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Configuring Kunena

Kunena is one of the most popular Joomla Extensions not just because it is easy to install, but also because it is very easy and fun to use. This 7 step tutorial will teach you how to configure Kunena and create a small, but complete forum board.

Step 1: Install and start using Kunena

You already did it in the previous step, though you may want to know that Kunena features in its default installation are:

  • Sample forum categories
  • A module to show key Kunena links
  • Kunena menu that is being seen as tabs on top of Kunena pages.

It is not much, but no one stops you from adding new features with customization and extensions.

Step 2: Basic Configuration

Kunena is completely usable right after its installation, but you still need to change some settings to suit your needs.

  • Go to Components part of Administration menu and click on Kunena
  • Select Forum Configuration
  • Check the settings and change them how you like them to be
  • If your forum is public and you don’t like spam, there is a way to reduce it with ReCaptcha keys. You can get yourself one from You may also like an API Key for Stop Forum Spam. You can get it here:

Step 3: Categories and Sections

Categories (areas that hold all discussions) are most likely to be the most important thing on your forum and you must give your full attention to this part of our tutorial.

The most important part of the forum is section (or a top-level category, as it is called sometimes). Right after installation of Kunena you have only one section, which is called Main Forum. You may want to create categories to go into it, or create a brand new section. To learn the complete process of administering the forum, let’s go with the latter.

  • Go to the Category Manager in Components > Kunena Forum
  • Select New

You will be faced with variables for your new Category. Make them look like something like this:

  • Parent: Top Level
  • Name: Name your new Section as you wish
  • Published: Published (it means, that your Section will be added to the forum and visible to users)
  • Description / Header: These are optional fields, which are not necessary for anything, except style. You may change them later, when you will see how they may reflect personality of your forum better.

Now click Save on the top right corner and return to main page of your Category Manager. You will see a new section added to the back of your category list. On the forum index page you can see Name and Description.

Step 4: Creation of Categories

After you created your Top Level Category, it’s time to add there some more low-level ones. For example, it is a forum for a town, so it requires four categories – Administration Forum, Town News, Town Events and General Discussion. Let’s begin with creation of the first one. To do this, you should once again go to Category Manager and click on New. Then I fill the fields like this:

  • Parent: There you choose a name of the Section you created in Step 3.
  • Name: Town News.
  • Published: Published.
  • Description: Place for posting and discussing everything that happens in our town.
  • Header: You may want to leave it empty, since everything is said in Name and Description. As it was already said, it’s a matter of taste.

After that, the remaining two categories were created exactly this way.

Step 5: Setting Permissions

There may be reasons for you to hide some of the categories for most of users and give access to them only for the Chosen Ones. You can do it by managing permissions. In this tutorial, it is being done it for my Administration Forum Category created in Step 4.

There are two ways of giving permissions to the categories. Let’s begin with the simple one. Click the Permission tab.

  • Access Control Type: Select control type you want to use in this Category.
  • Access Level: Select Access Level Group that will be allowed to view the Category.

There is also a complex way that allows giving permissions to see the Category to more than one group. To try this one out, select User Groups on the dropdown menu. There is another sequence of settings:

  • Access Control Type: Select control type you want to use in this Category.
  • Primary User Group: This is the first group that will be allowed to view the category. I select Administration.
  • Primary Includes Child: By default, everyone who inherits status of this group will be able to view it, but that’s not good enough for this case, so you shall fix it by selecting No. Why would you do this? Well, for example, because Administration User Group consists of Forum Admins (people in parent group) and Local Admins, who have their own subgroup and who are not allowed to see this category.
  • Secondary User Group: This is the second group you want to give access to the Category to. That should be Owner, which means you.
  • Secondary Include Child: The same as the first one. You may like to leave it at No, since there is no one else in your group.

Congratulations, we are done here.

Step 6: Customizing Categories

There are some more advanced settings you might like to change before releasing the Category. Click on the Settings tab.

  • Locked: If it is set to Yes, no one except Admins and Moderators will be allowed to create anything in this Category.
  • Review Posts: If set to Yes, every post will have to be approved before publishing. It is a very useful feature, but only when you have a constant and responsible Moderator – otherwise there might be stacks of posts, which are waiting to be approved and no one to approve them.
  • Allow Anonymous Messanges: If set to Yes, unregistered users may leave messages here.
  • By Default Post Replies As: If previous option was enabled, this option allows you to choose what is the default state of registered users posts (anonymous or not).
  • Allow Polls: If set to Yes, users will be able to create topics with polls.

Step 7: Publishing Categories

Everything is done here, but you’d better check it once more. Make sure that subcategories are done correctly. Then make sure, that there is a green circle with a check in Published column. If it is not there and is replaced by red circle, click it to change it to green one.

Congratulations, you did it! Now there is a new Section and three new Categories. You are ready to use Kunena at its full capacity.

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