Are You Suddenly Unable To Login to Your Joomla Administrator?

One of our little projects today was interesting. The owner of the website was not able to login to his Joomla’s Administrator. Here is what we knew about the problem when we first started working on it:

– The website was using Joomla 1.0x (which is more Mambo than Joomla).
– The owner of the website was being redirected to the login page everytime he tried to login, with the following error “Incorrect Username, Password, or Access Level. Please try again”.
– The problem started happening when he moved to a new server.
– The problem is happening on all his Joomla 1.0x websites, but not on his Joomla 1.5 websites, that also reside on the same server.

Our first approach to the problem was to check the Joomla code for the login, and we saw that although there is a gid (group id) field in the jos_users table, it is ignored and there is a multiple join with the groups table that will get the group of the indvidual. After analyzing the data, we discovered that the admin user, although he is considered an administrator in the users table, is not considered an administrator in the table grouping users with groups. We fixed this problem by fixing the data. We thought now the user will be able to login. Right?


After we fixed the data, we stopped seeing “Incorrect Username, Password, or Access Level. Please try again”, but now we were simply redirected to the login (with no errors whatsoever) telling us to login again (but we just logged in!). We checked the data, and apparently the user was authenticated, but when the request was redirected to index2.php (which displays the backend), the user was redirected back to the login page (index.php). Odd. After heavy examination we discovered that the session information was not being passed from one page to the other, but why?

In order to isolate the problem, we created 2 pages, 1 page setting some session information, and the other reading and printing the session information, here are the contents:


$_SESSION[‘variable’] = “value”;



When we tested the simple code above we discovered that for some reasons the session information is not saved at all, which means that the write path for the session information is unwriteable by the application. So what we did was that we added just before the line “session_start();” the following line “session_write_path(“/web/vhosts/public_html/website_name/cache);” and we ensured that PHP can write to the cache directory. This fixed the problem, but we had to fix the problem across the board, which took some time.

If you are you not able to login to your Joomla’s administrator then we can definitely help you. It will take us 2 hours to fix the problem, which amounts to $150 at our current rates. We guarantee that our solution will work, so go ahead, contact us!

3 Responses to “Are You Suddenly Unable To Login to Your Joomla Administrator?”
  1. Pingback by How to Fix Joomla’s Problem With session.save_path | itoctopus — June 8, 2011 @ 12:52 pm

    […] have previously examined a problem where one of our clients was not able to login to the administrator’s control panel, and we have concluded that the root of the problem is that PHP was unable to write the session […]

  2. Pingback by How To Know That Your Joomla Website Is Hacked | itoctopus — November 10, 2011 @ 6:52 am

    […] unable to login to your website anymore: Sometimes, you’re suddenly unable to login to your Joomla website, while this might happen because of a human error (you are using CAPS Lock for example to enter the […]

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