Having a Broken Joomla Site is No Fun
Anyone who develops websites knows from experience that being faced with a broken site is no fun at all. Depending on how broken it is, you could be faced with just a minor hiccup or a full on lobotomy. In either case, it detracts away from development time, and can delay the website deployment indefinately. This article is dedicated to helping you fix your broken Joomla! site as fast as possible.
First rule of thumb: Backup often!
Akeeba Backup is a wonderful Joomla Extension that I use on every site I develop and deploy. Besides for just creating a backup, it can take snapshots before you install new extensions and templates automatically. With Backup Pro, you can schedule backups, backup via FTP/SFTP/Cloud Storage, restore from within the component, and so much more. At the very worst, you can revert to last night's backup, or the one prior to installing that Foobar'ed extension :P !
Google Search is your best friend!
Almost every case that I've run into has been posted on the net, and Google knows where it's at! Besides, the first thing people will ask you in a help forum is "have you Google'd that?" And just to rub it in, they give you the links that you should have found yourself. Try it. Google doesn't laugh at anyone.
Join your Local User Group and present your problem
At Joomla Detroit, we are commited to helping each other out. Previously to now (time of this writing), members have brought issues to the group and we solve them! Now, if you can't wait for the user group meetup, we have deployed a Google Groups Discussion Board where you can post your issues to, but Joomla Detroit members receive priority :D
Ask the Joomla Community
The Joomla Community Forums are the #1 spot to get some help. Keep in mind that if you're going to ask a question here, you'd better tell the whole story, including what version of Joomla, and all the vital information needed to get some help. Usually, if you ask the question correctly and supply what is needed for the assist (No Passwords or Usernames), then response is pretty good.
Hire a Joomla Developer
Recommended for production sites only, If you do not have the time, or you're losing money because the site is broken, hire a developer to do an emergency fix. Make sure that you get a developer that knows the CMS! Vitally important because Joomla is complex, and one who is not familliar with the CMS might break your site even more!
Fixing your broken Joomla site can usually be circumvented if you have a good backup, and crash plan (you do have a plan if your site goes down, right?). Again, Akeeba Backup comes into play as I can take the most recent backup and deploy the site within minutes to another web hosting account and be up and running again in under 20 minutes (including setting DNS and a meta redirect as backup). If it's non critical, backup a copy of your broken site, deploy to your development environment and begin testing and figuring out what happened and how to fix. You'll learn a lot if you fix a broken Joomla site on your own!