Joomla is one of the well-known and widely used content management systems (CMS). Joomla as any other CMS helps you build and maintain a website without prior knowledge to any web development programming language. Many companies, universities and organizations rely on Joomla as a backbone for their websites (e.g. Burger King, Danone, Vodafone). One of the major alternatives to Joomla is WordPress, both WordPress and Joomla are open-source, widely adopted and reliable content management systems that you can rely on to build a website.
Learning Joomla can help you in many ways; you can find a part time job as a web developer, create a personal blog or create a website for your small business. This post will inform you how to learn Joomla for free as a beginner through presenting and comparing between free online outlets available for beginners to start learning Joomla. You should note that the sources stated in this post presents full structured courses (not just an article or a video) that can help a beginner in getting the kick-start required to build a website using Joomla. It should also be noted that there are many topics in Joomla (e.g. Using Joomla to build a website, creating a theme for Joomla, etc.); this post will concentrate on using Joomla to build a website only.
Hint: Many think that they need a server to run Joomla; well that’s true, but you can still as a beginner experiment with Joomla on your local computer using WampServer that you can download for free. It’s highly recommended for beginners to install Joomla on WampServer and play around with it before paying for hosing and going public.
How to Start Learning Joomla from Scratch
SiteGround are actually a web hosting company, but they’ve an excellent tutorial for Joomla. What is unique about their tutorial is that it’s available in both text and video formats. To have access to the tutorial you don’t have to register, just go to their website click on the tutorial and you’re ready to go. If you want the video tutorials, go to the bottom of the page and you shall find a link to them.
Structure: The text tutorial is divided into 7 sections; each section covers certain topics in Joomla. On the other hand the video tutorial is divided into 8 modules each module has a group of videos that covers certain topics in Joomla. It’s worth noting that the video tutorial is created by Joomla co-founder Brian Teeman.
Interface: You can choose either the text based tutorial or the video tutorial from the list at the left hand side of the screen as seen below. This list will expand and you’ll find the various lessons available, just click on the one you’re interested in and you’re ready to go.
- The tutorial is well-structure and it’s very helpful for beginners.
- The tutorial is available as text as well as video.
- The only drawback is that the tutorial doesn’t cover the new features in the new Joomla release, though that might not be a big problem for beginners.
Verdict: It’s an excellent source for beginners to start learning Joomla. It’s suitable for you if you prefer to watch video tutorials then read about what you’ve just watched. It’ll be your first stop in your Joomla learning journey.
Build a Joomla Website
Build a Joomla Website is another online outlet where you can learn Joomla for free through video tutorials. There is no registration required to start the course, the course is well-structured for beginners and the explanation is straight forward and makes it easy for beginners to follow along. The course is a video tutorial and there’s a free book that you can download if you register.
Structure: The course is divided into 20 video tutorials; each video tutorial covers a certain topics in Joomla.
Interface: The interface is very simple; a list of available lessons is found in a list at the right hand side of the screen as seen below, click on the lesson and the video tutorial will start directly in the same window.
- The course is well-structure for beginners.
- The explanation is straight forward which makes it easy for beginners to follow along.
- The course covers Joomla 2.5 not the latest release, though that might not be a big problem for beginners.
Verdict: It’s an excellent source for beginners to start learning Joomla, but you should know that the lessons only cover Joomla 2.5 not the latest release, but again that might not be a problem for beginners.
Learners TV is a different outlet than the above stated outlets as you can learn nearly anything on learners TV. You don’t need to register to have access to the course, just log into the website and type what you want to learn in the search bar and you’ll be prompted by the available courses, click on the course you’re interested in and you’re ready to go. The course I’m recommending (the one you’ll be directly directed to when you click the above link) is well-structured for beginners and the explanation makes it very easy to follow along.
Structure: The course is divided into 45 video tutorials; each video tutorial covers a certain topics in Joomla.
Interface: The interface is very simple, just click on the video tutorial and the explanatory video will start right away.
- The course is well-structure for beginners.
- The explanation is straight forward and makes it easy for beginners to follow along.
- The instructor informs you how to install and use the WampServer.
- The course covers some of the intermediate and advanced topics in Joomla.
- There is no text based to accompany the video tutorial.
- The course covers an old Joomla release not the latest version, though that might not be a big problem for beginners.
Verdict: It’s an excellent source for beginners to start learning Joomla; what differentiates this course from the others is that the course covers some of the intermediate and advanced topics in Joomla; It also shows you how to install and use the WampServer. The only drawback is that the course covers an old release for Joomla not the latest version.
Cloud Access is a hosting company that provides a free tutorial for Joomla, this outlet has two unique things about it; the first is that the company gives anyone the ability to deploy Joomla on their service for free for one month (of course you can deploy Joomla on your local computer, but working with it on a real server raises the bar of your skills). The second unique thing is that the tutorials are available for Joomla 1.5, 2.5, 3.1 and 3.2.
Structure: Depending on Joomla’s release you’re interested in, for example Joomla’s 3.2 tutorial is text only (no video, though it should be noted that they’ve a webinar for Joomla 3.2 but it’s not broken down to sections, just one shot video), while Joomla’s 3.1 tutorial is a video tutorial.
Interface: The interface is quite simple, just click on the release you’re interested in and you’ll then be directed to a new window with a list of tutorials that are available for this release, click on the tutorials you’re interested in and you’re ready to go.
Now to the pros and cons of the service:
- The tutorial is available for many releases of Joomla.
- The tutorials are well structured.
- You can deploy Joomla for free using their service for one month.
- The tutorials don’t inform you how to deploy Joomla on your local computer, which is very important for beginners.
- The tutorial available for Joomla 3.2 is text only, though there’s a webinar available for it but it’s not divided into sections which makes it hard for beginners to follow along and revisit certain topics.
Verdict: If you want to try Joomla on a real server not on your local computer then Cloud Access is your way to go.
Note: I’ve known about this outlet from “Saurabh Shah” who’s informed me about it in a comment (when the website was hosted by Weebly), so the credit should be given to him.
Paid only Sources
Lynda: Lynda is somehow similar to Learners TV as you can nearly learn anything there through videos made by professional instructors. Lynda is a monthly subscription service (I shall provide a promo code that will make you eligible for a free 7 days trial). The difference between Learners TV and Lynda is that Lynda is a monthly subscription service while Learners TV is free. Log into: Lynda.com/gizwiz to have the 7 days free trial from Lynda (courtesy of the GizWiz show on the TWiT network, just click on “Lynda” stated at the beginning and you’ll be directed to it).
After registering (I’ve to warn you that even with the above promo code you’re required to input your credit card info) you can search for the course you want to learn, which is Joomla in our case then you’ve to select the level (e.g. Beginner, intermediate, Expert). If you want to be more specific you can type (e.g. creating a template for Joomla) and you shall see courses about it.
Verdict: Lynda.com is an excellent service, but I don’t recommend using it to learn Joomla as there are enough free sources for beginners to learn from.
Tip: You can always create a virtual credit card to register if you don’t wish to give them your credit card information.
- Start with the two video tutorials at Learners TV to know how to install and use the WampServer, if you felt comfortable with the instructor then follow along.
- SiteGround will be your main source for learning Joomla, after knowing how to install and use the WampServer on Learners TV go to SiteGround and start the course there.
- If you prefer to study from books only, then you can download the free from Build a Joomla Website, but you’ll need to register to download it.
- You should note that choosing one of the above three services will depend on your personal preferences as all of the three outlets offer a really valuable source to learn Joomla.
- If you want to deploy Joomla on a real server while learning it, then Cloud Access is your way to go.
- There are other free outlets where you can learn Joomla; Joomla tutorials, CMS teachings and online video lecture but the problem with these outlets is that the courses there aren’t well-structured, repeated else where and in some cases not working at all.
Remember that the first step is always the toughest step, and the aim of this post is to provide you with resources that will help you take your first step in Joomla.