I am having a hard time finding and getting a free template to work. I have tried many free templates but none of them worked properly. Currently the content of my joomla website is the default one that comes with the installation when someone chooses "Install sample data"

I always check that the template is compatible with my joomla version (3.4.3) and my php version (5.3). I also check that the template does not need other extensions or plug-ins to work.From the Joomla Administration > Extension Manager I upload and install the template and then select it as default from the template manager.

But then the default navigation toolbar and many modules disappear. I am trying to understand whether apart from the template itself I also need some "Sample" content that is appropriate for the specific template, like some of the paid templates provide.

Can someone clarify to me the steps to install a free template. Perhaps provide a link to one along with instructions?

3 Answers 3


This has nothing to do with free vs commercial templates. Modules (the main menu usually is a module too) has to be published to a Module position. The current position for each module can be seen in the module manager, or in the details for each module:

Module manager

Module details

The important part is that each template can have different module position names. The default Joomla template uses position-0, position-1 etc, while other templates use left, sidebar-a and so on.

If you look at the live demo of your template, there's probably a menu item called "Module Positions", that shows all available positions and their names.

You can also enable module position preview. It's recommended to disable this function before your site is live:

  • Log into your Joomla 3.0 admin area
  • In the top menu, click Extensions -> Template Manager
  • In the tabs at the top of the page, click the Options tab
  • Under the Templates tab, find the following setting:

    Preview Module Positions

Click Enabled next to this option, then Save & Close.

Now you'll see a preview icon next to your Site Templates in the template manager. Click the preview icon next to the template you would like to view.


Different templates may use different module position names. This is an extremely common thing.

For example, one of the right hand side positions with Protostar (shipped with Joomla 3.x) is position-7, whereas the equivalent with a Yootheme template is sidebar-a or sidebar-b.

This being the case, you need to make sure your modules are assigned to the positions provided by the template you're using.

Hope this helps

  1. Each module can be displayed in different menu items. You can set this on:

Extension >> Module Manager >> Edit a Module ("was disapeear") >> on tab "Menu Assignment" look waht are selected:

  • On all pages;
  • No pages;
  • Only on the pages selected;
  • On all pages except those selected;

I belive you has "Only on the pages selected" in some Menu itens like this:

enter image description here

Look the red arrows. This Module was not show in this Menu items.

  1. You can use free template for Yootheme for your server specifications: http://yootheme.com/demo/joomla

Look for "Nano 3" Free template: enter image description here

  1. Look this Menu item "Features >> Layout" here you can see explanation for positions:

enter image description here

Hope this helps too.


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