How Joomla Templates Work

What is a Joomla Template?

Joomla templates are basically the shell of your site. They are comprised of a series of files that determine the look and feel of a site once your content and modules have been put into place. A template determines things like fonts, colors, menu styles, navigation controls, basic layout design, and certain images such as the header and background (in some cases). A template is not an entire website in and of itself at all. It is more accurately described as a base on which your site's appearance and layout are formed.

Templates offer you the ability to completely separate a site's content from its design. This enables you to quickly switch between templates with only a small amount of necessary changes in the backend versus having to completely rebuild the site from the ground up. A CMS, like Joomla, gives you this ability.

While some templates offer a great degree of control over layout to users, others can be significantly more rigid. Templates built on a framework that offers a great deal of user customization options, can extend on the built-in backend options Joomla offers in a way that empowers the user to rearrange and reconfigure a site's layout without having to modify the template's code directly.

You can also modify an existing template to appear slightly different depending on which page you are accessing. For example, many sites are designed with a different layout for the home page than a single article page. You might not want some features to appear in specific areas of your site. By duplicating the template style and assigning the adjusted layout to specific pages, you can do this fairly easily.

How to install a Joomla template

Log into the back-end of your site (

Click on: Extensions -> Extension Manager

You see the page "Extension Manager"

From here you can install your Templates, Plugins, Modules, Components and Languages. You have three options:

  • Upload Package File - (select a package from your PC, upload and install it)
  • Install from Directory - (enter the path where the package is located on your server)
  • Install from URL - (enter the URL to the package)

Here, we choose the first method: Upload Package File

Select the package from your PC and click the button "Upload File & Install"

If the package contains no errors you are done and get a success message like the one below.