Understanding Errors on Your Joomla Site

Understanding Errors on Your Joomla Site

Websites are prone to problems. Joomla is no different than any other CMS so you'll need to spot and fix problems.

Joomla uses PHP and when PHP has problems, it reports them to you. However, often these errors will appear on your site and will be visible to visitors:

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In this article, we're going to see an introduction to these errors. Different types that might appear on your site and we can explain how you can stop them from showing or fix them

Notices, Warnings and Errors - what is the difference?

There are 3 main ways in which PHP (the language of Joomla!) will report problems: notices, warnings and errors.

Notices

These are not very important, since they are just advicing of you of what is going - this is fairly standard and typically not an issue. According to the official PHP website, notices are generated when:

"the script encountered something that could indicate an error, but could also happen in the normal course of running a script."

Warnings

Warnings should be taken care of, but probably won't interfere seriously with your site. According to the official PHP website, warnings are:

"non-fatal errors. Execution of the script is not halted."

Errors

Errors are the serious problems which are likely to break your site. According to the official PHP website, warnings are:

"Fatal run-time errors. These indicate errors that can not be recovered from, such as a memory allocation problem. Execution of the script is halted."

Option 1: Disabling Error Reporting on Your Joomla Site - Not recommended

One solution to remove errors and notices, but which is the least recommended (since this is just hiding the problems), is to stop the errors from showing.

  • Go to Global Configuration > Server > Error Reporting
  • The choices are:
    • System Default: this allows error reporting to be determined by the php.ini file on your server - it shifts the responsibility to a "higher authority"
    • None will disable all error reporting.
    • Simple will show Errors and Warnings but won't show Notice - RECOMMENDED
    • Maximum will show Errors, Warnings and Notices - only for the testing/debugging phase
    • Development will literally overwhelm you with feedback. If you're not a developer - don't use this option.

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Option 2: Fix the Problem

There are a number of suggestions to help you fix the problem. Remember, always backup your site before trying any of these.

  • Make sure your Joomla site and all your extensions and templates are up-to-date.
  • Search Google and http://forum.joomla.org for anyone who has reported the same message. See if they have found a solution.
  • Read the message itself for hints about the problem. Often the message will contain the name of the extension or template that is causing problems. Disable that extension or template to see if that fixes the problem. Also the different error codes typically have a meaning, so you might want to include the error code in your posting on the Jomla forums!


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