First Time Installation - jDownloads 3.9 series


There are seveal 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.

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! 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 5.7+ (7.1+ recommended)
  • MySQL 5.7+
  • Joomla 3.9+ or newer

Note: The file size of the installation zip package is currently 3.4MB, so make sure that your server settings for (upload_max_filesize ) is also greater than 3.4MB, 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

Installing jDownloads is very straight forward and follows normal Joomla procedures. Instal01A

Go to Extensions - Manage - Install

There are several choices but the ones usually used are noted below.  Both are straight forward processes.

  • Install from Web
  • Upload Package File.

Install from Web

After selecting Install then usually there is a view like the one shown below. 

However if you have not peviously accepted using the Install from Web option you may however see a view asking if you wish to add the Install from Web tab. 

Normally it is a good idea to accept. If you do not accept then use the Upload Package File method.
Instal01 Instal01B
Select the Install from Web tab and then in the search box enter jDownloads and click on the search 'symbol'.

This brings up a screen like the one opposite- so click on jDownloads Instal01CThis in turn brings up a view like the one on the right where you can click on the Install button. Instal01D

The installation process begins and shows the rotating Joomla! motif opposite.
If you get a Succesful Install Message then go to Final Steps .    Should you get an error message then please see the notes in the Appendix.

Upload Package File

The first step is to download the latest version by going to 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 administration navigate to the Joomla Extensions Manager- Install, as above but this time select the Upload Package File tab.  The screen will look something like the picture opposite.

Either Browse for or Drag and Drop the package downloaded above.  The Installation process begins automatically and whilst it is in progress Joomla! shows its rotating symbol. 

Dependant upon your website the process may take a minute or two.

If you get a Succesful Install Message then go to the Final Steps below.    Should you get an error message then please see the notes in the Appendix.

Final Steps

On successful installation you will see a view like the one opposite. 

As well as the Component itself jDownloads installs all the current modules and plugins.

At this point it is Important that you click on the blue Start jDownloads button as this completes the final stages in the installation. 

When the start has completed, which is very quick, you will be taken to the jDownloads Control Panel as shown opposite.

The jDownloads 3.9 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.

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.

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?

Initial Reading List

This is a suggested list of initial articles that you may find helpful.  All articles open in a new window/tab.
Control Panel Overview
Front End Options
jDownloads Menu Items
User Group Settings
Layouts Overview
Modules Overview
Plugins Overview
Uploading Larger Files
and for those from pre jD 3.2 series
Migration from jD2.5 to jD3.2
Migration from Earlier Series

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.
  • 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 the error message.

Colin M - December 2018 - updated May 2020

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