever you entered in the parameters below would be disregarded (however, you selection would be saved). To use your own template parameters, you must select Custom Style in Template Layout tab to activate your custom parameters.

If you want to keep most of the settings of (in example) Style 3, and change only a couple of them, then you can edit the pre-defined style's file using a plain text editor. Open file <joomla root>/templates/hot-templatename/styles/style3.php. You will see all the parameters in the textual format. In example, to change value for body text, you edit this line:

$bodyText = "#555555";

Here, you can edit a color's hex number (555555), but you must not change anything else (special characters), otherwise you can get a server error message.

Different Parameters on Different Pages

If you want a parameter with different values on the Page A and the Page B, then you can use multiple template styles (new feature from Joomla 1.6).

After template installation, you have only one template style in Template Manager. It's named as hot_templatename - Default. If this template is marked as default site template, then all site's pages will be shown using this template and parameters.

You can make a copy of the Default style in the Template Manager page (select it and click "Duplicate") or in the Edit Style page (click "Save as Copy"). Now, you have two styles of the same template, but only one can be marked as default (notice the star in the Default column!). It's now possible to edit the parameters of the second (copied) template style independently of the default style. Finally, using Menus Assignment section, it's possible to assign this template style to the certain pages (menu items). Those pages will be rendered using the duplicated style, while all the rest pages will be rendered using the default style.

Using Different Pre-defined Styles on the Site

Create a template style duplicate, as explained above. In the default style, in Template Layout tab, select (in example) Style 1. In the duplicated style, select (in example) Style 2 and select pages (menu items) where to use this style (under Menus Assignment).


6) Module Positions

Module positions are place holders for your Joomla modules. If you install template using HotStart method, all modules will be pre-installed and placed in the appropriate module positions. If you didn't use the HotStart installation, then you must setup all the modules yourself and select appropriate module position for each module.

Each template demo contains several dozens of module positions. We prepared a graphically presented "map" of all available module positions for this template. To find this "map" for your template, go to this link and select the template by its name. The image with module positions map for this template will be opened.


7) Typography

Typography determines what fonts will be used on your site. Templates come with different typography aspects, depending of the overall template style.

You would need to use different font styles for headings, subheadings, paragraphs, lists, quotes and so on. However, all those font styles should be in harmonic relations. The art of typography starts there!

Our templates come with pre-defined font styles for most commonly used elements of text. Furthermore, there are some additional font styles that you may find useful for your site. To see how all text styles available in a specific template, please visit our demo server ( and select your template. Then select the Typography link from the menu. The Typography page will show you all text styles available in this template as well as how to implement them on your text.

Of course, you will need some HTML/CSS knowledge to create text elements (paragraphs, lists, block-quotes...) and apply style to them.

The scope of this manual is not to teach you HTML and CSS. You may find so many books and video tutorials about HTML/CSS on the Internet. It's assumed that you know a little bit of HTML and CSS. If you know how to create HTML elements (paragraphs, headings, lists...) and how to apply styles to the elements, you are experienced enough to read and understand the Typography page mentioned above.

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