First Time Installation - jDownloads 4 series


There are several sections to this article.  If you are a completely new to both Joomla! and jDownloads then all of the sections apply.
jDownloads has a significant number of facilities.  There are numerous articles describing the various caperbilities. To help first time users with setting up, an initial Reading List is given towards the end of this article.
jDownloads v4 was released in April 2023

Which Version

Different versions of jDownloads exists for the different versions of Joomla!
These are summarised in the table below where the 'green' background indicates the supported versions.  If you are in the 'red' zone then you will need to upgrade your Joomla! and jDownloads to Joomla! 3.2 and then to Joomla! 3.9.  Note there is only a direct migration of jDownloads versions in the 'red' zone to the jDownloads 3.2 series.  That is you cannot go from the 'red' zone directly to the jDownloads 3.9 series.  Please see the jDownloads 3.2 documentation - migration for more details.

Minimum Requirements

  • PHP 7.2.5 (8.0 recommended)
  • MySQL 5.7+ or equivalent MariaDB level (10.2) - 10.3 prefered
  • Joomla 3.9+ or newer

jDownloads checks your site for these minimum requirements before installing or updating.  If they are not met then the install or update does not occur.

The file size of the installation zip package is currently just over 3MB, so make sure that your server settings for (upload_max_filesize ) is also greater than 3MB, say 5MB.  Actually this may need to be even higher in order to upload larger files in jDownloads. This will also apply to many extensions that you may wish to add such as the JCE editor or Akeeba backup which are both larger than the size required for jDownloads.  Usually however the limit is already above this size.

Installing jDownloads

The first step is to download the latest version of jDownloads 4 by going to (opens in a new window/tab) and then selecting Downloads. You can step though to find the latest jDownloads component for Joomla and download to your PC into a suitable location.
In Joomla select the Home Menu and then click on the system buttonbutton system

This gives the system dashboard page. 

Find the section button installand click on V4 button extensions.
Home menuextension menu
This shows the various ways of installing an extension.

If using the V4 tab upload package file method then either browse or drop the jDownloads zip file onto the web page.

This goes through two stages:
Uploading and Installation.  A progress bar is shown.
drag and drop

On completion it gives details of the installation as indicated opposite

It is most important that you click on the button start jd button.
installation 01
The jDownloads 4.0 Control Panel has many different features.

For more information please see the article Control Panel in the documentation. 

In common with Joomla! there is no explicit Configuration but rather options are accessed by the Options buttons at the top right of the Control Panel.

Note also you may see an 'advisory' message about creating a menu item.  This is detailed below.
jd control page

If you get a Succesful Install Message then go to the Create Menu Item below.    Should you get an error message during installation then please see the notes in the Appendix.

Create Menu Item

To create links to Downloads and categories, it is essential to create a jDownloads 'List all Categories' menu item in the main menu. You may make the menu item hidden if you wish.
Note: if you are creating a multilingual site then the main menu for each language should also have a 'List All Categories' menu item.

Go to the Joomla! Menus button menu10 on the Home Dashboard and select the button main menu .  Fill in the Title with something like 'List all jD Categories' and then click on the Select button button-select .  A pull down list appears so click on jDownloads and then on List All Categories as shown opposite.

Failure to add at least this menu item will cause jDownloads to 'misbehave' as it requires the menu item for internal navigation.

If you need more details on creating a jDownloads menu item see the article Menus Overview and Details  (opens in a new window/tab).

This will show something like the picture opposite.

Ensure that it is Published.

If you wish to 'hide' the menu item then click on the  menu19  tab and then set the option 'Display in Menu' to No   menu16
Finally use the button save close button.

Initial jDownloads State

When first installed jDownloads has:
  • only one Category (folder) called 'Uncategorised';
  • no Downloads - for reference a Download is the combination of a file that is downloadable and all the extra information (images, preview, descriptions, price, symbol and lots more) that is stored in the database;
  • permissions set so that anyone is able download. For more in-depth information and examples of setting Permissions and View Access levels see the article  Controlled Access to Categories and Downloads (Permissions & Access Levels);
  • 12 modules and 6 plugins - see the documentation for more details on the available jDownloads Modules and Plugins.

Errors when using jDownloads

The usual source of errors when using jDownloads are caused by adding Third Party Extensions that support jDownloads but need updating to a version that supports the jD4 series. Please see 3rd party extensions (opens in new page) for more details.  If you are unclear then please contact us through the Forum.

Future Setup Decisions

The next few decisions in configuring jDownloads depend upon what capabilities you want for your site.  Some key issues are noted below.  There are several articles dealing with these points elsewhere in the documentation.
  1. Who will be able to Download?  - Permissions and Access
    1. a totally open site that is anyone can download anything (public)
    2. a totally restricted site where downloading is restriced to members (private)
    3. a mixture of public and private Downloads (general)
  2. Organisation of the Downloads
    1. jDownloads uses a directory stlye organisation known as Categories that contain the downloadable files,
    2. there may of course be Sub Categories, theoretically to any depth,
    3. consider also using Joomla! tags to aid cross indexing,
    4. Downloads usually consist of a downloadable file together with related database and preview information,
    5. a Download does not need to have an associated file,
    6. the downloadable file may be on another web loaction.
  3. What jDownloads Modules and Plugins are available?
  4. What jDownloads Menu Items are available?

Selecting Editor

By default jDownloads uses the default editor set up in the Joomla! Global Configuration - Site Settings - Default Editor

Many sites use the JCE Editor. If you do please be aware that the initial settings do not incude the Registered user group, and of course any othe User Group such as Uploader that you may have created.  This often means that the Editor does not work for Registered users.

To solve go to the JCE Control Panel and select Editor Profiles.

Select the active profile, typically Default or Front End, scroll down to find 'User Group' and click inside to add the relevant user groups.

Initial Reading List

This is a suggested list of initial articles that you may find helpful.  All articles open in a new window/tab.
NOTE At this time some links will refer to jd39 articles as the relevant jD40 articles are not yet ready!!

Control Panel Overview
Front End Options
jDownloads Menu Items
User Group Settings
Layouts Overview
Modules Overview
Plugins Overview
Uploading Larger Files

Appendix - Errors During Installation

Installation errors are very rare.  The usual cause is that your website has PHP time limits or package size limits.  Generally the packet size limits are readily overcome,  please see the article 'Uploading Larger Files'.  Time limits are usually strictly controled by your web hosting service provider.  The procedure outlined below offers another way of installing.  But jDownloads also checks your PHP and database level prior to the actual installation.
  • Because of time limits on your server you may get an error.  If that is the case then try the alternative installation method ‘Install from Directory’ described below. The directory here is a directory on your web server. Usually this is the /tmp directory in your website root.
  • Unzip the package file downloaded to your PC into a convenient directory on your PC. I usually use the 7zip program. Typically this directory will have in it a sub-directory called ‘com_jDownloads’.
  • Upload com_jDownloads and its contents to the /tmp directory in the website root. This could be by using the server Control Panel or by using an FTP Client such as FileZilla. It is best to first ensure that /tmp is empty.
  • go to the ‘Install from Directory’ tab and enter the address of the directory on the server to which the FTP program uploaded com_jDownloads. By default Joomla will have set this to the /tmp directory.
  • Click on the Install button.
  • If you still have a fault then seek advice in the forum, being sure to give details of any error message.

Colin M - July 2022 modified July 2023

Print Email

We use cookies

We use cookies on our website. Some of them are essential for the operation of the site, while others help us to improve this site and the user experience (tracking cookies). You can decide for yourself whether you want to allow cookies or not. Please note that if you reject them, you may not be able to use all the functionalities of the site.