Getting started with Joomla! templates

Similar to the concept of themes in WordPress, Joomla! templates are collections of HTML, PHP, and other files that govern the design of your website. The template framework brings together common elements, modules, and components alongside a cascading style sheet (CSS) for the site. In Joomla!, the design of both the site front-end and administration dashboard can be adjusted using templates.

A small number of basic templates are included in the Joomla! installation. You can download and install third-party templates from various sites – some free, many requiring a commercial license. Of course, you can also create your own templates, or build template variations by customizing existing designs.

Templates govern various elements of your website’s presentation. They include:

  • Site layout (placement of modules such as menus, banner ads, log in forms, text panels, and so on)
  • Article layout (placing post or page text)
  • Font selection
  • Colour scheme
  • Images and effects

Accessing the Template Manager

To view and edit the templates currently installed on your Joomla! site, head to Extensions > Templates in the Joomla! administration dashboard.

Template Manager

While you can have many templates installed in Joomla!, only one template (per front-end and back-end) is selected as the Default template.

Default template

Check the Default column in the template listing to note the default template. If you wish to change the selection, simply check the box next to another template and click the Default button near the top of the page.

Default button

The Template Manager menu also includes buttons to Edit, Duplicate or Delete templates and change template Options.

Assigning templates to menus

Joomla! allows admins to assign multiple templates to sites. A template can be assigned to one or more menus or menu items. To do so, check the box next to a template and click the Edit button.

Template assignment

Click the Assignment tab and select the menu or menu items for which you wish to assign the template. Click Save when you’re ready to proceed. Check out the other tabs to review and amend various template settings.

Installing a template

Once you’ve got to grips with template management, it’s likely you’ll wish to install and try out some different templates. First, select Extensions > Manage to visit the Joomla! Extensions Manager. Here you’ll find a wide range of templates and associated extensions available to install from the official Joomla! Extensions Directory.

Extensions Manager

Alternative options are available from the tabs near the top of the page.

  • Install from Web – (select an extension listed on the Joomla! Extension Directory).
  • Upload Package File – (select a previously downloaded package from your PC).
  • Install from Folder – (enter the path where the package is located on your web server).
  • Install from URL – (enter the URL to the package).

Installation options

Once the template has been installed, click Manage in the Extensions Manager sidebar to verify the installation.


To filter the selection of installed templates, click Search Tools and select Template in the Type dropdown menu.

Template type

A list of your installed templates will be displayed. Head back to the Extensions > Templates menu to edit or select a template as default.

If you notice any problems or if you need any help, please open a new support ticket from your HostPapa Dashboard. More details on how to open a support ticket can be found here.

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