Modifying Joomla’s Search to Display Restricted Articles for Unregistered Users

Some websites have the following business model:

  • They display, on a certain page(s), a list of articles with a teaser for each article.
  • The visitor clicks on an article of his choice.

  • If the user is not an already subscribed member (and if he’s not logged in), then he’ll be redirected to a page where he should subscribe (possibly by making a purchase) before reading that article. If the user is already a subscriber (and logged in), then he’ll be redirected to the full article.

The above business model is easily applicable on a Joomla site: all one needs to do is to set the access level of each and every article to Registered and then only registered (subscribed) visitors can read it, and those who are not, are forced to register.

However, there is a small problem with the above business model: what if a visitor (who has not yet subscribed) tries to search for a restricted article (an article that is only available to registered users) through Joomla’s search functionality? Naturally, the visitor will not be able to find the article because he simply doesn’t have access to it. Of course, this means that the business will lose potential clients because people think that the content they’re looking for doesn’t exist on the website.

So, how can this be fixed?

Well, it can be fixed easily, very easily. Here’s how:

  • Open the file content.php located under the plugins/search/content folder (it would be very wise to backup this file first).
  • In the function onContentSearch, delete all occurrences of:

    AND a.access IN (' . $groups . ')


    AND c.access IN (' . $groups . ')

  • Save the file and upload it back.

  • That’s it! Your search results should also display restricted articles – articles that used to only show up for registered users.

Of course, the above solution consists of a core modification. If you don’t like that (possibly because you know that future updates may wipe out your changes), then what you will need to do is to create a new search module and a new search plugin that will work together in order to display the results. It’s not really hard work to do that, but it’s more work.

If you want to display all articles in the search results, regardless of the user’s access levels, then try the above patch. It should work. If you don’t know how to do it or if you want the more robust solution, then please contact us. We’re always ready to help, our work is very clean and professional, our fees are very affordable, and we always welcome new clients with open arms!

No comments yet.

Leave a comment