Installing Joomla on my 2007/01/02

The Problem

The software that I was trying to get to work together:

  • Windows XP
  • Apache 2.2.3
  • PHP 5.2.0
  • MYSQL 5.0.20a-nt
  • Joomla 6022 2006-12-18 22:30:07Z friesengeist
  • phpMyAdmin

The error message from the Joomla pre-installation check (install.php) was “MySQL support unavailable.”

Sets of Solutions

I honestly don't know how many things I had wrong with my configuration. Some of my “fixes” may have caused me problems along the way. The things that worked to get phpMyAdmin running didn't solve all of the Joomla problems.

XAMPP: The road not taken

In retrospect, I can see that I could have solved all of my problems at one fell swoop by installing XAMPP. I console myself with the thought that I would have learned less about configuring my system if I'd done that. But I also would be about six or eight hours ahead of where I am now.

P.S. When rebuilding my desktop recently, I decided to install WAMP. It's a smaller package than XAMPP and gave me all I needed to run Apache, PHP, and MySQL on my Windows XP desktop. — 2008/02/22

What does "MySQL support" mean?


  • MySQL has to be installed:
    • as a service on the Apache server
    • with a username, password, and database intended to be used by Joomla.
  • PHP has to be configured to work with MySQL by:
    • selecting the MySQL extensions in PHP's setup;
    • modifying php.ini, a configuration file found in the PHP directory so that the extensions will be found and loaded.
  • Joomla has to be configured to work with MySQL by:
    • selecting the proper database.php file in Joomla's includes directory;
    • editing or generating the proper configuration.php file in Joomla's directory.

Installing MySQL with Apache

I downloaded MySQL and MySQL Administrator months ago to find out how they worked. I didn't understand what I was doing, but somehow or another I got this setup working:

MySQL Server Information

Connected to MySQL Server Instance
Username:                root
Port:                    3306

Server Information

MySQL Version:           MySQL 5.0.20a-nt via TCP/IP
Network Name:  

Client Information

Version:                 MySQL Client Version 5.0.11
Network Name:            IC-7577
IP:                      138.xx.xx.xx
Operating System:        Windows XP
Hardware:                AMD Athlon(tm) XP 2000+, 512 MB RAM

It seems to me that I had to let MySQL run as a service in order for Apache to find it and integrate it. I may also have had to tell Apache to look for MySQL and/or told it where it was. The Apache Monitor lists MySQL as a service that is running and reports this in the General tab of MySQL Properties:

"C:\Program Files\MySQL\MySQL Server 5.0\bin\mysqld-nt"
--defaults-file="C:\Program Files\MySQL\MySQL Server 5.0\my.ini" MySQL

Seeing MySQL running as a service in Apache gave me lots of hope that I could solve the other configuration problems.

Configuring PHP to work with MySQL

PHP is configured through php.ini, which is located in PHP's home directory (the directory to which I installed it). In my case, the file is C:\Program Files\PHP\php.ini .

After hacking at this file for a long time without changing the feedback from the Joomla or phpMyAdmin installers, I realized that I could see what effect the changes in php.ini had by running phpinfo.php . This is a very simple file that I created with a text editor in the htdocs folder of my Apache setup. The full contents of the file are:


BIG DOH! To see the effects of changes in php.ini, I had to make Apache restart after each change. php.ini is consulted by PHP only when the system starts up (DOH!) because it is an initialization file. You experts may all laugh at me now, but I'll bet you had to learn this the hard way, too, once upon a time. :-)

OK, so with that discovery under my belt, I gained confidence that the changes I was making were having the desired effect because they all showed up somewhere in the output from phpinfo.php when I directed my browser to that file. In my system, that works out to the URL:

(Don't ask me why I have to use :8080 to bring up my server. I don't know. Yet. I also don't remember how I stumbled across that workaround.)

After a while, because of a clue found while googling, I saw that phpinfo.php was telling me about my MySQL installation, too:


MysqlI Supportenabled
Client API library version 5.0.27
Client API header version 5.0.22
MYSQLI_SOCKET /tmp/mysql.sock

DirectiveLocal ValueMaster Value
mysqli.default_socketno valueno value

In retrospect, I probably ought to have edited this line in php.ini from:

display_errors = Off


display_errors = On

Alternatively, I could have watched the php errors by changing php.ini to have these lines:

log_errors = On
error_log = errors.txt

Then I could have read errors.txt after each tweak to see what happened. I probably would have picked up more information that way about what was and wasn't working. Oh, well–next time!

The rest of the php.ini fixes:

This line tells PHP where to look for .dll modules (extensions) on my system:

extension_dir =C:\Program Files\PHP\ext

Some pages say that the filename needs to end with a “\”. This line seems to be working OK on my system today, so I'm going to leave it alone.


Because phpinfo.php was reporting that MySQLI support was enabled, I downloaded the php_mysqli.dll and placed it in C:\Program Files\PHP\ext .

ANOTHER BIG DOH! “Nemo dat quod non habet”: No one can give what they don't have. I am ashamed of how long it took me to ask the question, “Do I have phy_mysqli.dll on my system?” I didn't have it anywhere on my computer when I started asking PHP to use it. I'll bet PHP would have been happy to tell me “file not found” if I'd been reading the +#$%&*! error messages. :-(

One of the most helpful things I learned is that PHP can be reconfigured after installation by taking the following steps:

  • Start
  • Control Panel
  • Add or Remove Programs
  • (find PHP on the list of installed programs)
  • Change
  • Select extensions to be added and follow the prompts to finish.

That produced a dramatic effect on the php.ini file. Suddenly, I had lots more information and more stuff to play with. Among the new lines I found these:

; Default port number for mysqli_connect().  If unset, mysqli_connect() will use
; the $MYSQL_TCP_PORT or the mysql-tcp entry in /etc/services or the
; compile-time value defined MYSQL_PORT (in that order).  Win32 will only look
mysqli.default_port = 3306

; Default host for mysql_connect() (doesn't apply in safe mode).
mysqli.default_host =

; Default user for mysql_connect() (doesn't apply in safe mode).
mysqli.default_user = root

; Default password for mysqli_connect() (doesn't apply in safe mode).
mysqli.default_pw = ******

I inserted root and filled in my password (indicated by the asterisks above). No harm in trying and I'm not going to go back and take them out to see what happens. This is a desktop server and security comes from keeping strangers away from my desktop.

In retrospect: The day I installed PHP and configured it to work with Apache, I turned down the offer to install any extensions because I didn't know what an extension was. I didn't foresee that I would like to install MySQL later nor did I understand how much grief that decision would cost me later. Here again, folks who go the XAMPP route will be spared this particular learning curve. Ignorance isn't always bliss.

Configuring Joomla to work with MySQL

There really is no point to fiddling with the Joomla setup until PHP and MySQL are talking with each other. I didn't know that last night, so I alternated fussing with php.ini and configuration.php with unremarkably poor results.

Getting phpMyAdmin to work made sure that the PHP/MySQL components were working together. It also gave me a method for creating a user, password, and database for Joomla to use, although I could just as easily have done that through MySQL Administrator. MySQL Administrator, however, does not interact with the database through PHP, so it wouldn't have confirmed that the setup was correct for future Joomla operations.

Joomla needs to have the right set of database functions available to it so that it can contact the database, put stuff in it, and get stuff back out of it. The package is shipped with three database function sets in the joomla\includes directory:


To change from one set of functions to another, you have to rename database.php to something else, then rename one of the other two to database.php . It's like a game of three-card Monty: it's real easy to lose track of which version is hiding under the database.php label, especially for a clueless newbie like myself. It turns out that the one I needed was database.mysqli.php, but since I'd tried it several times with no luck (because I didn't have PHP and MySQL playing nicely), I got confused and discouraged.

Even when I did manage to have PHP and MySQL working together, and even when I did have the right version of database.php installed, I still got the +#$%&*- error message, “MySQL support unavailable” with the Joomla installer.

My first approach was to manually edit configuration.php-dist and save it as configuration.php . The error messages that came onscreen from that let me finally pick the proper database.php file for my setup (database.mysqli.php) and confirm that it was working–but I ended up with a totally blank installation with no templates.

So I renamed my configuration.php to configuration.php.sav and started over with the installer. Still got the CONFOUNDED error message, but I ignored it and went on to the next few screens, filled in the joomla username, password, and database name that I had created, and finished the installation. IT WORKED!

I figure the whole process took about seven hours.

blog/joomla_problem.txt · Last modified: 2017/07/13 20:33 (external edit)
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