Why You’re Not Able to Login to Your Joomla Website

Hundreds of incidents where users could not log in to their Joomla websites have been fixed by us thus far. We have compiled a list of the top 10 reasons why a person cannot log in to a Joomla website, along with solutions for each issue, because we want to make the job of a Joomla administrator as simple as possible. Here they are, without further ado:

The user is trying to login with a wrong password

Yes – we know it’s very obvious, but sometimes even the most obvious things are not that obvious, especially when one mistakes a zero (0) with an o (the letter o), an l (lowercase L) with an I, thinks that the question mark at the end of the password is just a typo (this happened to us!), or confuses a dash (-) with an underscore (_).

Of course, in many cases, the user is entering the password that he used to use all the time, except that that password has changed – probably by someone else or by a script.

Remedy: There are multiple remedies to this solution. If one has FTP access, then he can just create a script containing and UPDATE query that will reset the user’s password. If one is blessed with a phpMyAdmin access, then all he needs to do is to login to phpMyAdmin, go the #__users table, and change the password field for the affected user with the password of his choice (note that he must choose MD5 as a Function for the password to work).

The account for that particular user is blocked

Any user (even a super administrator) can be blocked from Joomla’s backend – additionally, a user can be blocked if he had too many failed login attempts. Once that user is blocked, he won’t be able to login (even if the password is correct).

Remedy: Any user can be unblocked by logging in to phpMyAdmin, going to the #__users table, and then setting the block field for the affected user to 0 (instead of 1).

There is a JavaScript error on the login page

Joomla needs JavaScript to login users to the backend – as such, a JavaScript error on your login page can corrupt the login routine (so, when users click on the Log in button, nothing will happen).

Remedy: Check your browser’s error console for any JavaScript errors if you’re pressing the Log in button and nothing is happening. If you’re not a programmer, then we suggest you let a programmer handle this for you: JavaScript errors are super hard to debug and fixing a JS error can break something else.

The Joomla backend login module does not exist

When this happens, not only the person won’t be able to login to Joomla – he just won’t be able to see the login form.

Remedy: We suggest that you read the above post for the complete solution; in short, what you need to do is to restore the mod_login folder under administrator/modules directory.

There is a fatal error on your website

When this happens – you either see a completely blank page or a descriptive error, depending on your error reporting settings. Fatal errors are usually caused by an error in a 3rd party system plugin or by a recent modification to your Joomla’s core.

Remedy: The cause of this fatal error varies from one case to another, and, as such, we can’t give a generic solution to this one. If you’re a programmer, you can enable error reporting (if it’s not already enabled) to see what the actual error is and to fix it. If you’re not a programmer, then your best bet would be to call some Joomla experts.

The admin template does not exist or Joomla doesn’t have enough permissions to read it

When the administrator template doesn’t exist, then the login form will be completely blank (similarly to the previous point) and as such, the Joomla administrator won’t be able to login.

Remedy: Reset the permissions (recursively) on the admin template to 444 to allow Joomla to read it, or, if the admin template was completely deleted, then re-upload it from scratch or fallback to the default one. (By the way, we’re surprised that Joomla doesn’t fall back automatically in the backend to another template when that template can’t be read because this is what it does on the frontend.)

Joomla is unable to write to the logs directory

In order for Joomla to complete a successful login, it must have write access to the logs directory located under the root directory of the website. If it doesn’t, then the login fails and no error is displayed – which is very, very confusing!

Remedy: The problem can be solved by changing the permissions of the logs directory under the Joomla website’s root to 777. (This can be done in any FTP client).

The Joomla Authentication plugin is disabled

99.99% of Joomla websites use the Joomla Authentication plugin for logging in users through the backend. The remaining 0.01% use other authentication plugins, such as ldap and gmail. For the 99.99% of Joomla websites, if the Joomla Authentication plugin is disabled, then people will be redirected back to the login page (with no error) when they try to login.

Remedy: This issue can be addressed by logging in to phpMyAdmin, going to the #__extensions table, and then setting the enabled field of the plg_joomla_authentication plugin to 1.

Note: When this problem happens, and if other authentications methods (such as ldap) are enabled, then the login process will take a while before redirecting back to the login page (this is because Joomla will be checking the ldap directory, which usually takes some time).

The Joomla User plugin is disabled

The Joomla User plugin is responsible for handling all user activity in Joomla. If that plugin is disabled, then even if the login is successful, then Joomla will redirect back to the login page without showing any errors as it doesn’t know what to do with the logged in user (makes sense?). This problem is extremely nasty because it’s very hard to debug – even for seasoned Joomla developers.

Remedy: This issue can be resolved by logging in to phpMyAdmin, going to the table #__extensions, and setting the enabled value of the plg_user_joomla row to 1.

Joomla’s ACL is messed up

We saved the best (or is it the worst?) for last! A messed up ACL can potentially completely block any login attempts to your Joomla website. Not only that, it can wreak havoc on the frontend of your website as well. There are many signs that you have a messed up ACL, one of them is being able to login, but seeing a completely empty top menu in your backend. So you can login, but you just can’t do anything!

Remedy: Consult with a Joomla expert. Joomla’s ACL is pretty delicate so do not attempt to fix this problem by yourself or else you might risk breaking other areas on your website.

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