I just retired an (already) old Joomla! website to replace it with a new Concrete5 one.

I backed up the whole Joomla! database and files. I still needed to access some archive items so I set up the Joomla website on my local machine.

I am not familiar with Joomla! at all, but it’s certainly not the first time that I try to launch an “old” website on localhost.

I was afraid that the PHP version would mess everything. I run 7.0 on my dev machine and the old server hosting the website was still on 5.2.

I imported the database on my local MySQL instance, edited the config file and fired the PHP dev server in the root directory. Incredibly, it worked !

For reference, here was the Joomla version (does not seem too old - again, I don’t know anything about Joomla!):

Joomla! Version Joomla! 2.5.24 Stable [ Ember ] 25-July-2014 13:00 GMT
Joomla! Platform Version Joomla Platform 11.4.0 Stable [ Brian Kernighan ] 03-Jan-2012 00:00 GMT

I had access to the administration panel, but what I wanted was to see the old website as it was previously online (I need to access specific known URLs and it’s just a mess in the admin panel). Here, things were not OK: the home page was displayed, but there was no menu. Every other page returned an error:

You are not authorised to view this resource.

A few minutes on DuckDuckGo, or Google, or whatever reveals there could be A TON of reasons behind this message. And even the StackOverflow answers are not very helpful, because each case is very specific.

I tried a few of the suggested actions. Cleared cache, but it seems it was disabled; check permissions, everything is public; empty trash - wait, I still have no idea where is this damn Joomla! trash. Nothing helped. Still same error.

I didn’t want to lose time into debugging this, I just wanted to see the website. Looking for ways to disable the permissions all together didn’t yield interesting results either.

So before spending a day on the internet to troubleshoot this I decided to just go into the PHP files and edit whatever needed to be able to see the website.

Fortunately, enabling debug mode is as simple as:


class JConfig {
    // [...]
    public $debug = '1';
    // [...]

This enables a nice little console at the bottom of each page.

On a problematic page I can see in Joomla! Debug Console > Errors:

You are not authorised to view this resource.

Call stack

# Function Location
1 JSite->dispatch() JROOT/index.php:42
2 JComponentHelper::renderComponent() JROOT/includes/application.php:194
3 JComponentHelper::executeComponent() JROOT/libraries/joomla/application/component/helper.php:348
4 require_once() JROOT/libraries/joomla/application/component/helper.php:380
5 JController->execute() JROOT/components/com_content/content.php:16
6 ContentController->display() JROOT/libraries/joomla/application/component/controller.php:761
7 JController->display() JROOT/components/com_content/controller.php:74
8 ContentViewArticle->display() JROOT/libraries/joomla/application/component/controller.php:722
9 JError::raiseWarning() JROOT/components/com_content/views/article/view.html.php:104
10 JError::raise() JROOT/libraries/joomla/error/error.php:276

The error (raiseWarning() does not seem a really good name here) comes from the view.html.php file.

You can disable it by removing the whole if block checking if user has access.


// remove:
if ($item->params->get('access-view') != true && (($item->params->get('show_noauth') != true &&  $user->get('guest') ))) {
    JError::raiseWarning(403, JText::_('JERROR_ALERTNOAUTHOR'));

This removes the error but the page is still blank. On pages with “paged” navigation, the navigation now appears, but not the content. A quick look in the subdirectories of this article/view module reveals a template file tmpl/default.php where additional checks occur. By hard-coding true into the normal display case the content shows up.

In components/com_content/views/article/tmpl/default.php:161 change:

<?php if ($params->get('access-view')):?>


<?php if (true):?>

And voilà.

This does not solve the problem of the menu, but it was not important for me. It may be a little harder to fix because there are no errors indicating where to look, but I expect a similar menu controller and template somewhere.

I hope this article will be useful to somebody else facing the same issue. I also put some bold text saying again that this is a hack to access every page on a local Joomla! instance, do not try this in production !